These homemade cinnamon rolls are filled with cinnamon and sweet honey butter and topped with cream-cheese icing (not shown in our photo). Here’s how to make them.
We don’t know about you, but when we’re about to tuck into homemade cinnamon bread, Swedish cardamom buns, or cinnamon rolls, especially these irresistibly and ever so slightly unconventional ones made with honey butter and cream cheese frosting, we first slink off to change into baggy sweatpants whose waistband no longer has barely any elasticity whatsoever left. We consider it proper cinnamon rolls attire. We’re not certain whether that makes us realists and not romantics, and we don’t really care so long as we have these rolls. Kindly note that the unbaked rolls can be assembled and rolled and stashed in the fridge the night before, so all you have to do in the morning is pull the rolls from the fridge while the oven preheats and you sip coffee while you wake up.–Renee Schettler Rossi
For the dough
- 10 ounces warm milk [about 105°F (40°C)]
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 5 to 5 1/2 cups bread flour plus more as needed and for the work surface
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter melted, plus more for the baking sheet
- 3 large eggs
For the honey butter
- 1 cup honey
- 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
For the cinnamon sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the icing
- 5 ounces cream cheese softened
- 4 1/2 tablespoons (2 1/4 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 10 ounces confectioners sugar
- 2 ounces heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the dough
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, stir together by hand the warm milk, yeast, and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Add the flour, salt, butter, and eggs. Using the dough hook, mix until the dough is completely developed, 8 to 10 minutes. (By “completely developed” we mean that the dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl with no extra flour left at the bottom. It’s possible that you may need to add a little more flour if the dough seems sticky. The dough, when completely developed, should be tacky but not sticky.)
- Remove the dough hook and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm place and let stand until the dough has doubled in size.
Make the honey butter
- In a medium bowl, stir together the honey and the butter until completely combined.
Make the cinnamon sugar
- In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon until completely combined.
Assemble the rolls
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into a rectangle, roughly 18 inches by 24 inches and 1/2 inch thick. Liberally brush the dough with half the honey butter. Sprinkle with as much of the cinnamon sugar as you please.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and rub the parchment with butter. If making small rolls, beginning with the 24-inch side of the dough, roll it tightly from one side to the other, gently pulling or pressing the dough as needed to make as even a roll as possible. If making giant rolls, beginning with the 18-inch side of the dough, roll it tightly from one side to the other, gently pulling or pressing the dough as needed to make as even a roll as possible.
- Divide the long roll into individual rolls using a serrated knife and slicing the dough roll into individual rolls. Small rolls should be about 1 1/4-inches thick and giant rolls about 2-inches thick. Working with 1 roll at a time, carefully take the tail end of the piece of dough and gently pull and wrap it around the rest of the spiral dough, tucking it underneath. Place the roll on the baking sheet and press down slightly. Repeat with the rest of the rolls, fitting them sort of snugly. (You can cover and refrigerate the rolls overnight if that lets you hit the snooze button the next morning.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Cover the rolls with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and set it in a warm place. Let the rolls rise while the oven preheats.
- Bake the cinnamon rolls, rotating the pan once, until they’re a deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and lightly brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining honey butter.
Make the cream cheese icing
- Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a standing kitchen mixer, and mix on low speed until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar, cream, and vanilla and whip until smooth.
- When the rolls are completely cool, slather them with icing. Serve them as-is or, to rewarm, place them in the oven at 325°F (163°C) for 2 to 3 minutes.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These may possibly be the best cinnamon rolls I have ever eaten. How could something with all that butter and honey not be good? These were not only delicious, but much easier to make than first glances would suggest.
The process went just as written. I did need to add 10 minutes to the baking time. The resulting cinnamon roll was crisp on the outside (but not hard), and light and fluffy on the inside (but not doughy). I can see how they’d be a great holiday treat. They were truly amazing.
I have made a lot of cinnamon rolls, and I have to say, these were some of the best.
The dough comes together quickly and easily in a stand mixer. My dough took about 1 1/2 hours to double in size. It was very easy to roll out, even without having to be chilled first. I spread on the honey butter and then the cinnamon sugar. If I had to do it again, I might chill the roll for 30 minutes before cutting it, as the butter and cinnamon mixture does ooze quite a bit. The rolls rise and puff quite a bit, so make sure you don’t crowd them in your baking dish.
This makes a lot of good-sized rolls. They are best warm.
Originally published November 11, 2011