Few things can capture my little foodie heart like a beautiful pan of good, old-fashioned, cinnamon rolls. Hot out of the oven, with their gooey centers, soft, rich, fluffy bread, and delicious combo of cinnamon and sugar, they are baked perfection. But unfortunately, they can also strike fear into the heart of the unexperienced baker. With making the yeast rise, kneading the dough, rolling, spreading, rolling, and cutting, they can seem like baking hell. It's enough to make a lot of bakers throw their hands in the air and declare cinnamon rolls unworthy of their time.
That was me for most of my life. Then I met this recipe and fell madly in love. We are very happy together now! I have made these a few times now, and they have turned out perfect. And because it is the season of giving, I have reluctantly shared them. Let's just say that I'm a lot more popular now than I used to be.
This isn't the first cinnamon roll recipe I have made. But it is definitely my favorite! Some cinnamon rolls I have made were more like plain bread dough made into cinnamon rolls. These are sweet rolls! Other recipes have also required a bunch of kneading, or hours and hours of rising time for the dough. Not this recipe! This dough only requires stirring, it takes only an hour and 20 minutes to rise, and you don't even need a stand mixer!
This recipe makes a big ole batch of cinnamon rolls. I have made the whole recipe, and I have made a half recipe. It works great either way! If, for some bizarre reason, you want to make a whole batch but don't want to eat them all at one time, these can be frozen before or after baking. If you freeze them unbaked, let them thaw and rise before popping them in the oven.
You are officially out of excuses to make homemade cinnamon rolls. Some things are just too delicious to not make. Who could resist this? Not me!
1 quart skim milk
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 packages (4 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
9 cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 scant teaspoon baking soda
1 Tbsp salt
2 cups margarine or butter
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
2 cups brown sugar
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 cup skim milk
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) margarine or butter, melted
1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee
Dash of salt
1 Tbsp vanilla or maple flavoring or extract
For the dough, heat the milk, oil, and sugar in a stockpot over medium heat. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Set aside and cool to lukewarm. (In a pinch, I will just microwave until mixture is between 100-110 degrees).
Sprinkle yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute. Add 8 cups of flour. Stir until just combined, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour.
Remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining 1 cup of flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl.
To assemble the rolls, remove half the dough from the pan. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30x10 inches. Spread the margarine or butter over the surface of the dough; spread evenly.
Sprinkle half of the ground cinnamon and 1 cup of the brown sugar over the butter. Beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly toward you. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together. Cut into 1 1/2 inch slices (I like to use dental floss for this!). One log will make 20-25 rolls.
Spray pie pans or baking dishes with non-stick cooking spray. Place the sliced rolls into the pans.
Repeat the rolling/sugar/butter process with the other half of the dough and more pans.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the counter-top for 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 13-17 minutes, or until golden brown.
While the rolls are baking, prepare the icing: In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt. Splash in the maple or vanilla extract. Whisk until very smooth. The icing should be thick, but still pour-able. Add more milk or powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.
While the rolls are still warm, generously drizzle icing over the top.
Makes 40-50 rolls.
Recipe adapted slightly from The Pioneer Woman Cooks