The Best Cinnamon Rolls

Once you've tried "from-scratch" cinnamon rolls, you'll never go back! The secret to our rolls is the wet, buttery dough and double rising time. Once baked, they will be light and pillowy and full of buttery cinnamon goodness on the inside.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr 10 min (includes rising and freezing times )
  • Active: 1 hr 20 min
  • Yield: 12 servings 
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Ingredients

3/4 cup whole milk, warmed to 110 degrees F

One?1/4-ounce envelope active dry yeast (about 2?1/4?teaspoons)? 

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature? 

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt? 

2 1/4 cups bread flour

1/3 cup

3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder? 

2 3/4 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 cup confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Whisk together the whole milk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit 10 minutes to dissolve; you will see a few bubbles, but the mixture won't be foamy. Whisk together the granulated sugar, eggs and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt in a small bowl.
  2. Add the bread flour, whole-wheat flour, milk powder and beaten eggs to the yeast and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Fit the bowl in place on the stand mixer and fit the mixer with the dough hook. Mix on medium speed until the dough comes together but is still slightly tough, about 3 minutes. Increase the speed to high and add 10 tablespoons of the butter a tablespoon at a time (the dough will look broken after each addition, but it will eventually come together) and beat until the dough is smooth, elastic and very tacky but pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 12 minutes. (This may seem like a long time, but the texture of the bread improves with a long knead time.) Alternatively, knead the dough on a surface lightly dusted with bread flour, adding 1 tablespoon of butter at a time, until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. 
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until it has a buttery, yeasty smell and has doubled in volume, 30 to 45 minutes. (If your kitchen is warm, check it at 35 minutes. It should smell buttery and yeasty, and if it's doubled, it's done. If not, check again in 10 minutes.) 
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the dark brown sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl until no lumps of sugar remain. Smash in the remaining 12 tablespoons butter with a rubber spatula and stir until completely combined.  
  5. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a clean work surface and heavily dust with bread flour. Gently deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall back into the bowl, turning the bowl and repeating if needed. Place the dough on the paper. Roll the dough into a 12-by-15-inch rectangle, pushing the edges towards the center to make straight sides. Spread the brown sugar mixture over the dough in an even layer, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges. Starting from a long end and using the parchment to help you, tightly roll the dough into a log, pressing the sides occasionally to keep them flush. Transfer to a baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes to firm up the dough.  
  6. Butter the bottom and sides of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Cut the dough crosswise into 12 pieces and arrange them cut-side up in the pan in a uniform 3-by-4 grid. There will be about 1/4 inch between each roll and that's ok, the rolls will fill in the gaps as they proof and bake. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm, draft-free area, 40 to 50 minutes.   
  7. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.   
  8. Bake the cinnamon rolls until golden brown on top and baked all the way through, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for about 30 minutes before glazing.   
  9. Meanwhile, whisk the confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl until smooth and creamy, adding more cream if necessary to make a thick glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon rolls and serve warm.  

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)