I love cinnamon rolls but have never even wanted to think about making them from scratch because they just take too long and who wants to wake up at 4 am just to have cinnamon rolls for breakfast? Not me. Hand me a can of pre-made cinnamon rolls, please. ...Until I tried this method.
Sure, you still have an hour rise time and a half hour bake, but it's still feasible for a lazy weekend morning when you want something special. The fact that you can mix up the dough the night before and there is no heavy kneading involved cuts the prep time in half, at least.
These would be perfect to keep the hungry masses away on Thanksgiving day or as an extra special treat Christmas morning. There's just something about fresh cinnamon rolls that says "Here's some love for ya."
Total Recipe cost: $1.47
Servings Per Recipe: 10
Cost per serving: $0.15
Prep time: 15 min. Cook time: 30 min. Rise time: 1 hr. Total: 1 hr. 45 min. (plus overnight refrigeration of dough)
|1 pkg (2.25 tsp)||instant or bread machine yeast||$0.18|
|2 Tbsp||brown sugar||$0.04|
|approx. 1.5 cups||water||$0.00|
|2 Tbsp||white sugar||$0.02|
|1 cup||powdered sugar||$0.18|
|1/4 tsp||vanilla extract||$0.07|
STEP 1: The night before, combine the flour, salt, instant yeast, cinnamon, and brown sugar in a bowl and thoroughly mix. Add one cup of room temperature water. Stir until it is fully absorbed. Add more water, a little at a time, until there is no dry flour left in the bowl and one cohesive ball of dough has formed. If the dough is wet and sticky, it's okay. Cover and refrigerate over night.
STEP 2: In the morning, take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it warm up a little (it's easier to shape when room temperature). Sprinkle the dough and your work surface generously with flour. Transfer the dough to the work surface and work in just enough flour to keep it from sticking to your hands - it's okay if the dough is still fairly wet, you just need it workable.
STEP 3: Stretch or roll the dough out into a rectangle approximately 11 x 14 inches in size. This may take some patience as the dough will be quite elastic. Just keep stretching it and sprinkling with flour to keep it from sticking to the work surface.
STEP 4: Melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the white sugar and cinnamon. Spread this mixture over the entire surface of the stretched dough. Roll the dough up as tightly as possible, stretching as you go so that you get as much "swirl" as possible. Using a sharp knife, cut the rolled log into 10-12 equal sized slices (about 1.5-2 inches wide).
STEP 5: Coat a baking dish with non-stick spray and arrange the cut cinnamon rolls in the dish. Allow the cinnamon rolls to rise for one hour or until doubled in size. Near the end of the hour, begin to preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
STEP 6: Bake the cinnamon rolls in the fully preheated oven for 30 minutes or until they are golden brown on top. Meanwhile, make the icing by combining the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Stir until smooth. Allow the baked cinnamon rolls to cool for at least 10 minutes before adding the icing or else it will melt completely into the rolls and disappear. Serve warm!
Step By Step Photos
The night before, combine the flour, yeast, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar in a bowl. I used one cup of whole wheat flour and the rest all-purpose. I wouldn't suggest using more than 50% whole wheat or else your rolls will be quite dense. Cinnamon and sugar get baked right into the dough - Mmmmmm!
Make sure the dry ingredients are well mixed before adding the water.
You'll probably need a different amount of water every time you make this, so start with one cup and add a little more at a time until you get one cohesive ball of dough. It's okay if you add a little too much because you can work in a little flour the next day (as I did). Just make sure there is no dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl. I used about 1.5 cups of water.
Cover and refrigerate over night. In the morning it will be all nice and fluffy, like this.
Flour your work surface well and sprinkle a little bit on the dough as well. Work in just enough flour to keep it from sticking to your hands. You don't need to knead it or work in a bunch of flour, just a tad. It's okay if the dough is still quite wet.
Stretch the dough into an 11 x 14 inch rectangle. This might be the most difficult part because the dough will be very elastic. Just keep slowly stretching till it gets there. I tried to use a rolling pin but that didn't really work. I just included it in the photo so you could gauge the size of the rectangle (it's a small rolling pin).
Melt the butter in the microwave and then stir in the white sugar and cinnamon. This is where the magic is at.
Spread that magical butter cinnamon sugar mix over the dough. Try to get as close to the edges as possible.
Roll the rectangle up as tightly as possible (kind of stretch it as you roll so you get more swirls). Using a sharp knife, cut the rolled log into 10-12 equal sized slices. If your dough is very wet and sticky, you may need to clean and dry your knife periodically.
Coat a baking dish (9x9 inches or so) with non-stick spray and arrange the slices inside. Allow the rolls to rise for about an hour or until they are double in size.
See how nice and fluffy they got? Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Make sure the oven is fully preheated before you bake, then bake the rolls for about 30 minutes or until the tops are nice and brown. Allow the baked rolls to cool for a minute while you make the icing.
See how much more they fluffed up in the oven? That's why the oven needs to be nice and hot before the rolls go in.
Make the icing by combining the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Stir until smooth. I know 2 Tbsp of milk doesn't seem like enough milk for one cup of powdered sugar, but powdered sugar is kinda crazy like that. Just trust me and keep stirring.
Once the rolls have cooled for about 10-15 minutes, it's safe to add the icing. Adding icing to hot cinnamon rolls will melt the icing completely and it will just absorb right in and disappear. Not good.
My favorite part of a cinnamon roll is in between the layers... it's all gooey and delicious... especially when the icing drips down in. Mmmm. Dangerous.