Fluffy, pillowy, melt in your mouth cinnamon rolls perfect for the holidays!
Those of you who know me from my instagram page know that I am a terrible baker. Frankly, the fact that you cannot taste and adjust as you go when baking frightens me. Cinnamon Rolls are particularly unnerving because of the yeast fueled rising process. However, they are one of my favorite treats so I finally decided to try making them at home I am sure glad I did. These rolls are pillowy, they melt in your mouth, and they are not too sweet. Plus, if I can make them, so can you!
This is not my typical “healthy recipe” by any means, but, the term health reaches beyond the nutrient density of your food. To have a healthy relationship with food it is important to satisfy our bodies cravings when they arrive. Sometimes that may mean a salad and sometimes that may mean pizza. It is important that we remember to eat the real deal every once in a while. While black bean brownies and banana based cookies may cut it some of the time, other times they will leave you unsatisfied and wanting more. So, whether you need the “real deal”, or you want a recipe to share with your family on Christmas morning, give these fluffy, pillowy, melt in your mouth cinnamon rolls a try.
No Fail Cinnamon Roll Recipe
For the Rolls
- ⅓ cup very warm water (110-115 degrees)
- 1 package active dry yeast
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup sugar plus ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ⅓ cup room temperature buttermilk
- ½ cup room temperature whole milk
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
For the Filling
- 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 tsp maple extract
For the Icing
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tsp orange zest
Stir together WARM water, 1/4 tsp sugar, and yeast in a warm bowl. The water must be warm enough to activate the yeast. Let the mixture sit for 3-5 minutes until is foaming. If the yeast does not foam adjust the water temp and start over, this is very important for the dough to properly rise.
Pour the yeast into a large mixing bowl and add 1/2 cup sugar, buttermilk, whole milk, melted butter, canola oil, vanilla extract, and eggs. Whisk until well combined.
Add in the salt and baking powder and mix to combine.
Gradually mix in the sifted flour about 1/2 cup at a time. Use just enough so that the dough pulls from the side of the bowl. It should be slightly sticky, but not sticky enough to stick your fingertip if poked. *
Form the dough into a ball and place it in a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm location.
Let sit for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Gently punch the dough down a few times to release the air.
Dust a cutting board or a clean counter with flour and turn dough onto floured surface. Knead the dough gently a few of times and then pat the dough into a rectangle that is about ¼ inch thick.
To prepare the filling, mix the melted butter with vanilla in one bowl, and the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a separate bowl.
Brush the dough with half of the melted butter mixture being sure to reach all the way to the edges. Sprinkle half the brown sugar mixture atop the dough then brush again with butter and finish with remaining brown sugar mixture. Make sure the dough is evenly coated.
Begin tightly rolling the dough from the short side of the rectangle. You will want to roll it the long distance of the rectangle so there is more swirly goodness.
When done, place the roll seam-side down, and carefully slice the roll into 12 (1½-inch) sections. You will need a very sharp knife.
Place the rolls in a greased baking pan, sides touching. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm location to let rise. If preparing the night before you can place them in the refrigerator. Just pull them out in the morning and let rise for 1.5-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until sides of cinnamon rolls are lightly golden.
While rolls are cooking, prepare the frosting by mixing all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Frost the cinnamon rolls directly after removing from the oven so the frosting melts overtop.
*Note, if using a stand mixer, mix with the whisk attachment for directions 1-3 and then switch to a dough hook once the flour has been mixed in and let knead for 1-2 minutes until the dough forms into a ball on its own.