February 14, 2014

Easy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon Cheesecake Frosting

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Moral of the day: good yeast is key to having good cinnamon rolls.

Unless you want your cinnamon rolls to feel like rubbery hockey pucks, use.good.yeast.

Let us just say, between you and me, that my Dad has not been so impressed with my recent batches of cinnamon rolls.  Cinnamon rolls are kind of his thing.  He loves a bakery here in town that makes really good ones and he is the one who made the first batch of real yeasted cinnamon rolls here at our house.  He has a high standard and I, his lovely daughter, have been falling a bit short.  So, earlier this week, I decided I was going to make cinnamon rolls without whole wheat, without honey, without anything that would make them taste less than traditional bakery style.  I was going to rock Dad's socks off with these, I mean, they were going to blow him away.

They blew him away alright.

I couldn't have done worse, really guys, the cinnamon rolls were horrible.  (I'm laughing as I write this, they were so bad.)  I can safely say there was no way I could ever share the recipe with you.  I was somewhat amused with the whole situation - I mean, here I tried to make the biggest, sweetest, bestest cinnamon rolls -  and I got hockey pucks.  Rubbery hockey pucks!  Elizabeth ate the ones I stuffed with chocolate chips ... and covered with icing ... lots and lots of icing.  But she was the only one.

Note:  Need to get rid of a bad batch of cinnamon rolls?  Make a double batch of icing.  Seriously, it works wonders. 

So, I decided to turn to one of the most trustworthy bakers out there: Sally.

Sally, I thank you for helping me meet my Dad's standards. 

I think the other recipe would've been fine had I had good yeast (did I mention this already?  Use.good.yeast.)

*yes, Mary Frances, we've got this.*

Good.  I used Red Star active dry yeast the second time - they never let me down.  When I say use good yeast, I really mean use Red Star.

Anyways, it probably would've been fine, but these?  These rocked our socks off.  And blew us away.

These cinnamon rolls are everything a good cinnamon roll is supposed to be.  Thick, with a slightly crusty edge, that melts into soft and fluffy roll full of buttery cinnamon and sugar.  I think heaven is going to full of carbs.  I really do.
They are so easy to mix together.  I even did these in a regular Pyrex bowl!  And they only require one rise.  The dough was so soft and stretchy, it felt amazing to knead. 

And then we have frosting.  My Dad's favorite frosting is cream cheese frosting, so I decided to skip the powdered sugar and milk icing and go all our with cinnamon cheesecake frosting.

It is creamy and thick and compliments these lovely rolls beautifully.  And as overloaded with adjectives as that previous sentence was, these cinnamon rolls are overloaded with cinnamon.  They are called cinnamon rolls, you know.  I dialed it back for my family, who is not so into cinnamon (I can't help them) but feel free to adjust to your preference.  I like a lot of cinnamon, so if I were to make a batch for myself (which probably would the biggest exercise in self control ever) I would add more cinnamon to the filling and the frosting.  As it was, I really enjoyed the lacing of cinnamon throughout every fluffy, chewy bite.

Easy Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon Cheesecake Frosting
Recipe Source:  Rolls from Sally's Baking Addiction
Yield: 9 rolls

2 and 3/4 cupsall-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package Red Star active dry yeast (1 packet = 2 and 1/4 teaspoons)  (instant works, too)
1/2 cup  water
1/4 cup milk (make sure it is cow's milk)
2 -1/2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg

1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup cinnamon and sugar mixture

Cinnamon Cheesecake Frosting:
4 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For rolls: Set aside 1/2 cup flour. 
Mix 2-1/4 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl.
Heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch.
Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture.
Add the egg and only enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough. I used a 1/3 cup.  Dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes.
Place in a lightly greased bowl (I used non-stick spray) and let rest for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, roll the dough out in a rectangle.
For filling: Spread the softened butter on top.
Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar all over dough. (add more if you want)
Roll up the dough from long side.
Cut into 9 even pieces and place in a lightly greased 9-inch round pan.
I used a pie dish, lightly sprayed with nonstick spray.
Allow rolls to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes. Here is what I do: heat the oven to 200F degrees. Turn oven off. Place rolls inside oven and allow to rise.
After the rolls have doubled in size, (mine only took 45 minutes, but yours may take 60-90 minutes) remove rolls from oven and preheat to 375F.
Put rolls back in oven once preheated and bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned.
For frosting: Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, and cinnamon together. 
Spread over rolls.
Store rolls in an airtight container or tightly cover pan with foil or saran wrap.


