These cinnamon rolls are an adaptation of my raspberry cinnamon buns I made a few years back. I wanted to make a more original version that everyone is sure to enjoy. This version also has a pretty short rise period, which is great because who wants to wait forever for their delicious breakfast treat.
If you are like me, your family grew up eating Pillsbury cinnamon rolls as a special treat like once a month for breakfast on the weekends...okay maybe more depending on the month. And everyone would fight for the best/biggest roll with the most amount of frosting. And on special occasions, when my mom took us to the mall or the airport, we would get Cinnabon. You, know, those super huge cinnamon buns with the best cream cheese frosting. Apparently when my mom was pregnant with my oldest sister, they only had a Cinnabon at the airport in Chicago...so my dad would drive all the way to the airport when she had a craving. Now, my dad can be a bit of a nut, but that's true love!
I now know this love of cinnamon rolls with lots of frosting comes from my mother. As I got older I really loved going to bakeries to get some tea and to try their cinnamon buns. I've found some really delicious versions...and some that are just passing. A really important thing about cinnamon rolls are that they need to not be too tough, but soft enough to break apart/cut with your fork. You don't want to have to use a knife if possible. You also need a good amount of cinnamon. I really believe there isn't such a thing as too much cinnamon. And lastly I really believe in a delicious frosting...my favorite being cream cheese.
Tips on Best Ingredients:
Items that can be generic and maybe not the top/best quality: flour, sugars, salt, water, milk, egg, cinnamon. However, some ingredients should be good or great quality because they affect the recipe. This will help the overall rise and flavor. These items would be:
- Instant Yeast: yes, all of your ingredients should have a good date and not be past expiration. However, if your yeast isn't good your buns won't rise at all!
- Butter: butter is almost always an important ingredient to have a good quality for, but this one for me is helpful when it comes to the frosting. A delicious and good quality butter can make it or break it. And always go with unsalted butter in a recipe if it's not identified.
- Cream cheese: I think we can all agree that cream cheese can either be delicious or pretty gross. This is one of those things I recommend for the frosting being a good quality since it's eaten raw and not baked in. So, using something like Philadelphia cream cheese or a specialty one.
- Vanilla extract: in general, I just always suggest a good vanilla, preferably not a fake. But because this is the main flavor profile with the frosting, you want it to be a good quality.
Best Tips and Knowledge to make the perfect cinnamon rolls:
- Fast rise: To make this a fast and easy process you will preheat your oven on a low heat and your buns will rise in there for like 20 minutes to make that 1-2 hour (something overnight) rising process even shorter.
- Dough hook: Now, this does call for using your stand mixer and your dough hook attachment. Now, not everyone has this, so always know that if a recipe calls for this and you don't have one, you can use a hand mixer if you have a large hook like attachment. Or the best alternative is actually mixing by hand (clean hands please). You will mix in a bowl then knead on a lightly floured surface. You'll just follow the directions of how long to mix via the recipe instructions below.
- Heating ingredients: The saucepan portion is important, but you can also heat up the water, milk, and butter in the microwave. You just want to make sure you don't over heat or create a film on top, so be sure to continue mixing.
- Shaping dough: When you roll out the dough, it's okay if it's not a perfect rectangle. However, to make that happen easier, you can shape the dough from a ball into a rectangle shape, then roll from there. Be sure to rotate the way you roll so it stretches well.
- Filling: I use a rubber spatula to spread my filling and it helps to not tear the dough and get everything smooth.
- Storing and reheating: If you don't eat all the buns on day 1, be sure to cover and store in the fridge up to 1 week at most. And then heat them up in the microwave for like 30-45 seconds to warm them up before eating!
2 and ¾ cups flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
½ cup water
¼ cup milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large egg
Cinnamon Sugar filling
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 ½ Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 225°F degrees.
2. Start with your dough. In your standing mixer add flour, sugar, salt, and yeast together and mix with whisk (by hand or attachment) until evenly dispersed.
3. In a saucepan heat water, milk, and butter together until the butter is melted. Add into the dry mix. Add the egg and using the hook attachment mix for 3-4 minutes (dough should no longer be sticky.
4. Lift the dough out of the bowl, lightly grease bowl, and place back into the bowl. Let rest for 5 minutes.
5. Prepare your filling while waiting. Mix softened butter with sugar and cinnamon.
6. When the dough has finished resting, roll out on a floured surface to about a 16x9”. Spread butter mixture over the dough (avoid the ½” around the edges).
7. Then roll the dough tightly (horizontal/longest edge rolls upward). Then using a dough cutter, slice into 10 buns.
8. Place in a greased 9-inch cake or pie pan (leave room for spreading). And turn off the oven and put the buns in to rise and spread for 20 minutes.
9. Pull buns out of the oven, remove foil, and brush with milk. Return on the oven at 375°F. Bake buns for 18-22 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven to cool.
10. Make glaze while buns cook. Mix powdered cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Make sure to get rid of all lumps.
11. Spoon onto the buns and enjoy!