It is very late on Sunday night as I type this. I am sitting on the couch half watching a bad movie and staring at my beautiful Christmas tree. I love my tree this year. I finally did something that I have been wanting to do for a few years now. I bought two Christmas trees. One is for the kids and is full of the sweet little ornaments they have made and snowmen and trains. The other is my tree. It is really, really big. Like 8 feet tall big. It is full of white lights and sliver and baby blue ornaments. The best part is the glitter. I love glitter. I love how it sparkles and shines while being illuminated by Christmas lights. I need to take a picture of it to show you. I really think that it has helped get me in the mood for the holidays.
The funny thing about cinnamon rolls is that I only make them this time of year. I do not know why that is, because they are my family’s favorite breakfast treat. They are not hard to make, but I guess I save them for the specialness that this time of year has to offer. I make two batches at a time and freeze some of the unbaked rolls for another time. If you are going to do this, take the cinnamon rolls out of the freezer the day before you want to bake them off. Take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature and let them rise for about an hour before you bake them.
My friend Maggie gave me this recipe, and I have no idea where she got it from. But I am forever grateful that she gave it to me because these are my idea of the perfect cinnamon rolls. Rich egg dough, sweet and spicy filling and lots of cream cheese frosting.
For the dough:
1 package yeast
1 cup warm milk (I microwave it for 45 seconds. It needs to be warm, but not hot.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup room temperature butter
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour (you may add up to 5 cups)
For the filling:
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup room temperature butter
1 Tablespoon flour
For the icing:
8 Tablespoon room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
Let the yeast dissolve in the warm milk. Let sit for about 5 minutes. It will start to foam.
Mix together the butter, sugar, salt, and eggs in the bowl of a mixer. You could also do this by hand or in a bread machine. Add the yeast and milk mixture.
Slowly add in the flour. I start with 2 cups and then gradually add the rest in. This a moist dough, but you do not want it to be sticky. Add just enough flour until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the bowl.
You will have a rich, yellow, egg dough.
Put the dough in a large bowl coated with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let double in size. 1 to 2 hours.
Make the filling. Put all of the ingredients in a bowl. Work with a fork until the mixture comes together and forms a thick paste.
Roll out the dough into a rectangle shape measuring about 21 inches by 16 inches. Spread the filling on top.
Roll the dough up.
Cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch pieces and put in a greased pan.
Cover the cinnamon rolls with a towel or plastic wrap and let them rise again for 1 hour.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool before you frost them.
Make the icing by creaming together the butter and cream cheese. Add the salt and slowly add the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla. Spread the cream cheese frosting on top of the cinnamon rolls. I keep my frosting on the side. This recipe makes quite a few cinnamon rolls, so I like to not frost them but frost them as we eat them. They will last for a few days and I put them in the microwave for 20 seconds to just soften them and then (I actually like them better without the frosting) frost them.