Four years, four different recipes. Since Matt and I started making Christmas cinnamon rolls we haven’t been able to settle on a recipe that we really love – or in the case of last year we haven’t been smart enough to write it down / pin it / bookmark it for the next year. We made Alton Brown’s overnight cinnamon rolls, Pioneer Women’s cinnamon rolls, and delicious variety we can’t track down the origins of. So this year, once again, we started from scratch…
… and we found it. The one. The recipe I’ll use again next year not only because I’m blogging it now but because it received rave reviews Christmas morning.
The key is in the dough. While I haven’t replicated it (but intend to very soon) this dough was perfectly elastic and smooth, easy to knead together and roll out. With great dough there is the flexibility to become more complex when necessary, or stay simple and traditional. I’m not sure what the rules are but since I altered the recipe to what you see below I think I get to claim it as my own… but you tell me. Based off of this recipe from A Beautiful Mess I present to you (and hereby blog so I will remember next year) :
Christmas Cinnamon Rolls | makes 10-12
3 T warm water | 3 T sugar | 2 1/2 t active dry yeast
combine in mixer or bowl and let activate, appx 5 min. water temp should be fairly warm but not too hot :)
1/2 c salted butter | 1 c milk
melt butter in small pan + add milk to allow to warm and stay combined
2 c bread flour | 1 1/3c flour | 1 egg
Add flours to yeast mixture, alternating with milk/butter mixture and egg and stir / knead to combine until dough is smooth and elastic. Form into a ball, place in lightly oiled bowl and cover, allow to rise 1 hour.
4-6 T butter, melted | 3 T cinnamon | 1/3 – 1/2 c brown sugar
Roll out the dough into a large rectangle. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar until evenly covered (this is where you can add as much or little as you would like), and roll gently into a large cylinder. Pinch the seam to seal and using a serrated knife cut 1 1/2 – 2″ slices. Place in buttered pan and allow to rise overnight in the fridge. Pull out in the morning and place in the oven once preheated to 375. Bake for 27-30 min, or until golden brown, and top with:
1/2 c cream cheese | 1c powdered sugar | 3T milk
blend together until smooth for frosting / drizzling and enjoy!
The best thing about cinnamon rolls is eating them fresh, so if you would rather make them day of to enjoy, skip the overnight step in the fridge and allow to rise in a warm spot covered for 45min. Also, next time I would probably give them a bit more space in the pan to rise and grow in so they aren’t too squished… or if you like nice individual rolls you can bake them in muffin tins and they generally look even more inviting.