Hello and welcome to the wide wide world of cinnamon roll love.
Seriously, say hello to big, fluffy cinnamon rolls packed with a cinnamon brown sugar filling and glazed with a vanilla cream cheese glaze that drips into the middle and soaks every single bite.
Descriptive, yes. Delicious, absolutely.
Healthy? Not so much. But sometimes you need something a little indulgent for moments in your life that require a little something special.
So let me tell you about these sweet fluffy rolls of love because they’ll be a recipe you’ll never forget.
I’ve been making these glorious cinnamon rolls for years now. The very first time I baked them up was for Easter brunch while Tony was still in baseball. His parents were in town and he lived with 5 other guys. I prepped the dough the night before, kneading it by hand and mixing the dough with an old wooden spoon. It was perfection. The next morning I popped the rolls in the oven and they rose like cinnamon roll mountains: glorious, beautiful and finished off with a sweet vanilla cream cheese icing. The most beautiful brunch pastry you’d ever see.
The guys dug in immediately and said they were some of the best cinnamon rolls they’d ever had. I knew from that point forward that I’d make this recipe at every special occasion and holiday.
Do I think they could they compete with Cinnabon’s famous cinnabon? 100%.
The trick to keeping the cinnamon rolls soft and fluffy is bread flour. Yep that’s right. The one and only. The rolls really won’t be the same otherwise. All purpose flour still works, but they just aren’t as amazing.
I hope you get a chance to try these out as I’m passing this recipe on to you. Make them, keep them in your family for generations to come, and share a sweet surprise with someone special in your life.
Perhaps Mom for Mother’s Day this weekend? You know she’d love them! Or just make them yourself and call it a really, really good day.
See how to make the best cinnamon rolls:
More delicious brunch recipes to try:
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below and rate the recipe! You can also snap and picture and post it on Instagram using the hashtag #ambitiouskitchen. And of course be sure to follow Ambitious Kitchen on Instagram. xo!
The Best Cinnamon Rolls You'll Ever Eat
- For the dough:
- ¾ cup warm milk (110 degrees F)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons active yeast (1/4-ounce package yeast)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups bread flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- For the filling:
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- For the cream cheese frosting:
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Add warm milk to the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. You’ll know your yeast has activated if it begins to foam after a few minutes. If it hasn’t, then start over; your milk was either too hot or too cold.
Once yeast begins to foam, add in sugar, egg, egg yolk and butter. Mix until well combined. Next stir in flour and salt with a wooden spoon until a dough begins to form.
Place dough hook on mixer and knead dough on medium speed for 8 minutes. Dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky. (If you don’t want to use an electric mixer, you can use your hands to knead the dough for 8-10 minutes on a well-floured surface.)
Transfer dough ball to a well oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Allow dough to rise for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size.
After dough has doubled in size, transfer dough to a well-floured surface and roll out into a 14x9 inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough, leaving a ¼ inch margin at the far side of the dough.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Use your hands to sprinkle mixture over the buttered dough, then gently rub in into the butter a little.
Tightly roll dough up, starting from the 9 inch side and place seam side down making sure to seal the edges of the dough as best you can.
Cut into 1 inch sections with a serrated knife or floss. You should get 9 large pieces.
Place cinnamon rolls in a greased 9x9 inch baking pan or round 9 inch cake pan. (I also recommend lining the pan with parchment paper as well, in case any of the filling ends up leaking out.) Cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel and let rise again for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap and towel and bake cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes or until just slightly golden brown on the edges. You want to underbake them a little so they stay soft in the middle, that’s why we want them just slightly golden brown. Allow them to cool for a 5 minutes before frosting. Makes 9 cinnamon rolls.
To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread over cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.
To make overnight cinnamon rolls:
After placing rolls into the greased pan, simply cover, place overnight in the fridge and then bake them in the morning as directed. I like to bring my cinnamon rolls to room temperature first by leaving them on the counter for 30 minutes before baking.
Photography: Sarah Fennel