It’s a new year featuring dramatic lighting, dramatic photos, and–you got it–these absolutely drama-free cinnamon rolls (made with a bread maker)!
Whether or not you own a bread machine, the only thing you need to know about them is this: they are legally, certifiably authentic products of WITCHCRAFT AND SORCERY. If there’s one thing I always dread making from scratch, it’s bread–in small part because the zombie toast in the video game Overcooked 2 is really terrifying, but mostly because I suck at it. Overkneading, underkneading…Every crime against dough that you can ever imagine has been committed in my kitchen.
And that, my friends, is why bread machines exist. The first time I used mine in December (about three years after I received it as a gift, because in addition to sucking at breadmaking I also excel at procrastination), Wallflour Boy and I hopped around the table like a pair of crazy cats. We purred over the whirring blades, batted at the steam-fogged glass viewing pane, and hopped up from the couch every time the machine beeped to signal it was done with a certain stage. So when my friend visited last weekend and suggested that we make cinnamon rolls, I rolled up my sleeves immediately–and a few hours later, our homemade cinnamon rolls were ready to eat!
I mean, look at that soft, fluffy warm witchcraft bread. Somebody needs to be burned at the stake for this level of goodness, I just know it.
What makes these cinnamon rolls truly drama-free is that they mostly involve dumping ingredients into your bread maker and walking away. The resulting dough should be extremely easy to handle, with minimal sticking while you roll it out, spread on the butter, sprinkle everything with cinnamon sugar, and roll it all up. If it’s your first time working with a bread machine or sweet dough, I’ve even included some tips in the recipe below to make sure your homemade cinnamon roll experience is as stress-free as a therapy-miniature-horse-petting session. (Yes, these events exist, and yes, they used to offer these during finals week in grad school, and yes, they are every bit as delightful as they sound.)
Of course, there’s also a high likelihood that you’ll wrestle your loved ones, elderly parents, children, and even pets to claim dibs on the last cinnamon roll–so if you don’t like drama, maybe you shouldn’t make these after all. Or you can do it while everyone else is out and eat them all before anyone gets home.
I won’t tell if you won’t.
Who would you split one of these cinnamon rolls with right now?
For the cinnamon roll dough:
- 1 cup warm milk or soy milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 4 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
For the filling
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the cream cheese frosting
- 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk or soy milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cinnamon roll dough:
- Place all cinnamon roll ingredients in bread machine maker according to the order recommended by your bread machine manufacturer and select the "Dough" cycle. Press "Start." (See "Bread Machine" note below.)
- Once your dough is finished (should be roughly doubled in size), turn dough out onto a large and lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 16x21-inch rectangle.
For the filling and assembly:
- Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
- Spread butter over 16x21-inch dough rectangle, then sprinkle evenly with cinnamon-sugar filling.
- Starting with one hand on either end of the long rectangle edge, carefully roll your dough until it forms a long spiral log. Use a sharp knife to cut log into 15 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly-greased 9x13-inch pan.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and allow rolls to rest for an additional 30 minutes.
- Bake rolls in preheated oven for 14-17 minutes, until lightly golden.
For the cream cheese frosting.
- In a medium bowl, beat together all ingredients until smooth. Drizzle (or spread) on top of hot cinnamon rolls and serve!
1) Bread Machine: Most bread machines recommend that you place in liquids, then dry ingredients, then yeast--but make sure you double-check the instructions. Do not let your yeast come into direct contact with the liquids when placing it into the pan, otherwise it will activate (i.e. begin proofing) too early in the dough-making process.
2) Warm Milk: When warming milk for bread recipes, temperature is important. Make sure that your milk is warm to the touch but not scalding. A good way to test this (if you don't own a thermometer) is to dip the inside of your wrist into the liquid--it should feel very warm, but not so warm that you can't keep your wrist there for more than 5 seconds.
3) Yeast: If you don't want to commit to buying an entire jar of yeast, you can buy them in single-use packets that measure out to 2 1/2 teaspoons each--just make sure you use the fast-acting variety (not active dry). I used one packet of Fleischmann's RapidRise Instant Yeast, Fast-Acting.
4) Salt: Everything should be accurately measured for bread recipes, including salt. If you typically skip the measuring spoon when baking with salt, I recommend that you use it here--the proper salt measurement is crucial and affects the overall rising of the bread.
5) Dough: As with any dough, make sure that you handle this dough gently and do not overroll it. Overhandling can cause the gluten to toughen and cause denser, less fluffy rolls.