  1. Hey mary I'm so glad that these met your dad's standerds my dad is the same way withsugar cookies. He likes crunchy and totally PLAIN sugar cookies. Where as I like soft and interesting cookies. I made a home run the other day with a recipe I found. I ampted up the vanilla and baked them until the bottoms were golden they were crunchy on the outside but melted once you ate it. My mom said that those cookies were the best of both worlds.

    1. I am a soft cookie gal myself, but my dad loves crunchy!

  2. Good yeast is definitely the key!! Back when I started baking with yeast, I used a terrible brand and all I got were bricks instead of the fluffy carby goodness I was supposed to get. The moment I switched to quality fresh yeast, I wouldn't get anything but perfect bread ;--) So glad I did!
    These rolls look utterly delicious! And so fluffy that they're like a dream! Extra icing would be amazing on these too. Gaah I want like three of them now, please!! I hope your dad really liked these ;--)

    1. Fluffy carby goodness is what every cinnamon roll should be. Yeast is such a cinnamon roll saver! ;)

  3. I can't believe I haven't made cinnamon rolls in such a long time! These look truly divine!

    1. I get a craving every once in a while and nothing but making it myself will satisfy it. Baker problem! :) Thanks Cathleen!

  4. Cinnamon cheesecake frosting?!?! Stop it. That sounds amazing. Good work, girl! These look delicious! Have a great weekend, pretty lady!

    1. Haha, I can stop now because I ate it all! :) Thanks Erin, you too!

  5. Wait did I read that right? Cinnamon cheesecake frosting? Wow!! Love the sound of that and how dangerous a bowl of that will be. I'm glad you rose to your dad's standards!! Sally always has great recipes.

    1. Deliciously dangerous definitely describes this. Thanks Zainab!

  6. That frosting sounds so incredible! I always love a good cinnamon roll -- you did a great job on these!

    1. It is my favorite breakfast splurge - given the choice between pancakes, French toast, etc., I will pick cinnamon rolls. They're so good!

  7. You had me at easy... then cinnamon rolls... then cheesecake frosting. Swooooon. These look incredible, Mary Frances. A serving size is 9 rolls, right? ;)

    1. I hadn't thought about that! Of course the serving size is one pan, I mean, what was I thinking? ;) Thank you Amanda!

  8. What type of lens do you take your photography pictures with?

  9. I'm glad you stuck with it because these are beautiful! Such a perfect shade of golden brown! They look so soft and fluffy. In my world there is no such thing as too much cinnamon! ;-)

  10. I love your perseverance! I was the same with doughnuts...tried, failed, gave up, then resorted to some of Sally's recipes. Sometimes it's nice to simply follow a trust worth recipe. I'm a sucker for cinnamon rolls and these look deeeeeelicious!
    My husband says the same as you about all breads...use good yeast!
    Tina at www.tinaschic.com

    1. Your husband knows his breads, that is for sure! Thanks Tina - trust Sally to pull us through!

  11. Hmmmm I haven't had a cinnamon roll for ages, I could easily eat a couple right now. Thanks for linking up at Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again this weekend!

    1. They're my favorite breakfast spurge! :) Thanks Laura!

  12. ummm wow!! These look AMAZING! My absolute favoritist thing to have for breakfast is cinnamon rolls:) not the healthiest thing. . . but they are amazing!

    1. They are my favorite breakfast treat, too! Thank you for taking the time to comment, Megan!


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