perfect cinnamon rolls 2

I’m not going to lie, these cinnamon rolls are not the easiest or fastest, but they are perfect!  I have tried many recipes for cinnamon rolls, some that even use cake mix as a base, and the truth is, if you want truly delicious cinnamon rolls, you are going to have to put in the time and do it the “old fashioned” way.  Although a lot of the time in this recipe is waiting for the dough to rise, etc, you still need to realistically plan on 4 hours of your day being at home.  You can do other things during that time, but unless you make a really quick run to the store, you won’t have enough time to run any major errands.  So, plan this on laundry day and you’re all set!

I took a lot of photos as I went along to help you visualize what is going on in the recipe.  I clipped this recipe from the newspaper years ago, and the original directions weren’t easy to follow and used way too many dishes!  Over the years I have streamlined it to dirty as few dishes as possible –  I don’t know about you, but I am all about easy cleanup!

Let’s get started!  (For an easier-to-print version, I have retyped the instructions without pictures at the end of the post)

Perfect, Giant Cinnamon Rolls

Dough:

2 packages yeast (or 1 1/2 tbsps yeast)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

1 1/2 cups warm water, divided

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

1 cup milk

2 eggs

2 teaspoons salt

8 1/2 to 9 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

Glaze:

2 sticks butter, room temperature

3 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1-2 tablespoons milk, as needed

 Step 1.  Soften 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter in the microwave using 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup.  A trick I like to do is use the butter wrapper to keep the butter from splattering/exploding in the microwave.  Of course, this only works if your butter has paper and not foil wrappers.

Butter

Step 2.  Put butter in the bowl of mixer fitted with flat beater attachment.

Step 3.  Put 1 cup milk in pyrex container (same one you used for the butter) and microwave to scalding (just shy of boiling).  Pour over butter in mixing bowl.  Mix to melt butter.

Step 4. Put 1/2 cup warm water and 2 tablespoons sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast (this is the same as 4 1/2 teaspoons or 2 packages yeast) in pyrex (yes, the same one you have used twice before!).

Step 5.  Add 1 cup sugar to milk/butter mixture.  Mix.

Step 6.  Add yeast mixture to the mixing bowl.  Refill pyrex with 1 cup warm water, add to mixing bowl.

Step 7.  Mix in 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons salt.

Step 8.  Add in 5 cups flour.  Mix.

dough 1

Step 9.  Add in 3 1/2 cups more flour. Change to dough hook. and knead until smooth and elastic.  Here is the tricky part.  The dough is going to be sticky, but you don’t want it so loose that it is “runny.”  The picture below is when the dough was too runny – you can see that when I lifted the dough hook up that the dough dripped down.  If your dough looks like that, you will want to add up to 1/2 cup more flour. I measure out 1/2 cup flour and then dump about half of it in first.  If that isn’t enough, I add the rest of it in.

dough 2

This picture is after I added about 1/4 cup more flour in.  It is still very sticky (you can see it isn’t forming a “ball” which is what recipes usually say), but it is elastic enough that it is staying on the dough hook.

dough 3

Step 10.  Scrape dough off the dough hook and down the sides of the bowl.  Cover with a clean towel and let rise 2 hours in a warm place.  I like to set a timer because otherwise I lose track of time and forget!  Another trick – if you keep your house cold like I do in the winter, then you can put your oven on for a minute and then turn it off.  This will make it warm.  Put your covered bowl in the warmed oven to rise.dough 4

dough 5

Step 11.  While dough is rising, prepare the filling by mixing all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Step 12.  Roll out dough to a rectangle approximately 26 x 20 inches.  When I first started making this recipe, I would measure and get my rectangle this exact size.  If you are precise, you will get 20 giant cinnamon rolls.  Now that I know generally about how big to roll it out, I don’t measure.  This time I only got 17 giant cinnamon rolls.  Make sure that you have sufficiently floured your work surface.  Nothing is more frustrating than trying to roll up your cinnamon rolls and the dough sticks to your countertop and you get a big mess!

