Fresh, hot, cinnamon rolls.
That got your attention, did it. Can’t you just SMELL the cinnamon?
I love traditions. Nothing large and fancy, just simple, little ones that the kids grow up with not even realizing they are taking part in. Forced traditions just add stress and drama to an already stressful season. And really, what fun is that?
One of my favorite traditions is a pan of hot, fresh cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. Okay, so it’s LATE morning, or more like early afternoon, but either way, it still happens. We are completely spoiled by homemade cinnamon rolls. It wasn’t until recently that my 13 year old even knew you could buy them in those little compressed cans! Now I know what you are thinking, they are HARD to make! WRONG! They are so, so simple to make! Time consuming, yes. It’s 3 hours start to finish. (which is why we have them LATE morning, folks) But they are worth every single minute you put into them!
Cinnamon rolls are made from a few simple ingredients. I use a recipe I found on AllRecipes.com for my dough. It’s a great sweet roll recipe that I actually use as a base for a few different things. But today, we are focusing on the all mighty and ah-mazing cinnamon roll.
Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup warm milk
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 package cream cheese
1/2 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
Directions: (by the way, my 13 year old is ready to disown me for sharing this with you. This recipes is that serious.)
Place water, milk, egg, 1/3 cup butter, sugar, salt, flour and yeast in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer.
For my machine, I place the wet ingredients in first. This includes the sugar. For some reason, sugar is considered a wet ingredient. Probably because it is always used to cream the ingredients together.
This CAN be done without a bread machine. Using a stand mixer is easiest. Place your dry ingredients plus the butter in the mixing bowl and mix on low using the paddle until it resembles fine crumbs. Add egg and mix well. Switch to the hook attachment and then add the water and milk and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic. Remove hook and dough. (place the dough on a clean plate) Lightly grease the sides of the bowl and then place the dough back in. I like to plop it in, then flip it over so the top is lightly greased also. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise four an hour. It should be slightly more than double in size.
Then add the dry ingredients, adding the yeast last.
Select Dough/Knead; press Start. And watch impatiently.
When the cycle finishes, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out a large rectangle about 16×24″ in size. In case you were wondering about our work surface here, I have a chalk board fabric table cloth on our kitchen table. This thing is AMAZING for rolling out doughs. It’s slightly non stick, so we can use less flour and we have plenty of work space.
Roll dough up starting with one long end.
Cut evenly into 12 rolls and place on a lightly greased 10×13 pan spaced evenly apart, or in a 9×13 baking pan. To get nice even sized rolls, I first cut my dough in half down the middle. Then cut each half into half. And finally, cut those halves into thirds.
Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise until double in size. It may just be the longest 30-45 minutes of your life. But wait it out, otherwise your rolls will be really dense.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake rolls until lightly golden, approx 15 minutes. Your house will smell heavenly the rest of the day.
Seriously. I’m drooling. Pillsbury has nothing on a homemade cinnamon roll.
Prepare frosting. Beat together 1 package of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of butter until smooth. Slowly add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Beat on medium until light and fluffy.
Spread on rolls after cooling slightly. And devour.
That second picture says it all. Eyes closed pure enjoyment right there. Yeah, that’s what this is all about! You won’t even care that your shirt is on backwards while eating these puppies.
And that is how it’s done. See, not hard at all if a four year old can do it.