I first made this recipe when we organised a Macmillan Coffee Morning and they went down a treat with the office team. I found the original recipe here and I think I can confirm that they really ARE the best cinnamon buns ever!
For the cinnamon roll dough:
240ml warm milk
115g + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
85g melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
For the cinnamon sugar filling:
220g brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
85g butter, softened
For the cream cheese frosting:
115g cream cheese 200g icing sugar
25g butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Warm the milk (it should be warm but not hot to the touch.) Place milk into the bowl of your standing mixer, then add 1 tbsp sugar and yeast to the warm milk. Stir and let it sit (proof) for five minutes or until it becomes foamy.
2. Add the sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla to the mixture in the bowl of your standing mixer. Use a dough hook to stir until combined
3. Add the flour, salt and cinnamon and stir the dough hook, starting on low and increasing to high.
4. Knead dough in the standing mixer until a large ball is formed. The dough should be smooth and only slightly tacky to the touch. If the dough seems too sticky and is not forming a ball, add more flour 1 tbsp at a time until a smooth ball is formed.
5. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead with your hands until it is smooth and elastic (about 3-5 minutes). Form it into a ball.
6. Grease a large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover the bowl with a warm, damp towel and put the bowl in a warm place to rise. Let the dough rise in a warm place about 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size.
7. While the dough is rising, make the filing. In a small bowl, combine butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until mixture is homogenous (uniform throughout). Set aside. (Alternately, you can combine the cinnamon and sugar. Then melt the butter and brush it on the rolled dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on the butter-brushed dough.)
8. Sprinkle a large work surface with flour. Gently press the gas out of the dough and form it into a rectangle. Roll the dough into a 24x12” rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.
9. Spread the filling all over the dough using greased hands or a greased spatula. This process can seem difficult but it gets easier as you spread it. (Alternately: if you only combined the cinnamon and sugar, then melt the butter and use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter all over the dough. Then sprinkle the dough with cinnamon sugar and pat it down gently to insure it sticks).
10. Roll up dough cut into 12 equal sized rolls (feel free to measure and cut each roll to be 2” long). Line a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with parchment paper and lightly grease. Then place rolls in 4 rows of three, evenly spaced. **If, like me, you want to prep these the night before and bake them fresh in the morning, this is where you stop. Cover them in clingfilm and pop in the fridge overnight. In the morning, get them out of the fridge an hour before you want to bake them to allow them to come to room temperature.**
11.Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Once rolls are doubled in size, bake them in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. They will rise more in the oven.
12. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt. **This can also be prepped the night before and kept in the fridge overnight. Again, remember to get it out of the fridge in order for it to come back to room temperature.**
13. Once the cinnamon rolls have been removed from the oven, spread the cream cheese frosting on them while they are still warm. Let cool and serve warm.
Not exactly quick or easy but definitely worth all the effort, especially at the moment when we all have a lot more time on our hands!