Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls


Updated: here are the rolls with the traditional cream cheese frosting:


Now…. for the question of the day.

How is it that I have achieved the tender age of 44, and have NEVER made cinnamon rolls before?

Alexander asked me the exact same thing…..

I do not have the answer to his (or your) query, but I am able to tell you this…..these were so much easier than I thought they would be. I had a vision in my head that they were complex and difficult (the rolls, not my head) ~ so I was elated to realize that:

# 1. My trusty, never-lets-me-down 7-quart Kitchenaid mixer did all the hard work.

# 2. The completed (unbaked) rolls could sit in the fridge overnight, and baked fresh in the morning.

Mind boggling, I know.

The only problem I ran into? I had used up all the cream cheese in the house to make my spectacular cheesecake, thereby forcing me to make a simple powdered sugar/cream/vanilla glaze……which I think went over quite well.

These will definitely make an appearance on the breakfast table for Christmas morning.

Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls – adapted from Cooks’ Illustrated

For the Dough:

  • 3/4 cup milk, heated to 110 degrees
  • 1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) rapid-rise yeast or instant yeast
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 1/4 cups (21 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 12 tbs (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

For the Glaze:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbs whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) confectioners sugar


Note: If the dough is still wet and sticky after mixing for 10 minutes in step 2, add up to 1/4 cup flour (a tbs at a time) until the dough releases from the bowl. For smaller cinnamon buns, cut the dough into 12 pieces in step 3. The buns can be made ahead of time; After transferring the pieces to the prepared pan in step 3, the buns can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, let the buns sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Remove the plastic wrap and continue with the recipe from step 4 as directed.

For the dough: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, shut off. Line 13×9 inch baking pan with foil, allowing excess foil to hang over pan edges. Spray foil and medium bowl with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk milk and yeast in liquid measuring cup until yeast dissolves, then whisk in eggs. In bowl, of stand mixer fitter with dough hook, mix flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt until combined. With mixer on low, add warm milk mixture in steady stream and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and add butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Continue to mix until dough is smooth and comes away from sides of bowl, about 10 minutes. Turn dough out onto clean surface and knead to form smooth, round ball. Transfer dough to prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

For the Filling: Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Roll dough into an 18-inch square, spread with butter, and sprinkle evenly with filling. Starting with the edge nearest you, roll dough into tight cylinder, pinch lightly to seal seam, and cut into 8 pieces. Transfer pieces, cut side up, to prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

For the Glaze and to Bake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk cream cheese, milk vanilla and confectioners’ sugar in medium bowl until smooth. Discard plastic wrap and bake buns until deep golden brown and filling is melted, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and top buns with 1/2 cup glaze; cool 30 minutes. Using foil overhang, lift buns from pan and top with remaining glaze. Serve.


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