I don’t really like dessert. Not into cake or cookies. Could definitely pass on ice cream. Would never eat candy. So people always ask me what I eat when I want something sweet. There is really only one sweet thing that I like… cinnamon rolls. I am obsessed with them, and have tried about a million different recipes. Although I am usually partial to cinnamon rolls made with Bisquick, since they are what I grew up eating, (and they are the easiest and fastest), I have finally perfected my recipe for special cinnamon rolls. This is the recipe that I used for Avery’s Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes, or “Happy Birthday To Avery Cake”, as she calls is. And since I have gotten a ton of requests for the recipe, I am sharing it here. It looks like a lot, but it really is easy. Important: do not pay attention to all of the butter you are adding!! Also, I apologize in advance for my non-exact instructions.
Ingredients for the dough:
¼ cup water, room temperature
1 cup milk
½ cup butter (1 stick)
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sugar
4 ½ cup unbleached white flour
1 tbsp vital wheat gluten (you can find this at Whole Foods or online)
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
Slowly melt the butter in a large pot – like the one you boil pasta in. (You could melt it in a small pot, then transfer it to a bowl to add the other ingredients, but I don’t like washing dishes, so I try to do it all in one pot.) Add the water and the milk and allow the liquid to cool until it is about room temperature. While it is cooling,
mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients, plus the dry mixture, to the large pot and stir. You should be left with a goopy ball of dough. At this point, you should probably knead the dough, at least a few times. I don’t really like to, so I don’t, and it still comes out just fine. Yay for cutting corners! Put the top on the pot and set it on the counter or in another warm spot in your house to rise for a few hours. (more than one hour, less than all day)
After you dough has doubled in size, take half out of the pot, adding more flour so it doesn’t stick to your hands, and set it on a floured surface to rest for a few minutes.
While your dough is resting, prepare your filling.
Ingredients for the Filling:
1 cup brown sugar
4 TBS ground cinnamon
½ cup butter (1 stick), melted
In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle. I roll it out until it is the size of my cutting board, and is about ¼ inch thick. You could roll all of the dough at once, it is just a bigger rectangle and a little harder to handle.
Spread half of the melted butter onto your dough.
Sprinkle with half of your brown sugar / cinnamon mixture. Note to self: if you do this in front of an open window on a breezy day, you will end up with cinnamon all over.
Roll the dough, lengthwise, into a long log.
Cut off the ends. Repeat with the other half of dough.
At this point, decide if you are making cinnamon roll cupcakes, or regular cinnamon rolls.
For cinnamon roll cupcakes: Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Although the paper liners are much cuter, I have found that the foil liners do a much better job of holding in all of the goopy goodness of the cinnamon rolls. Cut the dough into pieces about 1 or 1 ½ inches long, and place each one into a cupcake liner. Be careful not to make the rolls too big, because they really grow. Cover cupcake pan and let rise for at least an hour. Or, if you want cinnamon rolls first thing in the morning like we do, let them rest in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready to cook the cinnamon roll cupcakes, preheat the oven to 335 degrees. Bake cinnamon roll cupcakes for about 12-14 minutes, being careful not to overcook them. They should be cooked through, and very lightly browned on the top.
For regular cinnamon rolls: Spray a large glass pan with cooking spray. Cut the dough into equal pieces and place them in the greased pan, leaving plenty of space around them to expand. (I did not leave nearly enough space!) Cover pan and let rise for at least an hour. Or, the same as the cinnamon roll cupcakes, you can let them rest in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, preheat the oven to 335 degrees. Bake approximately 20 minutes, being careful not to overcook them. They should be cooked through, and very lightly browned on the top.
Ingredients for the Frosting:
4 ounce cream cheese (1/2 of a regular block)
½ cup butter (1/2 stick)
1 ½ cup powdered sugar (more or less)
1 tsp vanilla
To prepare the frosting, mix the cream cheese and the butter until combined well. Add the powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency. Finally, add the vanilla and mix. Spread frosting over the fresh cinnamon rolls and then prepare to eat about 5 cinnamon rolls in one sitting.
I hope this all makes sense. Please let me know if you try them!