It’s nearly impossible to grasp how quickly my son is growing. All the cliches about time flying, etc. etc. are so true. It really does feel like yesterday that I held him for the first time and now somehow he has turned six. A third of the way to (technical) adulthood.  I suppose I should order graduation announcements soon.  Other than his calendar age, further evidence of time flying is the fact that he is old enough to have friends sleep over.  This is so fun, I can hardly stand it.  I love seeing them play together, whisper things to make each other laugh, and hear them giggling in their tent way past bedtime.

When I was a kid, my friends and I had gajillions of sleepovers.  One of my best friends’ mom baked us cinnamon rolls every morning after we spent the night at their house.  It must have really stuck with me because now whenever I decide what to make for the boys in the morning, cinnamon rolls are the first thing that comes to mind.  This is my favorite classic cinnamon roll recipe.  It has been deeply buried in the archives of this site for a long time and deserved to be brought back to life.  This is exactly what you expect a classic cinnamon roll to be – warm and fluffy, chewy and sweet. I hope your family loves these as much as we do.

Mix it Up – Some variations to try:

  • Fresh fruit: You can add up to 2 cups of fresh berries along with the cinnamon-sugar mixture before rolling up the dough. Fruits that work especially well are fresh blueberries, fresh raspberries, roasted cherries or cranberries.  I’ve even done caramel apple – oh yeah.
  • Nuts or chocolate: Chopped nuts add a nice hearty crunch to the filling, but be sure to toast them to enhance their flavor. You can also get really wild and add a handful of chopped chocolate, kind of like these chocolate swirl buns.
  • Whole wheat: If you are partial to whole grains, you can replace up to 1½ cups of the bread flour in the recipe with white whole wheat flour.  If you use a greater percentage than that, the soft, chewy texture of the rolls will be compromised.

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 6 ½ tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 ½ tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract or 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 3 ½ cups unbleached bread flour
  • 2 tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 1 1/8 to 1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature

For the filling: 

  • 6 ½ tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Other spices to taste (ginger, cardamom, allspice, etc.)

For the icing: 

  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½-1 tsp. lemon or orange extract
  • 6 tbsp. to ½ cup warm milk

Directions

  • 01

    Cream together the sugar, salt, and butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Whip in the egg and lemon zest/extract until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast and milk. Mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes, or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. (You may have to add a little flour or water while kneading to achieve this texture.)

  • 02

    Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

  • 03

    Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Don’t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling over the surface of the dough and roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces about 1 ¾ inches thick for larger rolls or 12 to 16 pieces about 1 ¼ inches thick for smaller rolls.

  • 04

    Line one or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately ½ inch apart so they aren’t touching but are close to one another.  Proof at room temperature for 75-90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size.  (You may also retard the shaped buns in refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pan out of the refrigerator 3-4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof.)

  • 05

    Preheat the oven to 350° with the oven rack on the middle shelf.  Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the rollss in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak white fondant glaze across the tops, while the rolls are warm but not too hot (see instructions below). Remove the buns from the pan and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving.

  • 06

    Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Add 6 tablespoons of the warm milk slowly, briskly whisking until all of the sugar is dissolved.  Only use as much milk as is needed to make a thick, smooth paste.  Blend in the vanilla and/or lemon or orange extracts. When the rolls have cooled but are still warm, streak the glaze over them by dipping the tines of a fork or a whisk into the glaze and waving the fork or whisk over the tops.

Source

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3839/14419846031_67586bb2fb_z_d.jpg
  • Ally

    They look awesome! I have this on my list to bake. Maybe in the next couple of days.

  • Renea

    Mmm those look great! I might have to try my hand at those sometime!

  • Nikki

    Those look very good! I’m also not a fan of the past cinnamon rolls I’ve made, so maybe I”ll give this recipe a shot.

    Hey, I joined the Daring Bakers… You should too! I start this month.

  • MrsPresley

    i love cinnamon rolls! i will have to try this recipe and compare it to the cinnabon recipe…

  • Peabody

    They were really good. That is the recipe I use the most now.
    Yours look great.

  • ~Amber~

    They look amazing!! I was not a DB then but I can’t wait to make that recipe sometime because I love cinnamon rolls.

  • Annie these look amazing!! Nice job – you might consider becoming a Daring Baker yourself. :) Love the new blog btw!

  • Hey Annie! I just made these and they were a huge crowd pleaser. I loved that it was once a DB recipe so I was able to google and find many of different takes on it and good advice, but I used your “streamlined” adaptation. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • These are absolutely amazing! Soft, chewy, yeasty, and the zest in the dough makes the flavor absolutely refreshing! Thanks for sharing!

  • Misha

    Love these cinnamon rolls! I am making them again for a baby shower I am hosting this Sunday.

  • Jon

    It’s a shame that a recipe this good is tucked away in your archives with zero comments. These turned out big, soft and delicious, with perfectly balanced flavors. Thank you!

  • Jon

    It’s a shame that a recipe this good is tucked away in your archives with zero comments. These turned out big, soft and delicious, with perfectly balanced flavors. Thank you!

  • annieseats

    Agreed! I have been meaning to give this post a refresh/makeover. I’ll have to do that soon. Thanks for the reminder!

  • annieseats

    Agreed! I have been meaning to give this post a refresh/makeover. I’ll have to do that soon. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Adibah

    I just made these today and they turned out lovely. Fluffy, tasty and perfect. Instructions were detailed and very helpful. Thank you!

