There were many great things about our first Christmas morning at home, and these cinnamon rolls were high on that list. I’d never made cinnamon rolls from scratch before and I was really excited to give them a try. Although I usually have success with yeast doughs, there are still times I don’t—and in general, I’m still a little intimidated by them. I figured if I messed this up, we’d just have a cinnamon quickbread or something instead. I know I can handle that. :)
These cinnamon rolls have their first rise and are filled & cut the night before you want to bake them. The morning of, you let them rise for about 30 minutes before they can be baked and iced. So, you do still need to plan a little extra time, but obviously it’s much quicker than making a standard yeast recipe the same day (just not as quick as making the canned kind, obviously). I don’t think mine rose quite as much as they should have, but I also was getting a little impatient. Also, because I’m still a yeast novice, I don’t totally know the difference between instant and rapid rise/quick rise yeast (even with googling) – and my grocery store does not sell instant, so, I just went with rapid rise. At any rate, they turned out pretty great. And I’m especially excited we still have about half a batch in the freezer.
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
From Alton Brown
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
2 oz. sugar (approximately 1/4 cup)
3 oz. unsalted butter, melted (approximately 6 Tbsp.)
6 oz. buttermilk, room temperature
20 oz. all-purpose flour (approximately 4 cups)
1 package instant dry yeast (approximately 2.25 tsp.)
1.25 tsp. kosher salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray
8 oz. light brown sugar (approximately 1 cup, packed)
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3/4 oz. unsalted butter, melted (approximately 1.5 Tbsp.)
2.5 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp. milk
5.5 oz. powdered sugar (approximately 1.5 cups)
For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add about 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Replace the whisk attachment and with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, and add more flour if necessary (dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky). Knead on low for 5 minutes longer, or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl (for me it only took about 2-3 minutes).
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand forabout 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, about 2-2.5 hours.
For the filling: Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
Butter a 9×13″ glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18×12″ rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving 1/2″ border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge. Gently press the filling into the dough.
Beginning with the side of the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 12 rolls. Arrange the rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in a turned-off oven on a high rack. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set the pan on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy, about 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the pan of water from the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.