Aunt Lori’s Cinnamon Rolls

My sister Lori cooks just as much as I do (probably more) but with six kids and being a kindergarten teacher she absolutely doesn’t have time to write down recipes or take pictures of her creations. During 2020 while I was here at home with my two littles she was recording videos for her distance learning students, teaching five days a week to two different groups kindergarteners, trying to make sure her own six kids were keeping up with their school work, cooking, cleaning, and becoming a master cinnamon roll baker. Yes, I know I’m lucky. I’m related to Wonder Woman.

During Christmas break Lori posted pictures of her kids outside eating cinnamon rolls with my mom. Not for the first time I was jealous that I couldn’t be there with them. She sent me the recipe later so I could make them four states away and be reminded of family. The first time I made these my kids were in complete awe.

“These are HUGE!”

“Better than Cinnabon!”

“You can never buy store ones again, Mom.”

The thing is, they were right. These are soft, moist, and huge. They are excellent even the next day. Lori didn’t tell me that they would make my house smell like Disneyland, but they did.

Some food bloggers probably aren’t posting sweets in January because of all the people that are now on diets or swearing off sugar for their New Year’s Resolutions. We try to eat healthy, but we also enjoy dessert. If there’s one thing we learned in 2020 that I want to hold onto in 2021 is that life is about being happy and finding balance. So today I worked out, showered, weighed myself . . . and then ate a cinnamon roll. 😉

Aunt Lori’s Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 package yeast
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon, divided
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Cinnamon filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup salted butter

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  • Take out your eggs because who ever remembers that they’re supposed to be at room temperature? Fill a bowl with warm water and drop them in.
  • Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature setting.
  • Measure your milk into a small microwaveable bowl or coffee cup. Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and stir to dissolve. Measure temperature. Ideally you want it between 100-110 degrees F to activate yeast without killing it. After 45 seconds my milk was too warm so I had to wait a bit before adding the yeast in. Once the milk is at the desired temperature add yeast and let sit 5-7 minutes so yeast can activate. It should foam up.
  • In a large bowl or a standing mixer with dough hook combine 2 eggs at room temperature, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, 1/3 cup melted butter and your yeast which should already be frothy in a cup of milk. While stirring on low, add 4 cups of flour.
  • When it’s just about mixed together let it sit for five min for the dough to soak in liquid. Then mix for an additional 3-5 min on a medium/low speed. Turn your oven off.
  • Transfer dough into an oven safe bowl, cover with a damp towel, and put it in your lukewarm oven to rise for 30 minutes. (You won’t see a huge difference in the look of the dough on this first rise. No worries.)
  • While you’re waiting for the dough to rise prepare your cinnamon mixture, AKA mix it altogether with a fork.
  • Since melting butter and stirring brown sugar doesn’t take 30 minutes it’s a good time to make your frosting too. Clean out your mixing bowl and set it up with the whisk attachment this time.
  • Whisk cream cheese and melted butter on medium-high speed. Reduce speed to low while adding in powdered sugar a cup at a time. Add milk and vanilla and mix on high until smooth.
  • Butter a 9×17 baking dish. Take out the dough, but turn the oven back on to its lowest setting. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangle. Spread the cinnamon mixture on top leaving a slight border. Roll into a loose log. Cut into 12 spirals and place in buttered dish.
  • Turn oven off and place cinnamon rolls back into oven and let rise 20-30 minutes.
  • Take cinnamon rolls out of oven, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour heavy whipping cream on the tops of the cinnamon rolls.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes
  • Top with a small pad of butter & cream cheese frosting. Be careful not to overindulge or you will get a stomach ache! Maybe it’s best to share some with your neighbors. . .

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