Growing up, these soft homemade classic Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Icing were part of delightfully decadent Sunday morning ( or holiday ) breakfasts. Classic cinnamon rolls are easy to make and filled with rich flavors!! No matter if you grew up calling these amazing comfort food rolls 'cinnamon buns' or 'cinnamon scrolls' they're always a treat to eat!
4 ½cupsall-purpose flour(divided - 4 cups and ½ cup portions - spooned and leveled - bread flour can also be used)
2 ¼tspactive dry yeast(1 packet)
½cupsugar(use an additional 1 Tbsp sugar if activating yeast in a stand mixer or bowl vs food processor)
1cupmilk(warm milk to 105 degrees F (40 degrees C), about 1 minute in the microwave - can also use half & half)
2largeeggs(at room temperature)
6Tbspbutter(salted, melted and cooled)
Cinnamon Roll Filling
6Tbspbutter(salted, melted and cooled)
4Tbspbutter(salted, melted and cooled)
2tspvanilla extract(I use the clear vanilla for this icing)
Cream Cheese Icing
4ozcream cheese(half of an 8 oz package)
¼cupbutter(½ stick - salted, softened at room temperature)
1 ½Tbspheavy cream(or use half & half or whole milk)
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Food Processor Instructions
In a food processor, combine ingredients (flour, yeast, sugar, warmed milk, eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon) pulsing until the flour is incorporated to the wet ingredients. (Turn out onto a floured working surface and continue with cinnamon rolls instructions)
Stand Mixer Instructions
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine warmed milk, yeast and 1 Tbsp of sugar (additional portion to ingredients above) to activate the yeast. Allow the yeast to proof until frothy in appearance, about 5 minutes.
Add the sugar (½ c portion), eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract and combine using your dough hook attachment.
Add the flour (4 c portion), salt and cinnamon and stir using the dough hook attachment, on low speed, until combined.
Continue on low speed (setting 2), kneading the cinnamon roll dough, for 3 minutes. The dough should begin to cling to the dough hook in a ball, pulling away from the sides of the bowl. *If your dough is too sticky, add 1 Tbsp portions of additional flour at a time and continue kneading on low speed. (Turn out onto a floured working surface and continue with cinnamon rolls instructions)
Hand Mixing Instructions
Incorporate ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Combine the warmed milk, yeast and 1 Tbsp of sugar and allow the yeast to activate until frothy in appearance, about 5 minutes.
Add the sugar (½ c portion), eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract and stir to combine.
Add the salt and cinnamon, and the first 2 cups (of the 4 c) of flour. Stir until the flour is incorporated to the wet ingredients. You can add the next 2 cups flour in the bowl (this is hard to mix!) or turn out your dough into the remaining 2 - 2 ½ cup portion of flour on your working surface (this is my preferred method).
Work the flour into the dough until you have a somewhat tacky dough that is easy to handle. (Continue with cinnamon rolls instructions)
Cinnamon Rolls Instructions
Knead your cinnamon roll dough on a lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes (dough that was started in a stand mixer does not need to be kneaded as long, about 3-5 minutes). Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, formed into a ball.
Place kneaded dough into a well greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place to rise. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. *If your house is not warm, or you are having difficulty getting the dough to rise, you can place your bowl with the dough in the oven with a pan of hot water below it. Turning on the oven light also helps the rising process.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch the center of the risen dough down and turn out to a lightly floured working surface. Roll the dough out into a (roughly) rectangular shape, approximately 12 x 24 inches in size and ¼ inch in thickness. *Your dough edges can be trimmed, if desired, to a more rectangular shape before rolling up the dough.
Spread melted butter (from the cinnamon roll filling) on the rolled out dough, leaving approximately a 1 inch border on the 24 inch long end (or side) to seal up the rolled cinnamon roll dough. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon then sprinkle the mixture over the sheet of dough that was buttered.
Beginning on the opposite 24 inch long end, roll the dough up tightly and pinch the un-buttered end to seal up the roll. Using a sharp knife, or unflavored plain dental floss, cut into approximately 2 inch portions, or 12-15 cinnamon rolls.
Place cut cinnamon rolls into a buttered or non-stick cooking spray coated 9 x 13 baking dish (I place 8 of my rolls into my 9 x 13 and the remaining rolls into a smaller baking dish) and allow the rolls to double in size, about 45 minutes to an hour. *Or refrigerate overnight to bake in the morning. Allow refrigerated cinnamon rolls to come to room temperature before baking, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before frosting.
Vanilla Icing Instructions
In a small bowl, combine melted butter with confectioners sugar and clear vanilla until smooth and spreadable. More sugar, or a bit of warm water can be used to reach the desired icing consistency. Spread vanilla icing on slightly cooled cinnamon rolls and serve warm.
Cream Cheese Icing Instructions
In a small to medium sized bowl, beat together the cream cheese, softened butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, and heavy cream (or milk) until smooth and creamy. A pinch of salt can be added to the icing, if desired. Spread cream cheese icing on slightly cooled cinnamon rolls and serve warm.