Roll Out

Step 13.  Spread cinnamon filling to cover the entire rolled-out dough. Cut into 1″ strips.  If you are doing this for the first time, it can be helpful to use a ruler to get a good idea of exactly how big/small 1″ is.  If you need to get a certain number of cinnamon rolls out of your dough, then you need to make sure that you divide your dough into the correct units.  I like using a pizza cutter – it makes super clean cuts.

spread cinnamon

cut

Step 14.  Rolling up your strips one at a time is key to making beautiful cinnamon rolls.  If you do the whole roll a log and then cut them you will get squished rolls.  Place rolls on a jelly-roll pan 2 inches apart.  This time around I used baking boxes because I was going to be gifting these rolls.

rolling

before rise

Step 15.  Cover your rolls with a clean towel and let rise for another 1/2 hour to 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake rolls until lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes.

baked
Step 16.  While rolls are baking prepare your glaze.  Dollop blobs of glaze onto warm cinnamon rolls and spread around.
  glazed

It goes without saying that these are best fresh out of the oven!  However, if you cover them tightly they will certainly last for several days on the counter!

Here is the easy to print recipe:

Giant Cinnamon Rolls

Dough:

2 packages yeast (or 1 1/2 tbsps yeast)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

1 1/2 cups warm water, divided

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

1 cup milk

2 eggs

2 teaspoons salt

8 1/2 to 9 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

Glaze:

2 sticks butter, room temperature

3 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1-2 tablespoons milk, as needed

Step 1.  Soften 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter in the microwave using 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup.  A trick I like to do is use the butter wrapper to keep the butter from splattering/exploding in the microwave.  Of course, this only works if your butter has paper and not foil wrappers.

Step 2.  Put butter in the bowl of mixer fitted with flat beater attachment.

Step 3.  Put 1 cup milk in pyrex container (same one you used for the butter) and microwave to scalding (just shy of boiling).  Pour over butter in mixing bowl.  Mix to melt butter.

Step 4. Put 1/2 cup warm water and 2 tablespoons sugar plus 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast (this is the same as 4 1/2 teaspoons or 2 packages yeast) in pyrex (yes, the same one you have used twice before!).

Step 5.  Add 1 cup sugar to milk/butter mixture.  Mix.

Step 6.  Add yeast mixture to the mixing bowl.  Refill pyrex with 1 cup warm water, add to mixing bowl.

Step 7.  Mix in 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons salt.

Step 8.  Add in 5 cups flour.  Mix.

Step 9.  Add in 3 1/2 cups more flour. Change to dough hook. and knead until smooth and elastic.  Here is the tricky part.  The dough is going to be sticky, but you don’t want it so loose that it is “runny.”   If your dough drips down from the beater, you will want to add up to 1/2 cup more flour. I measure out 1/2 cup flour and then dump about half of it in first.  If that isn’t enough, I add the rest of it in.  It will still be very sticky and won’t form a “ball,” but it is elastic enough that it will mostly staying on the dough hook.

Step 10.  Scrape dough off the dough hook and down the sides of the bowl.  Cover with a clean towel and let rise 2 hours in a warm place.  I like to set a timer because otherwise I lose track of time and forget!  Another trick – if you keep your house cold like I do in the winter, then you can put your oven on for a minute and then turn it off.  This will make it warm.  Put your covered bowl in the warmed oven to rise.

Step 11.  While dough is rising, prepare the filling by mixing all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.

Step 12.  Roll out dough to a rectangle approximately 26 x 20 inches.   If you are precise, you will get 20 giant cinnamon rolls.   Make sure that you have sufficiently floured your work surface.  Nothing is more frustrating than trying to roll up your cinnamon rolls and the dough sticks to your countertop and you get a big mess!

Step 13.  Spread cinnamon filling to cover the entire rolled-out dough. Cut into 1″ strips.  If you are doing this for the first time, it can be helpful to use a ruler to get a good idea of exactly how big/small 1″ is.  If you need to get a certain number of cinnamon rolls out of your dough, then you need to make sure that you divide your dough into the correct units.  I like using a pizza cutter – it makes super clean cuts.

Step 14.  Rolling up your strips one at a time is key to making beautiful cinnamon rolls.  If you do the whole roll-a-log and then cut them you will get squished rolls.  Place rolls on a jelly-roll pan 2 inches apart.

Step 15.  Cover your rolls with a clean towel and let rise for another 1/2 hour to 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake rolls until lightly browned, about 15-18 minutes.

Step 16.  While rolls are baking prepare your glaze.  Dollop blobs of glaze onto warm cinnamon rolls and spread around.

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