Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

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One of my daughter’s favorite things is homemade cinnamon rolls. Because they are her favorite, I tend to make them often. Although if you were to ask her, I don’t make them often enough. This is a pretty straightforward recipe but there’s something about the simple and honest ingredients that always satisfies the soul. One thing that makes all the difference in this recipe is to use freshly ground cinnamon. If you have a jar on your spice rack but can’t remember when you bought it, you might want to replace it. I have a personal rule that I always follow; the fewer ingredients a recipe has, the better quality those ingredients should be.

I sometimes make these a day ahead of a special occasion. They are perfect for Thanksgiving morning but can be made on the Wednesday before. I find that it keeps the kitchen clear for the turkey day prep if the family can grab something quick for breakfast and get the heck out of my way! These are buttery, gooey, and soft on the inside and just the right amount of crusty and sticky on the outside. Enjoy!

There are vegan substitutes included in the recipe, noted in parenthesis.

Dough

  • 1 cup whole milk (substitute organic unsweetened soy milk)
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (substitute Earth Balance “butter” sticks)
  • 3 large eggs (add 1/4 cup plain non-dairy yogurt for each egg)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus a bit more for kneading and rolling

Filling

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted (substitute Earth Balance “butter” sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon kosher salt

Glaze

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (substitute Earth Balance “butter” sticks)
  • 1/4 cup half and half (substitute non-dairy unsweetened creamer)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk the milk, butter, eggs, sugar and salt together in a saucepan and over low heat. Do not let it boil. Once the butter melts, remove the pan from heat. Make sure the mixture isn’t too hot. You should be able to stick your finger in it without it burning.  Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Do not stir it in. Let it sit until it foams up, about 5 minutes.

With the hook attachment on the stand mixer, slowly add the flour, scraping down the sides as needed. Once all the flour is added continue mixing it for about 5 minutes.

Place the dough a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed. Coat a clean mixing bowl with a little oil. Add the dough to the bowl and turn it once to cover the whole dough ball surface with the oil. This prevents the dough from cracking and drying out as it rises. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Put the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until it doubles in size, about an hour.

When the dough is rising, make the filling.  In a medium bowl, stir together melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan or a jelly roll pan and preheat oven to 375°.  untitled-design-2

When the dough is ready, roll it out onto a floured surface into a 10-by-16-inch rectangle that's about 1/4 inch thick. Spread the filling over the dough. Leave a 1-inch border on all sides. Roll the dough into a log. Pinch to seal the seam. Using a serrated knife, cut the log into 12 pieces. Cover loosely for a second rise, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes.

While the rolls are baking, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine the sugars, butter and half and half. Warm until the butter is melted and the sugars have dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.  Remove the cinnamon rolls from the oven and drizzle the glaze over top. Happy baking and blessings from my kitchen to yours!