The Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever

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To help with the stress of midterms, I made cinnamon rolls for my friends last night and they devoured them. These were seriously the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had; soft, chewy, creamy, they’re perfect for a late-night indulgence or a sweet morning treat. 

Cinnamon Swirl Rolls: 

Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen

Dough: 

1 cup milk 

3 Tbsp. butter

3 1/2 cups (probably around 1/4-1/2 cup more) all-purpose flour; starting with just 1 cup 

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 envelop dry-active yeast 

1 teaspoon salt

nonstick cooking spray 

Filling: 

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

pinch of salt 

Frosting: 

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (heaping) 

For dough: Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or hand mix, like I did. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add additional 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. (You may also use a KitchenAid’s dough hook for this process.) Form into ball.

Lightly grease a large bowl with butter. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about an hour.

For filling: Mix brown sugar, cinnamon and butter together in medium bowl until the mixture has a paste-like consistency. 

Press down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15×11-inch rectangle (mine was more like 12×9-inch rectangle . Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon mixture evenly over butter. Starting at the longer side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. Cut the dough crosswise with thin sharp knife (a good serrated worked well here) into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide) (mine made about 10, but they were bigger, and more airy—you can guesstimate on this one). 

Spray a standard baking tray with a one-inch lip with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer rolls to baking sheet, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 20 to 25 minutes, though the recipe recommended 45 minutes. 

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 15 minutes, but check every 5 to make sure they’re cooking evenly. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. 

For frosting: Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls while the rolls are still hot. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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