My MY we’ve had some fall weather recently! At least, I have in New York, if you haven’t I am terribly sorry, I really am. In honor of this cozy weather however, here is quite possibly the only fall baking recipe that matters. CINNAMON ROLLS. Cinnamon rolls are the poster child for cozy fall food, but to me, they used to be so daunting. If you’ve been around since the beginning of Sweet D, you’ll know that I’ve said time and time again that making bread scares me. Something always goes wrong and I just could never tell why. That is, until I came across this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen, and my life was changed forever. When I used to make cinnamon rolls, it would mean waking up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday (my least favorite thing to do), and still not getting to eat until noon because, you know, bread takes time to rise. NOT ANYMORE. I give to you, Over. Night. Cinnamon Rolls! The heavy lifting is done the night before, so that the next morning you can pull them out of the fridge and they bake in 20 minutes. TWENTY MINUTES!! Sorry for all the caps, I’m just so excited about this.
The best way that I’ve found to do this is to make the dough in the evening after dinner, since it still has to rise once before you fill it. Also, don’t forget to take out a stick of butter for the filling NOW, so that by the time the dough is finished rising, it’s perfectly soft. While its rising, watch a movie, catch up on some TV, do a face mask, idk. Then, roll it out and fill it, slice it, and put it in the pan, wrap it in tin foil, and go the heck to bed!!! Wake up the next morning feelin fresh, take it out of the fridge to thaw while you brush your teeth and make some coffee, then bake for twenty minutes and before you know it, your house will smell like HEAVEN!!
I haven’t changed much from the original recipe that I was following since it’s just so solid, but one thing I have done is tweak the frosting since I can’t ever leave things alone. Besides cinnamon, what would you say is the most classically fall flavor? If you said maple, then we are very much alike. So, what’s one way to make cream cheese frosting even more cozy? You got it, add maple syrup! This frosting recipe will make quite a lot, because we all know it’s better to have too much frosting than not enough. Plus, you have to factor in the amount you’ll be eating with a spoon before the rolls are even out of the oven, it’s THAT good.
Before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about today, and then we’ll get to it!
ONE. Finishing a book you’ve been reading for ages and feeling so accomplished.
TWO. Fall scented candles like apple cinnamon or pumpkin spice.
THREE. Seeing a really good dog on the street.
FOUR. Being the only group in a movie theater, so you can react as loudly as you want.
FIVE. Waking up early enough to see the sun rise for once.
Makes: 9 Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours + Overnight rise
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Cinnamon Roll Ingredients
¾ cup warm milk (around 110ºF)
2¼ tsp active dry yeast (a single standard package)
¼ cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temp
¼ cup (half stick) unsalted butter, melted (for the dough)
3 cups bread flour
¾ tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
1½ Tbsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup (half stick) unsalted butter, softened (for the filling)
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
8oz. cream cheese (2 blocks), at room temperature
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
Cinnamon Roll Steps
ONE. Add warm milk to the bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes or until it starts to get foamy. If this doesn’t happen, the milk was either too hot or too cold, or the yeast is no good, so start over here. Once it’s foamy, add in your sugar, egg, egg yolk, and melted butter, then mix to combine. Stir in the flour and salt, then knead the dough with a dough hook attachment of your stand mixer or by hand for 10 minutes. My stand mixer is old and grumpy now, and I’m pretty sure that if I tried to have it knead for 10 minutes straight it would give up on me completely, so I did this by hand. You’ll know it’s ready when you push down in the center of the dough and the indent bounces back into a smooth surface. Put this dough into a well oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Allow to rise for 1½-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
TWO. Transfer your risen dough to a floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle that is at least 9″ x 14″. I like to roll out on my Silpat since the measurements are printed on both sides for me anyway! Using an offset spatula, spread the softened butter over the rolled out rectangle, leaving a small border around all sides that isn’t buttered.
THREE. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture generously over the top of your cinnamon rolls, then gently pat down so that the sugar mostly stays put while you roll up the dough. At this point, tightly roll up your dough longways, making sure no filling is spilling out the sides as you go. Using a ruler, measure out 9 even cinnamon rolls not including the very ends of your roll- they never turn out even and always have less filling than the middle ones! I like to trim mine off into little baby cinnamon rolls to bake later. Anyway, once you measure and mark out 9 evenly sized rolls, cut with a serrated bread knife and carefully transfer each roll to a parchment paper-lined 9″ x 9″ square baking dish. At this point, wrap your cinnamon rolls in tin foil and store in the fridge overnight. *If you can’t wait a whole night, allow them to rise again for 30 minutes at room temperature, then bake from there.*
FOUR. The next morning, when you wake up refreshed and hungry, remove the rolls from the fridge and allow them to warm up for about 20 minutes. Make your coffee, preheat your oven to 350ºF, or get a head start on the frosting (see below) while you wait! Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes, until the filling is bubbly and the tops are just starting to turn golden- you want these to be a little under-baked so that they’re still soft and squashy! Allow the rolls to cool for 5 minutes (if you can stand it) before frosting. Then, promptly eat all 9 by yourself, who needs to share??
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Steps
ONE. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whip together the softened cream cheese and butter. Once incorporated, add (carefully!) the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Beat this frosting on medium speed until smooth. If you find that yours is too thin, add more powdered sugar, if it’s too thick, add a little more maple syrup or whole milk to think it out.
TWO. To serve, spread the frosting generously over all the rolls in the pan, plus maybe some more when you serve yourself a cinnamon roll. The more frosting the better!!
Now get cozy and enjoy your cinnamon roll while wrapped in a blanket, while wearing your PJs, and with a cup of tea. YAY! xoxoxoxD