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The Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever!

I've been looking for a good cinnamon roll recipe for a long time now.  This recipe has been sitting in my drafts and been adjusted over the past few months as I've tried different recipes and techniques.  I'm a big fan of Cinnabon and wanted something sort of similar to that.  A soft, melt in your mouth texture, not thick and heavy, but not overly light and airy either, with a decent amount of sticky filling and topped with buttery cream cheese frosting that's been kissed with vanilla or maple.

One of the techniques that I read about recently that intrigued me was pouring a small amount of heavy cream over the rolls after the final rising and right before baking.  I was hesitant at first and honestly thought I had ruined the rolls the first time I did it and looked at them sitting in a small puddle before popping them in the oven, but oh my it made such a difference... making the cinnamon rolls more gooey and delicious than I could imagine.

With any recipe it's a good idea to read through the entire thing before starting, but I especially suggest it for this one!


1 cup warm milk (about 115 degrees)
2 1/2 tsps dry instant yeast (I like the quick rise)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsps cinnamon

1/2 cup heavy cream, warmed

oz softened cream cheese 
1/3 cup softened butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla or maple extract 

*Do these things first:
  1. Melt the butter so it has time to cool a bit before adding it to the other ingredients.  (You don't want to kill your yeast.)  
  2. Take the eggs out of the refrigerator and put them in a bowl of hot water for two minutes to bring them to room temperature.  Once they are room temp, crack them in to a small bowl and lightly whisk.
  3. Microwave your milk for 90 seconds on high, (or adjust your time based on your microwave.  You want it around 120 degrees.)
For the dough:  Pour the warmed milk in to your mixer bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the milk and then add the the sugar, melted butter, eggs, and salt.  Add the flour and then whisk together until the ingredients are just combined.  Using the dough hook, mix the dough on low speed for 2 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.  Gently form the dough in to a ball in your hands, spray your bowl lightly with cooking spray and place the dough in it, cover with saran wrap and a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 60 mins.

For the filling:  In a small, clean bowl combine the softened butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon until it's a nice, smooth spread.  Set aside.

Once your dough has risen, sprinkle a pastry mat or your clean counter with flour. Turn out the dough on to the mat and roll the dough in to a rectangle, (about 12x16.)  Spread the cinnamon/sugar butter all over the rectangle to about 1/2 inch from the edge.  (The spread is thick so you will need to put dots of butter all over the dough and then gently spread it together.  It will take a couple of minutes but is worth it because the filling will stay in the roll and not leak out everywhere!)  Once your filling is spread evenly, roll up the dough tightly but gently using the longer edge.  Cut into 12 slices and place the rolls in a greased 10x15 pan.  Cover in saran wrap and drape a clean towel over the pan and let rise an additional 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Warm the heavy cream, (about 30 seconds on high in the microwave), and pour it gently over the top of the cinnamon rolls.  Let sit another 5 minutes so the cream has a chance to start soaking in to the rolls.  Bake for 22-25 minutes.  (The rolls should be golden brown.)

While the rolls are baking make your frosting.

For the frosting:  Whip together the softened cream cheese and butter in your mixer until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and extract.  Beat together until combined.

Once your rolls are baked, remove from the oven and put the pan on a cooling rack.  Spread the frosting on immediately while the rolls are still hot.

Like to see pictures?  Here are some at various stages:
The dough after the first rise

Roll the dough in to a rectangle.

Spread the cinnamon/sugar butter all over the rectangle.

Roll up the dough tightly but gently using the longer edge.

Cut into 12 slices. 

Place the rolls in a greased 10x15 pan.

Pour the heavy cream on top of the rolls.

Bake then frost immediately after taking out of the oven.

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