The perfect cinnamon rolls are soft but still chewy, moist but not doughy, have a perfectly balanced, gooey cinnamon sugar filling, and paired with the perfect cream cheese icing. This cinnamon roll recipe is it!
Activate yeast.Heat the milk to about 115°F, lukewarm.Sprinkle the yeast over ¼ cup of the milk. Stir and set aside for about 10 minutes. Yeast will bubble.Add brown sugar and salt into the remainder of the warmed milk. Stir to dissolve.
Mix dough.If using a stand mixer:Add flour, milk mixture, eggs, and activated yeast into the stand mixer bowl and mix on low until dough comes together. Continue mixing on low for 1 minute.If mixing by hand:Add flour, milk mixture, eggs, and activated yeast into a medium bowl. Mix the dough ingredients with your hand until everything is moisten. Keep kneading the dough for an additional 2-3 minutes.***dough will be wet and very sticky***
Incorporate butter.If using stand mixer:With the stand mixer on low speed, add 1 Tablespoon of softened butter at a time until all of the butter is added. Make sure to mix the dough until no more chunks of butter is visible before adding the next Tablespoon of butter.If kneading by hand:Either in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface, add ½ of the softened butter to the dough and knead the butter into the dough until no more chunks of butter is visible. Repeat with remaining butter.***dough will still be on the stickier side, but don't be tempted into adding more flour***
Proof dough.Once all the butter has been added, transfer dough into a greased bowl. Cover with plastic and let proof in a warm place. After 30 minutes of proofing, punch/ deflate the dough. Fold the dough onto itself a few times by pulling the bottom of the dough over the top.Repeat this step 3 more times or a total of 2 hours.
Make filling.While waiting for the dough to proof, make the filling. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix until cinnamon is thoroughly distributed.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Shape and cut dough.Once the proofing step is complete, transfer dough onto a clean work surface.*optional: lightly flour surface*With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a ¼ inch thick rectangle, roughly about 18x12 inches in dimension. Brush the entire surface of the rolled dough with melted butter and sprinkle the entire surface evenly with the cinnamon sugar filling.Roll the dough long ways into a log. Cut the dough with a bench scraper or knife into 12 even pieces. Line them in a 9x13 baking pan or casserole dish.
Bake.Bake the cinnamon rolls for about 25-28 minutes. Cinnamon rolls are done when it's golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.
Make icing.While waiting on the cinnamon rolls to bake and and cool, heat cream cheese and milk in a saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk the cream cheese until all is melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extra. Whisk together until smooth and incorporated. * This step can also be completed with a microwave*
Drizzle icing and enjoy!These cinnamon rolls are amazing while they're still warm with warm cream cheese icing.
To bake cinnamon rolls the next morning, cover and refrigerate the cinnamon rolls overnight once they are lined in your baking dish. In the morning, let the cinnamon rolls warm up at room temperature for about 10 minutes while preheating your oven. Add an additional minute or 2 to your baking time to compensate for the cold dough.
To freeze dough, stop after rolling your dough into a log. Tightly wrap with plastic wrap and store it in a resealable bag up to 2 months. *Dough can be divided into 2 logs for easier storing.*
To use, thaw dough in fridge overnight and follow steps as is. Add an additional 5-10 minutes to let dough warm up at room temperature before baking.