Few things say “Good Morning” better than a batch of warm-from-the-oven cinnamon rolls! You can bake them with speedy baking powder, but an old-school yeast dough always has the best texture and flavour.
Yield: Makes 12 to 16 rolls
for the sweet dough:
1 cup milk
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 – 1/4 ounce package instant yeast
for the cinnamon filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
for the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream (35%)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
For the sweet dough, gently warm the milk, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small pot. Don’t bring to a simmer; warm just enough to melt the butter.
Meanwhile, measure one-half of the flour into the bowl of your stand mixer along with the yeast. Add the warm milk and melted butter mixture to the flour and beat with your paddle attachment until smooth. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating until smooth before proceeding. Switch to a dough hook and add the remaining flour.
Remove and knead until a soft dough forms that is no longer sticky to the touch, about 5 minutes.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rest in a warm place until dough doubles in size. This could take as long as 2 hours.
For the filling, stir or whisk together the softened butter with the brown sugar and the cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
Once the dough has risen, knock it down and let it rest for a few minutes.
Flour your work surface, the dough, your hands and a rolling pin. Roll out the dough into a long rectangle shape, about 18 x 12 inches (45 x 30 cm), with the long side facing you.
Evenly spread the cinnamon filling all over the top of the dough, leaving 1 or 2 inches (2.5 or 5 cm) uncovered along the top edge. Leaving a border helps the dough stick together when you form the roll.
Roll into a long, tight, cigar-shaped log from the covered long edge to the uncovered long edge. Brush the outside of the log with oil or melted butter.
Slice the dough log into 12 or 16 sections. Turn each on its side and position evenly in a lightly oiled 15- x 10-inch baking pan.
Rest, uncovered, until the dough doubles in size once again and the rolls swell into each other, filling the pan.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 °F (180 °C).
When the dough has risen a second time, bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
When the cinnamon rolls have cooled enough to handle, stir together the glaze ingredients and drizzle all over the rolls. Serve immediately!
For an extra special burst of aromatic flavour, add the zest of several oranges into the sweet dough.
This is the recipe my mother uses every year at Christmas time to make a cardamom scented sweetbread. To this day, every time I smell cardamom I think of my mom. It's a blast from the past, a household tradition, all because of a friendly neighbour from my childhood who shared this recipe with me. I of course gave it to my mom to make for me.
Nowadays she makes it in a bread machine, which handles the mixing, kneading and first rising steps. The dough can then be braided and baked as per the recipe. The traditional braiding step makes a beautiful loaf, but isn't necessary. You can form a traditional loaf by rolling it into a log and placing it in a lightly greased loaf pan before baking.