This past Christmas happened to be the first Christmas that Bob and I spent together as husband and wife. This was also the first year that we weren’t able to spend the holiday with family. Even though we were bummed not to be with family, we told ourselves that we would make the best of it. We wanted to create our own traditions for future holidays to come when we start our own family. I thought I would make something special for us to eat for breakfast on Christmas morning. Homemade cinnamon rolls sounded like a perfect treat. While these take some time to make (due to letting dough rise, etc), they are definitely worth it. I happened to get the recipe idea from Alton Brown and made a few minor tweaks.
I do have to admit that I had to make the dough twice due to using the wrong type of yeast. I knew I must have bought the wrong yeast after waiting a few hours and seeing my dough didn’t rise. But after going back to the store and buying the correct type, it worked like a charm! Overall, recipe is super easy to make – just takes time for all the rising and letting the dough sit overnight in the fridge. Flavor was amazing, especially when you eat them still warm from the oven. It will definitely be a Christmas morning tradition for us each year!
Adapted recipe from Alton Brown
- 4 large egg yolks, room temp
- 1 large whole egg, room temp
- ¼ cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- ¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 4 cups flour, plus additional for dusting
- 1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2¼ teaspoons
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 ½ tablespoon cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ cup cream cheese, softened, roughly 2 ½ ounces
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- For the dough:
- In a stand mixer (using the whisk attachment), whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add 2 cups of flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment.
- Replace whisk attachment with dough hook on the mixer. Add all but ¾ cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist, but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil (or spray with non-stick spray) a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, flip dough to cover oil on both sides of dough. Cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2½ hours. Be sure area is in a warm, draft free location.
- Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
- Butter a 13×9-inch glass baking dish.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter, leaving ½-inch border along the edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a ¾-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough.
- Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife (or see tip below) , slice the cylinder into 1½-inch rolls; 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
- Remove the rolls from the
- refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan ⅔-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees..
- Place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown for roughly 30 minutes.
- Brush the rolls with 2 tablespoons of butter and let cool slightly while making the icing.
- Whisk the cream cheese in a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.
Tip #1: Instead of cutting the rolls with a knife, try an easier method! Use a piece of string or floss! Place string/floss under the dough and pull strings up, criss-cross string and pull quickly together to cut. This will keep your cinnamon rolls nice with clean cut edges vs. potentially squishing from cutting with a knife.
Tip #2: Like nuts within your cinnamon rolls? Add 1/3 cup chopped pecans to your filling before rolling!
Tip #3: Yeast likes warmth. This is why the eggs, buttermilk, and butter in the dough should be at room temp and not directly from fridge.
Tip #4: Instead of rolling dough on a floured surface. Place parchment paper (or plastic wrap) underneath a portion of the dough on table. Lay plastic wrap on top of dough as well. Roll out dough to thickness needed. The plastic wrap saves the mess from the flour and you don’t have to worry about the dough sticking to the rolling pin.
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