Cinnamon Rolls

A fun baking project sure to make you the hero of your household.
TIME 3 to 5 hours, mostly unattended
MAKES 15 rolls
3½ cups all-purpose or bread flour, or more as needed, plus more for shaping the dough
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk, or more as needed
7 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1½ cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Put 3½ cups flour, the yeast, salt, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and the cold butter in a food processor. Pulse the machine a few times until the butter is evenly distributed in the flour but not completely blended into a dough. Add the eggs and pulse a few more times. With the machine running, slowly add ¾ cup of the milk through the feed tube.

2 Process for about 30 seconds, adding more milk if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is sticky to the touch. If the mixture becomes too sticky, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process for 5 to 10 seconds after each addition.

3 Grease a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of the softened butter. Spread about ¼ cup flour on a clean work surface, turn the dough out onto the flour, and knead it 5 or 6 times. Shape the dough into a smooth, round ball. Put the dough in the prepared bowl, turn it over once (so that the top is lightly coated with butter), and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours.

4 Punch the dough down to deflate it and then form it into a ball. Put the ball on a lightly floured surface, sprinkle with a little flour, cover with plastic wrap, let rest about 20 minutes.

5 Grease a rectangular baking pan with enough softened butter to coat the bottom and sides. Combine the cinnamon and remaining ¾ cup sugar in a small bowl. Press the dough into a rectangle the size of the baking pan. Spread the remaining 6 tablespoons softened butter all over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the butter. Roll the dough lengthwise and pinch the seam closed. Cut the log into 15 slices. Put each slice, cut side up, into the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest until the dough has doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

6 Heat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the pan and bake until the rolls are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Whisk the powdered sugar with the remaining ¼ cup milk and the vanilla extract in a small bowl. Let the cinnamon rolls cool for a few minutes, then invert them onto another pan or platter. Smear the glaze over all and serve.

  • If the dough seems too springy to press into a rectangle, let it rest for a few minutes; that’ll make it less elastic and easier to shape.
  • Use any cinnamon sugar that falls out of the dough as you’re rolling or cutting the dough to sprinkle over the rolls once you get them in the pan.
  • If you don’t have anything large enough to invert the pan onto (or the finished rolls stick), just glaze them in the pan.
  • If you glaze the rolls while they’re still hot, the sugar will melt into them (they’ll still taste good); if you want the glaze to stay white, wait for the rolls to cool a bit.

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