The Ultimate Cinnamon Roll

cinnamon rollsThe Ultimate Cinnamon Roll is a combination of recipes from two sources: dough from Sugar & Spice (who adapted hers from The Pioneer Woman) and frosting from AllRecipes’s Clone of a Cinnabon.

I have used this recipe three times so far during our Peace Corps service in Jamaica:

  • Christmas with our host family last year
  • By request of our host sister, at her wedding reception
  • Thanksgiving potluck with West-side volunteers

Makes 3 – 4 pie tins of full-size of rolls, with 7 – 8 rolls per tin OR 1-2 large casserole dishes with 25+ mini rolls per dish.

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast (1 tblspoon)
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt

1 1/2 cups melted butter
1/8 cup ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix milk, vegetable oil, and 1/2 cup of sugar in a pan. Scald the milk mixture (heat until just before the boiling point, stirring gently.) Remove from heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl, and let it cool 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but not hot, sprinkle in yeast. Let this sit for a minute so the yeast starts to “foam.” Then add 4 cups of flour. Stir mixture together (it will be more wet than firm). Cover with syran wrap or a damp towel and let rise for at least an hour.

doughNext, combine 1/2 cup flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dry mixture to the dough and work it in evenly. (From here, you can cover and refrigerate the dough to use later. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to rise out of the pan, punch it down.) Or you can just go ahead and make the rolls.

Sprinkle the dough and your countertop generously with flour and roll the dough into a thin rectangular shape. For the mini rolls, we did this in batches, making long rectangles (maybe 20 inches by 8 inches and very thin). Brush melted butter on top. It should make a visible layer of butter but not a puddle. Mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle generously over the butter. For best results, it should be dense enough that it’s difficult to see the dough underneath.

rolling cinnamon rollsStarting with the wide end, roll the dough up tightly towards you in a neat line. Spread a thin layer of melted butter in each pan/dish. (You can also put parchment paper at the bottom of your dish first.) With a sharp knife, begin cutting the dough into slices (about 1 inch), and lay them in the pans with just a bit of space in between to expand a little. Drizzle with any remaining butter and cinnamon sugar. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.

unbaked mini cinnamon rolls

Bake at 375 degrees for 13 – 17 minutes, or until golden.

(You can also prep these the night before and instead of baking, put them straight  into the fridge and let them rise slowly overnight. Then, in the morning let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking. We also had decent success baking the rolls right away, then refrigerating, and reheating them the next day in the oven before adding the frosting and serving.)

While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a medium bowl. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Four big trays prepped for the Jamaican wedding

Four big trays prepped for the Jamaican wedding

5 thoughts on “The Ultimate Cinnamon Roll

  1. Reblogged this on Simply Intentional and commented:
    Cinnamon rolls are a holiday tradition in my family. So when we spent our first Christmas in Jamaica with our host family last year, I did some research online and came up with these bite-sized wonders. Our host family liked them so much that several months later, when our host sister was planning her wedding, we got the request to make a few more batches for the dessert table at her reception.
    I posted this recipe to the Peace Corps Jamaica Cookshop blog, which was created by Jedd and our fellow volunteer, Linnae, as a place where volunteers could share their best recipes that a) use only ingredients that can be found on island and b) are friendly to the PC Volunteers’ budget. It has been a great way to build community among volunteers, as we share ideas and try new things. It’s also a good opportunity for cross-cultural exchange when people back in the States can get a taste of our daily life by seeing what we’re making and even trying it out at home.

  2. Pingback: The Ultimate Cinnamon Roll | the PCJ -:- Cook Shop | Simply Intentional

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