Fluffy, soft, with the right amount of cinnamon and cream cheese Frosting these Cinnamon Rolls are the best there are. Make them the same day, or overnight - you’ll love them!
Proof the yeast: In a cup combine 1 cup of warm (90-110 F) milk, 1 tsp of sugar, and 2 tsp of instant yeast. Stir and leave undisturbed for 10-15 minutes. The yeast should foam up and rise slightly - all a sign of active yeast.
If it does not foam and rise, discard your yeast and do not continue with this recipe until you get unexpired active instant yeast.
Mix the dough: In a large mixer bowl whisk together 3 ½ cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt.
Make a well in the middle and add the proofed yeast mixture, and 4 egg yolks and 1/2 cup of room temperature butter.
Quickly stir to roughly combine the ingredients into a shaggy dough.
Now with either a dough hook attachment or by hand knead the dough, adding the remaining 1/2 cup of flour if needed (2 tablespoons at a time) until it is smooth and only slightly sticks to the sides of the bowl and clean hands, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a smooth ball.
Rest or proof: Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes while you work on the filling (for a quick version of the cinnamon rolls) or cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled in size in a warm place (less than 100F) in a greased bowl, about 1 1/2 hours.
Make the cinnamon filling: In a bowl mix together 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoons of freshly grated nutmeg, and 2 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon.
In a separate cup melt 1/3 cup of unsalted butter.
Roll the dough: Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into an 18" x 14" rectangle with the wider side closest to you.
Fill & roll: Pour the melted butter onto the dough and spread it all over, leaving a 1-inch border on the long side away from you unbuttered.
Sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture evenly over the butter.
Roll the cinnamon roll tightly by rolling, then pulling the rolled section out and rolling some more. Pinch the unbuttered section to the roll, then roll the "log" until it is about 24 inches long.
Cut the cinnamon rolls into sections: Use a measuring tape to score the roll every 2 inches, then use floss or a serrated knife to cut through to make 12 even pieces. Transfer each piece to a parchment-lined 9"x13" baking pan.
Proof: cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place (example: oven with the light on (no heat)) until your rolls are doubled in size, about 45 min - 1 hour.
Tip: if making the rolls the night before to bake in the morning, allow to proof until doubled in size, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Do not overproof, or they will deflate overnight and bake flat next morning.
In the morning, remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature for about 45 minutes before baking.
Bake: preheat the oven to 350F with the baking rack centered. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and quickly pour 1/2 cup of warmed-up heavy cream evenly over the rolls. Return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Make the Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls Icing: Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk together 1 cup of cream cheese and 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar until smooth. Then add 1/2 cup of butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla emulsion or extract and beat together for another 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.
Frost: You can add the cream cheese frosting to the rolls as soon as they're out of the oven if you'd like the frosting to melt into the rolls, or add it after the cinnamon rolls had a chance to cool down if you'd like the frosting to keep shape.
To serve: serve while warm.
To store: store covered on the counter for a day, or refrigerate covered for up to 2 days.
To reheat: microwave the cinnamon rolls for 15-30 seconds or until warmed through.
To freeze: cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month.
To thaw: leave in the fridge until thawed, then microwave to reheat.
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