Can you believe that Christmas is only 4 days away?! Because I certainly can’t! I feel like Christmas always came sooooo slowly when I was younger, but now that I am an adult, time just flies by. This year has been a little different too in that Alex has been away at interviews for a lot of the month so far, which limits the days in which we can do holiday things together. We are heading up north though this weekend for an anniversary trip, and I can’t wait to relax in a winter wonderland together!
On my to-do list today includes planning our Christmas menu, and one of the items on that list are these Classic Cinnamon Rolls for our Christmas morning. Now traditionally my family has always made monkey bread for Christmas morning, but seeing as I recipe tested a large amount of monkey bread just last week, I was a little monkey-breaded-out. (Never thought I would say that! But it’s the truth!)
Now I LOVE cinnamon rolls. There is nothing better than the smell of cinnamon-butter-dough baking in the oven, and there is nothing more satisfying than unwinding a cinnamon roll as you eat it, only to come to the gooey-delicious center. The best part about these rolls are that they can be made the day before, and they will complete their second rise overnight in the refrigerator. That means come Christmas morning (or whatever special morning you wish to use this recipe for) all you have to do is allow the rolls to warm slightly on the counter, then pop them in the oven. Topped with a smooth, creamy glaze, these rolls will certainly be the highlight of your breakfast/brunch! Happy holidays, friends! :)
Classic Cinnamon Rolls
Bake time:Serves: 12
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- In a large pyrex, warm the milk to 105-110F. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and the active dry yeast. Let set for 10 minutes. The yeast should react with the sugar to create foam and expand in volume. If you don't see any foam, this means that the yeast is dead, and you will need to start over with a new package of yeast.
- Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add 1/4 cup sugar, eggs, and salt. Mix until combined.
- Change to a dough hook. Add the flour, one cup at a time. Knead for 5-7 minutes on medium speed until smooth/elastic, and no longer sticks to your finger if touched. If needed, add up to 1/2 cup of flour, 1/4 cup at a time.
- Add 3 Tablespoons butter, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and knead for another minute until incorporated.
- Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover with a damp towel, and place in a warm spot for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
- In the meantime, make the filling. Combine 6 Tablespoons butter, the brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir until well combined.
- Punch down the dough. Transfer to a floured surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 12"x18" rectangle with 1/3" thickness.
- Evenly spread the filling on the dough, making sure to cover to the edge.
- To roll the dough, begin by pinching the edges of the long side. Tightly roll the dough. Cut into 12 equal rolls.
- Transfer to a greased 9"x13" pan. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 1 hour.*
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool.
- Make the icing. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese, 3 Tablespoons butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, and beat for 2-3 minutes.
- Ice the cinnamon rolls.
Make ahead - After you transfer the cinnamon rolls to your greased baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to complete its second rise overnight. The next morning, allow the cinnamon rolls to rest on the countertop at room temperature for 45 minutes - 1 hour before baking.