  • Adibah

    I just made these today and they turned out lovely. Fluffy, tasty and perfect. Instructions were detailed and very helpful. Thank you!

  • Those look amazing, thanks for sharing! Will have to try these soon!

  • Alexis Riley

    Could I use whole grain pastry flour instead of white whole wheat?

  • Alexis Riley

    Could I use whole grain pastry flour instead of white whole wheat?

  • Cara

    Curious if you make these entirely (start to finish) the morning of, or if you prep them ahead of time and just proof them in the morning? Either way that’s a lot of time before these are ready for the table – any other methods or suggestions?

  • Cara

    Curious if you make these entirely (start to finish) the morning of, or if you prep them ahead of time and just proof them in the morning? Either way that’s a lot of time before these are ready for the table – any other methods or suggestions?

  • Amelia

    I love this recipe! It always comes out perfect. I also like Alton browns overnight recipe. It’s pretty tasty too.
    Awwww, so cool Andrew has sleep overs! Seriously, where has the time gone? Pretty soon he will be driving and Caroline will be chasing boys. ;)

    Side question….since I know you love Ina Garten, have you ever made the doughnut recipe from her Barefoot Contessa Foolproof cookbook? I just borrowed the copy from my library and those things look to die for….well the whole book looks great, but those need to happen. She also had quite a few vegetarian meals in her book since I know you’ve been going meatless lately.

  • annieseats

    Oh, I meant to mention that! I do the make ahead method and proof overnight. Since we don’t usually want to wait all that time in the morning before we bake, I set an alarm to get up a few hours ahead of when we want to eat them so I can take them out of the refrigerator, and then go back to sleep. It’s the easiest solution for me :)

  • annieseats

    Oh, I meant to mention that! I do the make ahead method and proof overnight. Since we don’t usually want to wait all that time in the morning before we bake, I set an alarm to get up a few hours ahead of when we want to eat them so I can take them out of the refrigerator, and then go back to sleep. It’s the easiest solution for me :)

  • annieseats

    You could certainly experiment with it. I haven’t tried it myself so I can’t say exactly, but I think it would be fine.

  • annieseats

    You could certainly experiment with it. I haven’t tried it myself so I can’t say exactly, but I think it would be fine.

  • Your food always looks so beautiful and fresh! I tried making cinnamon buns with baking powder last night and they were a bit like cinnamon flavoured shortbread instead but still delicious!

  • A 1/3 of the way to adulthood! Nooooo! That sounds too old. I think I’m going to scrap Max’s birthday this year and pretend that he is staying 5. ;) Happy 6th birthday to Andrew! He seems like a little sweetheart. P.S. You better be careful with that cinnamon roll tradition or you might end up having a couple extra kids move in, me included!

  • Emily @ Life on Food

    Oh man! Cinnamon rolls are my favorite. Whenever I think of a slow relaxing weekend morning I think of cinnamon rolls.

  • Mdm samm

    always a sweet treat to see you in my inbox…today no exception ….thanks for the recipe too my sweet thing..

  • I love to bake and yeasty rolls in the a m is certainly a good way to start the day. I’ve found that there aren’t too many yeast dough products that you can’t retard overnight in the fridge and then bake the following day. Sometime that actually enhances the flavor.

  • looks amazing, thanks for sharing

  • Lindy

    Brings back so many memories :) Can’t wait to give these a try! xoxo

  • Home made cinnamon rolls scare me! I always worry that I will spend so much time on them and they won’t turn out. You have some very detailed directions for this recipe though, so I feel like I can give it a shot!

  • annieseats

    I have not but I need to check it out! Is that her newest book? I haven’t seen it yet but Josie was telling me it was a good one.

    And don’t even talk about the kids being teenagers. I freak every time I think about it.

  • annieseats

    I have not but I need to check it out! Is that her newest book? I haven’t seen it yet but Josie was telling me it was a good one.

    And don’t even talk about the kids being teenagers. I freak every time I think about it.

  • Amelia

    I don’t know if it’s her most recent. It was published in 2012, so I’m guessing she has had another one since then, knowing Ina! :)

  • Cinnamon rolls for breakfast are the best reason to wake up in the morning!! i’m sure your son and his friends are super appreciative of these luscious sweet treats.

  • Cinnamon rolls for breakfast are the best reason to wake up in the morning!! i’m sure your son and his friends are super appreciative of these luscious sweet treats.

  • Lindsey

    Don’t worry! I just made these the other night and they were super easy and so. Freaking. Good! You can do it!

  • Lindsey

    Don’t worry! I just made these the other night and they were super easy and so. Freaking. Good! You can do it!

  • Renee

    I could bury myself in a pan of cinnamon rolls right now. These look amazing.

  • Renee

    I could bury myself in a pan of cinnamon rolls right now. These look amazing.

  • these look like a yummy breakfast!

  • Making these for my daughters 16th birthday! She wanted more a classic recipe and this is perfect!!!!

  • Eryn Mallard

    I made the cinnamon rolls last night and covered them and put them in my fridge. I just noticed now while waiting to put them in the oven after leaving them out for 4 hours that there are pools of some sort of sugar/water mixture.. What can I do to prevent this in the future?

  • annieseats

    It’s just condensation and it’s really not something you need to prevent.