When it comes to indulging during the Holidays, breakfast pastries are one of my favorite splurges.
Aside from Monkey Bread, these cinnamon rolls are my favorite excuse to basically eat dessert for breakfast.
I have been meaning to make and share my favorite cinnamon roll recipe for a couple years and finally had the time to make them when Mikey was away one weekend (which resulted in me eating them for every meal). They are a bit time consuming, but if you have other things to do during some of the waiting periods they’re totally manageable (and worth it). Any time I see a cinnamon roll on a menu I am tempted to get it. The smell of Cinnabon at the mall gets me every. single. time. There is something about that cream cheese frosting melting into the doughy cinnamon and sugar that I literally can’t say no to! As I write this I am having a super hard time telling myself not to go get a cinnamon roll for lunch!
We are huge traditionalist’s and all around Holiday cheer people in my family…I blame my Mom for my obsession with all things festive and jolly. One of my favorite things is waking up on Christmas morning at my parents house to the smell of coffee and Monkey Bread…and sometimes, when I’m lucky, cinnamon rolls!
As kids, we always woke up super early and started screaming at my parents to wake up. The rule was no opening or shaking anything until they came out of their room. My favorite story (I have many, I was a very naughty/sneaky child) was the year my brother and I bought each other Giga Pets. I was horrible at keeping secrets and told him right away that I had gotten him a frog and forced him to tell me what he got me.
We were so excited to open them but my parents were still in their room, so I told my brother to follow my lead and start tearing up computer paper right outside their door. I started screaming, “YAYYYYYY THE DALMATIAN GIGA PET!!!!”, and my brother repeated the same about his frog…it worked.
My Mom came running out of her room in a flurry yelling that we had to wait…Got her! She then laughed and told us we could open our stockings even though we were brats 😉
We were always up so early so we would always eat breakfast after presents…but that has shifted now and my Mom is always up before us, turning on all the Christmas lights, lighting the candles and prepping the food (which now has lots of eggs since Mikey does not do sweets for breakfast. Travesty.).
I am so excited to head up to the beautiful Northwoods this year with my family and sit around, eat cookies and reminisce about the funny Christmases from the past. And I guarantee my Mom will say the same thing she says every year when she is ready for bed, “Ok kids, time to go to bed so Santa can come”.
If you don’t have a Christmas breakfast tradition I highly recommend you add these cinnamon rolls to your list!!! They are SO gooey and delicious!
Classic Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
For the Dough:
3/4 Cup Warm Water
2 and 1/4 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Cup Buttermilk, Room Temperature
1/3 Cup Oil
4 and 1/2-5 Cups Flour
For the Filling:
1 and 1/4 Cups Brown Sugar
2 and 1/2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
For the Frosting:
2 Oz Cream Cheese, Softened
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1 and 1/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast and 1 Tablespoon of the granulated sugar. Stir together with the dough hook attachment for a couple seconds and then let the yeast rise for about 5-10 minutes. While that is bubbling up, whisk together buttermilk, egg and oil in a medium bowl until well combined.
After 10 minutes the yeast should be looking frothy. Once it is, pour the buttermilk and egg mixture in with the remaining sugar and salt and stir together 10-15 seconds.
Pour in 2 cups of the flour and stir with dough hook on low until well combined. Continue to add the flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl and the bowl looks clean/no longer sticky. Once this occurs, increase speed to medium and allow to knead for 5 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky but not too much that it sticks to your hands when touched.
Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and cover with a towel or plastic wrap in a warm, dry place. Let dough rise for 1-2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size.
You can make the filling while the dough rises.
In a medium bowl mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch. Set aside.
Butter a 9×13 inch pan and then cover with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper as well so the rolls don’t stick to the paper. Set aside.
Once the dough has risen, you need to liberally flour a work surface and punch the dough down to remove any bubbles. transfer dough to work surface and sprinkle with flour. Roll out to roughly a 20×30 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter (I just used my hands to spread it around) all over the dough leaving a 1 inch strip all the way around the edges. Then evenly sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture over that and press down gently with fingers.
Starting with the edge closest to you, gently roll the dough away from you and into a roll. Seal with the 1 inch dry dough at the back by pressing down with your fingers. Cut off uneven ends and dispose. Use a sharp knife or string/floss to cut even (about 2 inches) rolls out of dough. Place into 9×13 inch pan and let rise, covered with plastic wrap for 1-2 hours or until they have either doubled in size or are touching.
Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 15-17 minutes or until the tops just begin to brown. Be sure not to over bake, you want a gooey cinnamon roll!
While those bake you can make the frosting.
Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla and lemon juice and beat until combined. Gradually add in Powdered sugar and beat on high for about 5 minutes until it becomes light and fluffy.
Remove rolls from oven and spread half the frosting over the top while still hot. The frosting will melt into the cracks. Then let cool (doesn’t have to be all the way, just not steaming hot) a bit more and add the rest of the frosting. Serve while warm or warm in the microwave before eating with a large cup of coffee!