Best Ever Cinnamon Rolls


Okay, so this is officially the longest post I think I've ever done. It's taken a few days for this one and I've been thinking of what I'd put in these Cinnamon Rolls for a long time . I've been wanting to create my own cinnamon roll recipe for months and yesterday I finally decided it was time. So, let me explain a few things. The first batch I made was delicious but I knew it could be just a bit better. It was flavorful, tender, moist, fluffy. Basically it had nearly everything I could ever ask for from a cinnamon roll, except they just weren't big and grand enough. So today I woke up bright and early and made a second batch, and in my opinion, perfected them. Words nearly can't describe the goodness of these cinnamon rolls. I have never sunk my teeth into a cinnamon roll so good. I'm sorry, I know that sounds SO bragish but it is true. This is what I work for. These are why I love my job. I get to wake up and create something delicious, then slowly savor every last little bite of it and then share it with everyone so you can try it too. 
Following I've posted both recipes, the first batch and the second batch. The ones you're going to want to try are Best Ever Cinnamon Rolls but maybe down the road you will want a smaller version and you could try the Second Best Ever Cinnamon Rolls. Hopefully soon I will be posting those in portable cupcake form because I tested and they fit perfectly in cupcake liners. Just to let you know, the majority of the pictures are from batch 1 (2nd Best) and the birds eye view shots of the cinnamon rolls are batch 2 (Best Ever). The 1st batch made a prettier roll I thought, just not quite as amazing as the 2nd batch. I hope you love these melt in your mouth Cinnamon Rolls as much as I do. Be sure to try a fresh one warm out of the oven (rather than letting it cool for hours). Enjoy!
Oh and about all the "secret ingredients" don't leave any of them out. They all work together, one ingredient complimenting the other. The cocoa isn't noticeable it just excites the flavor of these rolls. The cornstarch helps give them amazing texture. The use of two oils, butter and vegetable oil, creates a fluffy roll while giving them that rich buttery flavor. The vanilla extract, I think every cinnamon roll recipe needs it =). The nutmeg, aren't cinnamon and nutmeg just made to go together? The combo of yeast and baking powder, a friend gave me a cinnamon roll recipe once that did this and I thought it was genius, so I adapted that method. The heavy cream in the icing, its where the creamy and fluffy comes in to the icing. This may seem like a random recipe but it all comes together wonderfully to create these...


Best Ever Cinnamon Rolls
Yields 12 large rolls

Ingredients:
2/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter, cold and diced into cubes
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
3 3/4 cups bread flour, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup butter, melted

1 recipe Cream Cheese Icing, recipe follows

Directions:
In a medium saucepan combine whole milk and 1/4 cup diced butter. Heat mixture over medium heat until butter melts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in buttermilk and vegetable oil (this should bring mixture down to 105-110 degrees, if not allow mixture to cool to 105-110 degrees). Pour milk mixture into the bowl of an electric stand mixer and using whisk attachment, stir in yeast. Allow mixture to rest 5 minutes, then add 1/2 cup granulated sugar, salt, vanilla, egg and egg yolk. Stir mixture until blended. Switch mixer to a hook attachment, then add 3 1/2 cups of the bread flour and knead mixture on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes (dough will be sticky). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. 
In a small mixing bowl, using a fork, whisk together 3/4 cup light-brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder and nutmeg, set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup bread flour, cornstarch and baking powder. Pour flour mixture over risen dough and return to stand mixer and knead mixture, using the hook attachment, until smooth and elastic (resist the urge to add more flour, dough should be slightly sticky). Roll dough out on a  lightly floured surface to a 16 x 12 inch rectangle. Using the back of a spoon, spread 1/3 cup melted butter evenly over dough. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over melted butter, coming within a 1/2 inch of all edges, and spread into an even layer. Starting on the 16 inch side, roll dough up snugly to opposite end. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces (its easiest to cut in half, then cut halves into halves, then cut those halves into thirds). Arrange rolls in a buttered 13 x 9 inch baking dish, then cover dish with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size about 1 hour. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (you can do this during the last 10 minutes of rising). Bake rolls in preheated oven for 23 - 26 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool 5 - 10 minutes then cut rolls and spread generously with Cream Cheese Icing. Serve warm. Store in an airtight container and rewarm in microwave if desired.

Cream Cheese Icing

6 oz. 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese (aka Nuefchatel Cheese, regular Cream Cheese works too)
6 Tbsp butter, softened
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp heavy cream or sour cream 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip together cream cheese and butter until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add in heavy cream, vanilla extract and powdered sugar and whip mixture until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. 

 Yes, I will have one tea cup full of frosting please =)...



2nd Best Cinnamon Rolls
Yields 12 rolls 

Ingredients:
1/2 cup whole milk
3 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter, melted

1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Directions:
Add milk and 3 Tbsp butter to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter has melted (if milk begins to bubble remove from heat and stir until butter melts). Remove from heat and stir in buttermilk and vegetable oil. Pour milk mixture into an electric stand mixer and using whisk attachment, whisk mixture until cooled to 105-110 degrees. Stir in yeast and allow to rest 5 minutes. Whisk in granulated sugar, salt, egg and vanilla. Add 2 1/4 cups bread flour to mixture and using a hook attachment, knead mixture until it's smooth and elastic (dough will be sticky). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rest until doubled in size about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. 
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together light-brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder and nutmeg, set aside. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup bread flour, 1 Tbsp cornstarch and baking powder. Pour flour mixture over risen dough and return to electric stand mixer, then using dough hook, knead mixture until smooth and elastic. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface, to a 16 x 12 inch rectangle. Using the back of a spoon, evenly spread 1/4 cup melted butter over dough, then sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over melted butter and spread into an even layer. Starting on the 16 inch side, roll dough snugly to opposite end. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces and arrange rolls in a buttered 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Cover dish with plastic wrap and allow rolls to rise until doubled in size about 1 hour. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls in preheated oven for 20-23 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and allow rolls to cool about 5-10 minutes then spread Cream Cheese Icing over Cinnamon Rolls. Serve warm. 

Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients:
4 oz 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese (regular would work too)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 Tbsp heavy cream (could be substituted with half and half)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip together cream cheese and butter until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add in heavy cream, vanilla extract and powdered sugar and whip mixture until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. 

Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

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