In the words of the great Barry White, “sweetness is my weakness” – and we all know he was really talking about cinnamon rolls. Specifically the ones my mom makes and my grandma made.
These rolls use a yeast dough that rises, is rolled out and slathered with butter and cinnamon sugar, then cut into rolls and placed in pans for a second rise. They soak in caramel sauce on the bottom, and are smeared with vanilla icing on top. So yeah, there’s some sweetness here. And these will be your weakness. Barry W was onto something.
- For the rolls:
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter + 4 tbs. butter, divided
- 2 packages yeast
- 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 7 3/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tbs. cinnamon
- For the caramel:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- For the frosting:
- 2 tbs. butter, melted
- 2 tbs. milk
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar
- Scald the milk in a medium saucepan. (This means heating the milk over medium-high heat until small bubbles form around the edges. Do not boil the milk.) As soon as the milk is scalded, remove it from the heat. Add the salt, sugar, and one stick of butter. Stir them together until the butter melts and set aside to cool. When the mixture is warm (not hot), add the packages of yeast and stir. Set the mixture aside for the yeast to proof, about five minutes.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks. Stir these into the milk mixture, then transfer everything to a large mixing bowl. Stir in seven cups of the flour, one cup at a time. Knead in the remaining flour until the dough is no longer sticky. You may need slightly less than the remaining 3/4 cup. Knead for about five minutes. Place the dough in a large greased mixing bowl, and then set in a warm place to rise for an hour.
- About ten minutes before the dough is finished rising, make the caramel. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup until everything is dissolved. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into the bottom of four 8-inch round cake pans. Tip the pans so that the caramel coats the bottom. Set the pans aside.
- Roll out the dough into 10-inch by 24-inch rectangle. Melt the 4 tbs. of butter, then brush the dough with all the butter. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together, then sprinkle this all over the dough, going to the edges. Roll the dough like a jelly roll, starting with the longest side and rolling down.
- Cut the dough into rounds 1 1/2 inches wide. Place them in the prepared pans, leaving a little bit of space between the rolls. You can fit seven or eight rolls in each pan. Set the rolls in a warm place to rise for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes. Let them sit in the pans for three minutes, then turn them out onto racks to finish cooling.
- While the rolls cool, make the frosting. Mix together the melted butter, milk, and vanilla. Beat in enough powdered sugar to get the frosting to a spreadable consistency.
- When the rolls are cool, turn them caremel-side down, and then frost the tops. You can place them back in the pans for transporting (as I did), or serve them on a plate.
- Notes: Be sure to use light metal pans for baking these. I find that the disposable aluminum pans at the grocery store work best. The caramel will stick to darker pans. Also, these rolls freeze extremely well.