My mom has spent years trying to perfect her cinnamon roll recipe. This spring, she was gracious enough to share the result of her experiments. This was the very first recipe in which I attempted to use yeast and let me say – if I can make these rolls, anyone can. The recipe makes two pans of rolls, and it has been a joy to share them with many, many friends throughout this crazy year. They have been one of the brightest points of 2020, and I hope you’re able to enjoy the recipe as much as we have!Jump to Recipe
Start by preparing your cinnamon filing. Melt butter in a large bowl, then add brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly to incorporate before setting aside.
Next, we’ll start on the dough. Pour milk and heavy cream (or half-and-half, if you already have it on hand for coffee) into a heatproof measuring cup. Microwave until lukewarm; I usually do two increments of 30 seconds. Add warmed milk and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and combine using the whisk attachment. Sprinkle instant yeast over the mixture and allow to bloom whilst you gather your other ingredients.
Add salt, softened butter, and eggs to the bowl; combine with whisk attachment until butter is incorporated. (It’s okay if you can still see pieces of the butter; it doesn’t need to be smooth right now.) Add 1 cup of flour and whisk on low until incorporated.
Switch to bread hook attachment. Add 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time, stopping as necessary to scrape the sides of the bowl. Stop mixing once these three cups are just incorporated.
Now, take a look at the texture of your dough. If you raise your dough hook and the dough pulls off, leaving your hook clean, you’re ready to move forward. If not, mix in ¼ to ½ cup of flour. Your dough is ready when it pulls away from the hook and from the sides of the bowl. It should be velvety and smooth.
When your dough is the proper texture, turn the mixer speed to medium and allow to knead for 8 minutes. (You are also welcome to knead by hand on a floured surface, if you want an extra arm workout.)
Lightly grease a mixing bowl and place kneaded dough inside. Cover and place in a warm area of your home to rise. (I usually utilize our oven, turned off but with the light on.) The dough should double in size in 30-40 minutes.
After the dough has doubled, divide it in half. Roll the first half on a clean, floured (or silicone) surface, forming a a rectangle roughly ⅓ inch thick. Cover rectangle in half of your cinnamon filling.
Tightly roll the long edge of your rectangle until you have a log. Using a serrated knife, cut the log into slices approximately 1 inch wide. Place sliced rolls into a greased pan, with about 1 inch between each roll. Repeat steps with second half of risen dough.
Cover the sliced rolls, place in a warm spot, and allow to rise to 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (and make sure your rolls aren’t rising in your oven when you turn it on).
Bake rolls for 22-25 minutes, until they are slightly golden. Allow to cool before icing and serving.
Mom’s Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup butter melted
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups half-and-half (can substitute 3/4 cup cream and 3/4 cup milk)
- 2 tablespoons instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 6 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
- 2 eggs
- 4¼ cups flour (may need up to 4 ½ cups)
- Make cinnamon filling by combining the melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon; set aside.
- Pour half-and-half into heatproof measuring cup; microwave until lukewarm (~45 seconds)
- Add warmed milk mixture and sugar to bowl of stand mixer; mix with whisk attachment until incorporated. Once incorporated, stop mixing and sprinkle yeast over mixture.
- Add salt, butter, and eggs to bowl; mix with whisk attachment until butter is incorporated. (Pieces of butter may still be present – this is fine.)
- Add 1 cup of flour and whisk on low, until incorporated.
- Switch to bread hook attachment and 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time, stopping as necessary to scrape sides of bowl. Stop mixing once it is just incorporated.
- Assess dough texture – if it pulls cleanly off the dough hook, move on to the next step. If not, add ¼ to ½ cup of flour and mix. Your ideal dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl as you mix.
- Allow mixer to knead dough for 8 minutes. (For extra fun, you can knead by hand for the final 5 minutes, but this is optional.)
- Lightly grease a large bowl and place kneaded dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area of your home to rise. The dough should double in size within 40 minutes.
- After this first rise, divide dough in half.
- Roll half of the dough on a clean, floured surface, until it is a rectangle roughly ⅓ inch thick. Cover rectangle in half of your cinnamon filling.
- Tightly roll the long edge of your rectangle until you have a log. Using a serrated knife, cut log into slices roughly 1 inch wide (wider if you prefer taller rolls). Place sliced rolls into a greased 9" by 13" pan.
- Repeat steps with second half of risen dough.
- Cover pans of rolls in greased plastic wrap or a tea towel, and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 325℉.
- Bake for 22-25 minutes, until tops of rolls are slightly golden.
- Allow to cool briefly before adding your choice of frosting, to avoid the frosting melting completely into your rolls.