Made with a rich, soft, fluffy, brioche-like bread dough, stuffed with a delicious butter-cinnamon-sugar paste, and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting. Super easy, and can be made ahead of time too!
EASY - Recipe has multiple steps + overnight rest. But each step is easy enough for a novice baker. Read recipe carefully before starting the recipe.
Activating the yeast - Pour the warm milk into your mixer bowl and dissolve the sugar in it. Sprinkle the yeast into the warm milk and mix to disperse. Then set it aside in a warm place for about 10 - 15 minutes. The yeast should create a foam in the milk if active.
Once the yeast is activated, add the 500 g flour, 100 g sugar and salt. (If using weight measurements, you can place the bowl on the scale and add each ingredient until you have the right amount. Remember to tare the scale between ingredients).
Next, add the melted and cooled butter, 2 eggs and vanilla. Using a spatula, mix these ingredients until you get a scraggly dough.
In your stand mixer, knead the dough with your hook attachment for 20 - 25 minutes. If the dough is too dry, add upto another 1 tbsp of water. (The dough needs a long kneading time to develop the gluten well because it's an enriched dough. The dough should be slightly tacky, look smooth and have a little sheen, or look satiny.)
Form a smooth dough ball and let the dough proof in the mixer bowl, covered with plastic wrap, for 1 ½ - 2 hours, until it has doubled in size. It will take less time during summer months, and more in the winter.
While the dough is proofing, prepare the frosting and filling (instructions below). Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Sift in the confectioner's sugar and whisk it in until you have a smooth frosting. Scrape the frosting into a small bowl with a lid, or into a ziploc bag and set aside. You can keep it at room temperature for up to 24 hours, or in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for longer.
In the same bowl that you made the frosting in, place the softened butter and salt. Whisk until the butter is smooth. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and whisk until you have a smooth cinnamon butter.
Place the filling in a microwavable dish and set aside until needed. If the filling hardens, microwave it for a few seconds to soften it. DO NOT let the filling melt in the microwave.
Turn the proofed dough out onto a well floured surface, with the smooth side facing down. Roll out the dough into a square that's 13 - 14 inches. Try to make the dough as evenly thick as possible.
Spread the cinnamon butter filling evenly on the dough square, leaving ¾ inch margin along one edge.
Roll up the dough towards the end with the ¾ inch margin. Make sure to roll it up snugly (not too loose, not too tight).
Optionally, you can trim off the two ends, once rolled up (since there's less filling at the ends, but this is not necessary). Then, cut the cinnamon roll log into 12 equal pieces.
Use a sharp knife with a back and forth motion to cut the 12 pieces, OR use a cotton string to cut the portions. If using a cotton string, slide it along the bottom of the cinnamon roll log, then cross the two ends over at the top where you want to make the cut, and then pull the two ends of the string to section off portions of the dough.
Place the cut pieces of cinnamon rolls in the parchment paper-lined baking pan, with space between the rolls to allow for proofing.
Tightly cover the baking pan with plastic wrap, and leave it in the fridge overnight or for up to 48 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Let the cinnamon rolls come to room temperature while the oven preheats.
When the oven is preheated, cover the pan with foil and bake the cinnamon rolls in the covered pan for about 30 - 35 minutes. The cinnamon rolls should be nice and puffed up.
Then remove the foil, and bake the rolls for a further 15 - 20 minutes until they turn light golden brown in color.
Remove the buns from the oven and immediately spread frosting on top. Serve right away, or while still warm.
The cinnamon buns CAN be frozen before baking. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 1 month. Allow the cinnamon buns to defrost overnight, and bake according instructions in the recipe.
The frosting can also be frozen for up to 1 month as well. Allow the frosting to defrost at room temperature overnight so that it can be spread easily over freshly baked cinnamon rolls.
Cinnamon rolls taste better on the day they are baked. If you DO have leftovers, store them in an air-tight container, and reheat the buns for a few seconds in the microwave so that they are a little warm and soft again.