Cinnamon rolls hold a near and dear place in my heart. Every Christmas Eve, my mom would mix up a huge batch and have them ready, waiting in the fridge for Christmas morning. In the wee early hours of Christmas morning, my dad would get up and put the rolls in the oven. Waking up to the smell of cinnamon, butter and sugar on Christmas morning was almost better than the presents.
Now that I’m adult (I think? Still not sure I passed the prerequisites) I can whip up a batch of those fond memories whenever I feel like it, rather than waiting all year for Christmas morning. Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite brunches and I like to enjoy them every once in a while, just because. I whipped up this batch over the weekend for Jesse and I (Mr. Teeps snuck a few bites too). I’ve taken my mom’s recipe, shrunk it down so that I don’t enter a sucrose comatose from eating 12 cinnamon rolls, changed a few ingredients to suite my preferences, and voilá cinnamon rolls.
Cinnamon Rolls with Almond Glaze
What you’ll need:
for the dough
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2-3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp + 1/8 teaspoon active dry yeast
for the filling
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
Because I’m lazy, I use my bread machine on the dough setting to make the dough. I’ve found that it works better than hand mixing and letting the dough rise on the counter. Maybe something with the dry Colorado air, it just doesn’t get warm/humid enough on its own to activate the yeast properly. But since you might be in a better climate for activating yeast on the counter, I’ll provide both directions.
For the bread machine method, pour the melted butter, sugar and milk into the bottom. In a small bowl, whisk your eggs together and then add to the bread machine. Making sure to cover all the wet ingredients, pour both flours into the bread machine. Sprinkle salt on top of flour. Make a little “well” in the top of the flour with your finger and add the yeast there. Make sure the yeast does not touch the liquid ingredients. Turn bread machine on to the dough cycle. Easy.
For the by-hand method, heat your unsweetened almond milk, sugar and salt in a small saucepan until they are just warm (roughly 120°F). In a large bowl, combine both flours and yeast. When milk mixture is warm, add to flour mixture as well as the eggs. If you’re feeling strong, you can hand mix the dough for 3 to 5 minutes. If not, use an electric hand mixer for 3 minutes. Turn out onto a floured counter and knead the dough for about 5 minutes. The dough should be soft, smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a bowl, cover and let rise until the dough is about double in size. Depending on how warm your house is, this could take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Just keep an eye on the dough.
Time for the filling. For both the bread machine and by-hand methods, roll out the dough into a rectangle on a floured surface (roughly 10×8″ or about 1/4″ thick). Brush your melted butter across the dough. Be generous, but save a tiny bit for sealing up the ends when rolled. In a small dish, whisk together your brown sugar and cinnamon until they are evenly distributed. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the butter. Roll up your rectangle starting on the short side (the 8″ side). Seal the end seam by pinching the dough slightly and coating with the remaining butter.
Using unflavored floss (yes, floss like the stuff you use on your teeth) cut your rolls from the spiral. To do this, mark off about 6 equal lines across the dough (this amount may very by how big your rectangle was or how big/small you want your cinnamon rolls to be) with a knife and then loop the floss around the dough spiral, cross the ends and pull until you cut through the dough. Repeat until all your rolls are cut. Place rolls into a greased pan. Any metal pan will do (cake, loaf, etc) but I recommend you use a metal plan versus a glass one.
If you are baking the rolls right away, let them rise for an additional 30 minutes in the pan. If you are making them ahead (I recommend only making them so early as the night before), cover with plastic and put them in the fridge.
For immediate baking, after they have risen for that additional 30 minutes, bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes. You may want to cover with tin foil for the last 10 minutes to prevent excessive browning. After 20-25 minutes, use a knife or a toothpick to check the bottom of the rolls to make sure they are no longer doughy.
While the rolls are baking, it’s time to make your almond glaze! In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, unsweetened almond milk and almond extract until you have a smooth consistency. Drizzle on top of the cinnamon rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.
If you are baking your rolls the next morning, take the rolls out of the fridge and let them warm up on the counter for at least 30 minutes before baking (an hour is really better, but sometime it’s hard to wait!) After the rolls have returned to room temperature, follow the same baking directions as above.
I recommend eating a hot, gooey roll right away with a cup of coffee. Oh and calling your parents to tell them you love them. Thanks for baking with me!