Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

Rita Hofer's caramel cinnamon rolls, which took second place in 2013 at the Montana Winter Fair, have been a local legend since she started[ taking them to her son's basketball games. Now she sells them at the school concession stand, and fans wipe out her stock every time.]

Total Time:
3 hr 30 min
35 min
2 hr 30 min
25 min

24 rolls

  • For the dough:
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour,
  • plus more for dusting
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • For the caramel:
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • For the filling:
  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Warm the milk in a small saucepan until steaming. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Combine the milk, shortening, granulated sugar, salt and eggs in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. Add the yeast mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the flour to form a soft dough. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  • Meanwhile, make the caramel: Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil; cook until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the heavy cream; whisk until combined and slightly cooled. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet; spread the caramel on the baking sheet and let cool completely.

  • Make the filling: Mix the brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon in a bowl. Punch down the dough and roll out into a 12-by-24-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Spread the filling on the dough and roll up, starting at a long side. Cut into 1-inch pieces and arrange cut-side up on the caramel. Cover loosely and let sit at room temperature until puffed, about 1 hour.

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover the rolls and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. (Put a baking sheet on the lower oven rack to catch any drips.) Let cool slightly on the baking sheet, then invert onto a large cutting board or platter.

  • Photograph by Antonis Achilleos

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