Cinnamon Rolls are always a welcome Sunday morning breakfast at my house. Though my kids have never had one from the popular stores at the mall, we make them regularly at home. By making an easy sweet roll dough recipe, these cinnamon rolls can be transformed into many other types of sweet rolls with just a few modifications.
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The cinnamon roll recipe I’m going to share today was found in an old bread machine cookbook that I’ve had for a very long time. While I often use my bread machine if I am making a small batch, this dough works great in a mixer to make a larger batch. My 5 quart Kitchen-Aid mixer will make a double batch of the dough but I can triple it in my Bosch Mixer that my Mom bought me last year for Christmas! For my family, I usually use the mixer. They freeze great, so I can pull out a pan on Saturday night and just warm them up a bit on Sunday morning before church.
Sweet roll dough variations
And while cinnamon rolls are great, sometimes you want something different. (Who could ever get tired of cinnamon rolls? Not me!) So I’ve got several different versions of cinnamon rolls such as orange cinnamon rolls, chocolate rolls and my favorite, caramel almond rolls. You are sure to find one or two variations that will suit your family. You use the same sweet roll dough to make each type of roll, you just change up the filling ingredients.
How to work with yeast dough
When working with yeast dough, I always err on the side of under-flouring my dough instead of adding too much. If the dough is too soft, you can always knead in extra flour after it has finished rising. However it is quite difficult to add in extra liquid once the dough is done.
I use this instant yeast that I purchase in bulk for all of my bread baking. If you are making a lot of bread, it is much cheaper this way. Stored in the freezer, yeast will keep at least a year. If you only plan on making yeast dough once or twice a year, it is better to buy it in the individual packets. Since yeast is a living organism, eventually it loses its ability to raise bread dough. Be sure your yeast is fresh (or has been stored properly).
If you are intimidated by the thought of making your own yeast dough, Mel from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe has an excellent tutorial on working with yeast. (Just a side note-Many of Mel’s recipes are mainstays in our house. She shares amazing recipes on her blog and she has rock star status in my house because of that. We would be best friends if we lived close, but unfortunately, she has no idea I even exist!😝 A few of our favorite recipes from Mel can be found here.)
This sweet roll dough can be made into cinnamon rolls, chocolate rolls, orange cinnamon rolls, caramel almond rolls, and any other variation you can dream up.
- 3/4 cup milk, warmed
- 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Set to dough cycle.
Alternatively, add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Allow dough to rise 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat dough into a 12" x 8" rectangle. Brush with melted butter.
Combine cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle over dough. Roll up, jelly-roll fashion beginning on the long side. You should have a 12" log. Cut into 12 slices.
Place in a greased 9" x 13" pan. Cover and allow to rise for 30-45 minutes or until puffy.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Combine glaze ingredients. Drizzle over warm rolls.
To make Orange Cinnamon Rolls:
- Replace milk in dough with orange juice.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon orange extract to butter before brushing on dough.
- Replace white sugar with brown sugar in filling and add zest of 1 orange.
- Use orange extract in glaze in place of vanilla.
To make Chocolate Rolls:
- Brush dough with butter but instead of sprinkling with cinnamon sugar, sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
To make Caramel Almond Rolls:
- Add 1 teaspoon almond extract to dough.
- Mix 2 Tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Spread on dough.
- Sprinkle on 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds.
- Use almond extract in place of vanilla extract in glaze.
To make Honey Buns:
- Brush dough with butter as directed and sprinkle with 1/4 cup white sugar.
- Instead of a powdered sugar glaze, mix 3 Tablespoons melted butter, 3 Tablespoons honey, 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Brush over rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.
How to prepare rolls ahead of time
If you want to serve hot rolls for breakfast (on Christmas morning perhaps?), follow the steps through cutting the rolls and placing them in the pan. Instead of allowing them to rise for 30-45 minutes, refrigerate the sweet rolls overnight. The next morning, allow the rolls to come to room temperature for about an hour on the counter. Bake as directed.
You can also freeze the baked rolls. I like to under-bake them slightly if I am going to freeze them. The rolls need to be firm but just barely starting to brown on top. This helps keep them from drying out when re-heating them.
I know many families serve cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast. A pan of sweet rolls also makes a great gift to give to someone. I have gifted many pans of cinnamon rolls to family, friends, and teachers over the past few years and they have always been well received.
So tell me, have you ever made cinnamon rolls from scratch? If not, what part of the process intimidates you the most?