Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls

There's nothing better than a freshly baked cinnamon roll slathered with cream cheese frosting!  It's a much-appreciated Sunday morning treat at our house.  Cinnamon rolls are my favorite bread machine recipe...I love the process and the delicious result.

1 C milk
1 egg, beaten
4 Tbsp melted butter, slightly cooled
4 Tbsp water
1/2 of a 3.4 oz box of instant vanilla pudding (dry, not prepared)
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 C bread flour
2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
1/2 C butter
1 C brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 C raisins (optional)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
1-3 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Put all the roll ingredients in your bread machine in the order they are listed. Select the dough setting on your bread machine and press start. When dough cycle is complete, punch down the dough on a floured surface.  Roll it out into (approximately) a 24 x 12 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you.  It doesn't have to be perfect!

Next, place all filling ingredients (except raisins) in a microwaveable bowl (I use a Pyrex 2C measuring cup).  Cover loosely with a paper towel and microwave 30-60 seconds or until butter is very soft (melted is OK too).  Stir mixture until completely combined.  Drizzle filling mixture over the dough rectangle.

Use a rubber spatula or scraper to spread the filling evenly over the rolled-out dough.  Get as close to the edges as possible.  Again, it doesn't have to be perfect!  Sprinkle with raisins if desired.

Roll the dough into a tight log, starting from the long side and rolling away from you.  It won't generally roll up as one big piece...you'll have to work your way back and forth across the rectangle.  When you get towards the end, pull the back of the rectangle over the top of the log rather than rolling it over, so that your seam is on top (this helps keep the filling inside).

If the ends of your log are extremely uneven and you don't think they'll turn into decent-shaped cinnamon rolls, you can trim them off.  Then, using a sharp knife (I use the same kind of knife I use to cut tomatoes...something that cuts cleanly but doesn't tear or pull), cut the log into 18 even slices.  I've found that the easiest way for my spatially-challenged brain to do this is to first cut the dough log in half.  Next, cut a slice out of the middle of each half.  Now you should have two slices and four larger pieces.  Cut each of the larger pieces into 4 equal slices.  Voila...18 slices of cinnamon roll dough.  (Is anyone sick of seeing my brown countertop yet?)

Now, grease two 8x8 or 9x9 pans.  Place 9 cinnamon rolls in each pan.  Yes, this is messy and some of the filling might drip out as you transfer the rolls. 

Spray two pieces of plastic wrap with cooking spray and use one to cover each pan of rolls, sprayed-side-down. 

Let rise at least 4 hours.  I almost always make these in the evening and let them rise overnight.

At some point while the rolls are rising, make the frosting.  Beat together the butter and cream cheese, then beat in the powdered sugar.  Mixture will be thick.  Beat in the vanilla and the milk...add the milk a little bit at a time.  You want your frosting to be thin enough to spread, but not drizzling consistency.  The frosting can be made the night before, and then refrigerated until you need it.

When the rolls are done rising, remove the plastic wrap and bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 22-24 minutes, until tops of rolls are browned slightly.  Let cool 5 minutes, then frost.  You know you have enough frosting when you can't tell what's underneath it :)  Serve warm. 

Options and Tips:
  • Don't be intimidated by all the steps in this recipe.  If you've never made cinnamon rolls before, give it a try...the lengthy explanation and pictures are included to make it easier for you :)  
  • Use REAL butter, not margarine, for this recipe.  It really enhances the flavor and texture of the rolls, filling, and frosting.
  • I have made these rolls a day ahead and then refrigerated them before letting them rise.  Pull them out of the fridge early in the evening and let them rise overnight.  They don't rise quite as high, but they still taste good...and it's a good solution if you're going to have a busy evening but still want fresh rolls in the morning!
  • If you refrigerate your frosting overnight it will get pretty stiff.  Before you frost your rolls, microwave the frosting for about 10 seconds and stir it well to make it more spreadable.
  • Add flavor to your frosting if desired:  use coffee, orange juice, or maple syrup in place of the milk and vanilla.
This recipe, in its original form, can be found on page 115 of Hull PRC School's "Bountiful Blessings" cookbook.  I made slight alterations to the filling and frosting recipes, and the instructions are my own. 


  1. Yeah for this recipe! I have wanted to try your cinn rolls, and now I have great instructions to do it! Yummy!

  2. Your pictures are GREAT! This is the recipe I use occasionally, we really enjoy it too! I really like that it makes 18, not just 12 ~ you know for our growing families who are only eating more and more! :)

  3. I found an easy way to cut the rolls. I take a piece of string about 15" long and I slide it under the rolls and then I criss-cross the string and the rolls cut so easily. I do it too first in half and then that section in in half again like Lisa does. The dough does not tear or pull with the string.

  4. These look delicious!! I was wondering though, if you've ever made them without the vanilla pudding. It's the only thing I don't have in the house and I'd like to make them today. Thanks!

    1. Karisa - I am so sorry I did not reply earlier. I was camping and only checking my blog every other day or so. It's probably too late now, but I'll still reply to your question. I have never made these w/o the vanilla pudding, but I know others have. Maybe the dough will have a different consistency, and I'm guessing the rolls won't be quite as sweet. Let me know how they turn out for you....with or w/o the pudding :)

  5. I used your tip about letting the rolls rise in the fridge overnight with my own roll recipe. My husband took them out at 4AM and I baked them at 8AM - worked like a charm - thanks for the tip!