I can remember being a toddler and specifically asking my mom to pour out some flour on the kitchen table and get me a cup of water [please]. I would mix the two ingredients together, inevitably making a mess, in awe of how they formed this awesome, squishy, sticky, pile of mush that was wayyy cooler than Play-Doh to me because I had made it. (Don’t get me wrong, I also loved Play-Doh and was the proud owner of the Play-Doh Barber Shop set, complete with plastic shears to style the multi-color hair being squeezed out of the molds.) Fast forward a couple years and I can distinctly recall the smell of my Dad’s kitchen on a Saturday morning when he was making his unbelievable homemade Banana Bread. Moments like these have directly impacted my love for baking; specifically, the curiosity that was fostered with my various culinary experiments and the nostalgia that was imprinted into these memories.
Recently, decades after my experiments with the awesome, squishy, sticky piles of mush, I decided to try my hand at making homemade cinnamon buns. At the time, and really still to this day, my experience with homemade yeast based dough was/is rather limited. I searched for a recipe that looked doable and gave it a try. Topped with a homemade cream cheese frosting, these little beauties have become a breakfast favorite in our household and one of my go-tos to make for breakfast/brunch or give as a host/hostess gift (more about those in a future post).
I started with a basic recipe, and over the past 10+ times making them I have discovered little tweaks that work best for me and my success in the kitchen. I have provided the original recipe link below, along with the link to the cream cheese frosting recipe I like to use. Under the links, I will provide some insight, tips, and tricks on ways to elevate the original recipes.
- Time frame: be sure to give yourself 2 full hours at least, especially when starting out. If you are unfamiliar with working with dough you may be a little more cautious. That will fade over time once confidence with the recipe is gained!
- Baking dish: I like to use a my circular 8 inch ceramic pie dish instead of what is suggested in the recipe. I can usually yield 7-8 [rather large] cinnamon rolls.
- Baking tip: About 10 minutes before the rolls are ready to come out of the oven I cover them with a loosely fitting piece of aluminum foil to avoid the tops getting too crispy.
- Pro-tip #1: I prefer to use Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast
- Frosting storage: I typically have about 1.5 cups leftover and will store it in an air tight container to use for an upcoming recipe.
- Cooling: Once the rolls are ready to come out of the oven, I let them stand in the baking dish for about 5 minutes, then I use a spoon to “scoop” them out and transfer to a cooling rack. Immediately after I put them on the cooling rack I throw a piece of parchment paper down underneath and scoop a generous large tablespoon of frosting right on to the top of the cinnamon roll. After it sits for about a minute, I go back in to spread it around and down the sides a bit.
- Re-heating: We typically throw these on one of our cake stands that has a glass done lid (not air tight) and are able to enjoy them for about a week or so after the initial bake date. We pop them in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds to warm them up for breakfast through out the week.
- Have confidence: I had no idea what I was doing the first time I made these. Or the second. Or, probably the third time. The beautiful thing is that baking is a science. As long as you follow the recipe, you will be just fine!