Cinnamon Rolls

22 Nov

Cinnamon roll imageFall makes me think of cozy things…and in the kitchen, that translates to really robust spices…my favorite being cinnamon.  It just makes everything taste o.m.g. good {to me anyway}.  I love to add it to pancakes, french toast, yogurt, some cereals, ice cream…all kinds of stuff.

Now, cinnamon rolls are like my husband and I’s yin and yang.  He likes the gooey centers, I like the bread-y outer circles…ok…and the centers and the icing…but we work it out.

So given that it’s a cold, fall, rainy {What?  Yes!  LA is having fall moment!} day, I wanted to share my version of cinnamon rolls with you.

dough proof and roll out

cinnamon layer{Gina’s Take}

This recipe definitely takes some time, but most of that is in the dough rise.   I’ve made and tweaked this recipe over the years, and I can say it’s gone well 99% of the time, the 1% being the time I took a shower during the oven cycle and my husband ignored the timer.  So, assuming you will not ignore the timer, you will be just fine.

My favorite way to make this – and every other baking recipe – is by using vanilla seeds instead of vanilla extract.  I like this for two reasons.  I love seeing the little seeds – I have no clue why that makes me so happy and when you use it in the icing, it keeps the color of the icing nice and bright.  See the image below – icing on the left is with vanilla extract, on the right with vanilla bean seeds {both are delicious though and I won’t judge}.

frosting options

prepped cinnamon rolls

Other than the vanilla, all the ingredients are pretty standard.  You can skimp on some fat/calories in the icing by using Neufchatel Cheese – I use Kraft’s Philadelphia for this and you can pick it up anywhere.

The dough is super moist and the filling and icing is perfect for any sweet tooth, so let me know how it goes if you give this one a whirl!  Oh, and the best side effect from these is the smell…your kitchen will smell divine!finished cinnamon roll



{Pretty Little Tip}

The warmer the  rolls, the more “melt-y” the icing.


Cinnamon Rolls

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 12 rolls

Serving Size: 1 roll


  • 1 cup of lukewarm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp active yeast
  • 2 eggs (ideally room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or 2 inch vanilla bean seeds scraped)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp flax meal (optional)
  • 4 1/2 cups white bread flour
  • Cinnamon filling
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Icing
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 1 inch of vanilla bean seeds (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/8 tsp salt


  1. In small bowl, add the lukewarm milk, sugar, and yeast, stirring until the sugar and yeast dissolve in to the milk.
  2. Then, in a large bowl, combine the eggs, butter, and vanilla together. Whisk until all the liquid ingredients are combined.
  3. Whisk in the salt, flax (optional), and yeast mix in to the liquid mixture.
  4. If kneading by hand, form a well with flour, adding the liquid mixture to the center a little at a time, and kneading until a smooth dough forms. If using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, add the flour, a 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the hook to kneed the dough until a smooth dough forms.
  5. After the dough has been kneaded, place into a bowl greased with butter or vegetable oil and turn dough over to lightly coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise till double in bulk. This will take an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the ambient room temperature.
  6. While the dough is rising, prep the filling and icing.
    To make the Cinnamon filling:
  7. Add the sugar, cinnamon and butter to a small bowl, and using a pastry blender or beaters, combine all ingredients and set aside.
  8. To make the Icing:
  9. Add cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla/vanilla seeds, and salt to a medium bowl.
  10. Mix with beaters until smooth.
  11. Forming the cinnamon rolls:
  12. After about an hour, or once the dough has doubled in size, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface in to a 16" x 20" rectangle.
  13. Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the dough.
  14. Starting at one end, roll up the dough and then evenly cut 12 rolls.
  15. Place the 12 rolls in a greased 9" x 13" baking pan and cover with plastic wrap.
  16. Let rolls rest for about an hour, or until they double in bulk.
  17. Once the rolls have risen, bake in a preheated 400F oven for 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
  18. Allow rolls to cool slightly and then spread icing evenly over the rolls and serve.

2 Responses to “Cinnamon Rolls”

  1. Virginia Mabry January 3, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    I made these over the Christmas holidays and they were a big hit! They do take a lot of time, but it is worth it! I forgot to melt the butter into the dough (I softened it instead by accident) but they ended up turning out ok!

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