Who doesn't love warm cinnamon rolls smothered with a sweet cream cheese icing? We buy them all the time from various supermarkets and doughnut chains but we're always disappointed. They are never what we think they should be. So it's been in my mind to try making them at home for a while and when I recently found this recipe in the Williams Sonoma "Breakfast Comforts" cookbook, I put it on my baking bucket list for the summer. Now baking isn't a lot of fun on a very hot, humid day, but yesterday was just perfect with a warm breeze and no humidity so I rolled up my sleeves and dove in. It's a long process- I think I started at about 1 pm and we were eating these by 7 pm.
Next time I make these I'm going to make a whole lot more filling since we prefer these really cinnamony and really gooey. I'd double the filling I think and I'd throw in a handful of chopped pecans and maybe some raisins. You really need a KitchenAid stand mixer for these since the dough is a lot of work and kneading it would be very strenuous! I used my new (and so beautiful) red porcelain cast iron skillet which looks so pretty while they bake, but it is maybe a little too small and the rolls would be better in a little larger pan. Plus I think you could easily cut the dough into 12 rolls since it rises so well.
Look for a warm place in your kitchen- my perfect place is up under my under the cupboard lights with the lights turned on. I perched my bowl and pan on the toaster to keep it close to the warm lights and it worked a charm!
Sweet Yeast Dough (see below for recipe)
1/2 cup Firmly packed light brown sugar
6 Tbsp (90 gm) butter, at room temperature
2 tsp cinnamon
flour for rolling out dough
Cream Cheese Icing
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tbsp butter. at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
finely grated zest of one orange
1/4 cup whole milk, or as needed
1. Prepare the dough as directed below and let rise 1 1/2- 2 hours.
2. In a bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat together the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon until combined, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
3. Punch down the dough and turn out onto floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour and roll out into a 16x14" rectangle, with the long side facing you. Spread filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1" border at the top and bottom. Starting at the long side of the rectangle farthest from you, roll up the rectangle into a log. Pinch the seams to seal. Cut the log crosswise into 8-9 slices with a sharp knife.
4. Butter a 9x13" baking pan. Arrange the slices, cut side up, in the pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 75-90 minutes. Or refrigerate overnight until doubled in size, 8-12 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before baking.
5. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake until the rolls are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack and let cool for about 15 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, make the icing. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and the orange zest. Using a handheld mixer on low speed, beat the mixture until crumbly. Gradually beat in enough of the milk to make a thick but pourable icing. Pour the icing over the warm rolls, and then spread it out with a spatula. Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 8-9 rolls.
Sweet Yeast Dough Recipe
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 Tbsp (75 gm) butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
1 pkg quick rise yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed
1 1/4 tsp salt
1. In the bowl of stand mixer (mine is a KitchenAid), combine milk, sugar, butter, eggs, and yeast. Add 4 1/2 cups flour and the salt. Place the bowl on the mixer and fit with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed, adding as much flour as needed to make a soft dough that does not stick to the bowl.
2. Remove the paddle attachment and fit the mixer with the dough hook. Knead the dough on medium-low speed, adding more flour if needed until the dough is smooth but still soft, 6-7 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.
3. Butter a large bowl. Add the dough and turn over to coat with the butter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2- 2 hours. Use at once. Or punch down the dough, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Punch down the dough and let stand at room temperature for 2 hour before using.
Makes about 2 1/2 lbs (1.1 kg)