A super tasty, no-fail cinnamon roll recipe is just the type of baking basic that every kid (big or small!) should have in their back pocket. Bigger kids should be able to tackle this quintessential morning pastry on their own; littler ones will likely need a helping hand. Both will appreciate the easy step-by-step instructions, super jumbo size, and orange-scented flavor. Plus, the dough can be made and shaped the night before you serve them, so all you need to do in the morning is put them in the oven. A lush vanilla icing offers the finishing touch, adding just the right note of sweet gooeyness to the just-baked rolls.
Gooey Cinnamon Rolls
FOR THE DOUGH
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing the bowl
3 large eggs
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) quick-rise yeast
4 1/2–5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
FOR THE FILLING
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
FOR THE VANILLA-ORANGE ICING
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 orange
About 1/4 cup whole milk
1. Make the Dough
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the milk, granulated sugar, melted butter, eggs, and yeast. Add 4 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt and beat on medium-low speed until a soft dough forms that does not stick to the bowl. If the dough is too wet, add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and knead the dough on medium-low speed, again adding a little more flour if needed, until the dough is smooth but still soft, 6–7 minutes.
2. Let the Dough Rise
Remove the bowl from the mixer stand. Shape the dough into a ball. Butter a large bowl. Add the dough ball to the bowl and turn the ball to coat it with the butter. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2–2 hours.
3. Make the Filling
Wash the mixer bowl and paddle attachment and return them to the mixer. Add the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon to the bowl and beat on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
4. Shape the Rolls
Light flour a work surface. Turn out the risen dough onto the floured surface. Press down on the dough to release any air bubbles. Dust the top with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 14 by 16 inches, with a long side facing you. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border uncovered along the top and bottom edge. Starting at the long side farthest from you, roll up the rectangle toward you into a log, pinch the seam to seal. Cut the log crosswise into 8 equal slices. Each slice should be about 2 inches thick.
5. Let The Rolls Rise
Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or a large, heavy ovenproof frying pan. Arrange the slices, with a cut side up, in the prepared pan. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 hours. (Alternatively, refrigerate the rolls overnight until doubled in size, 8-12 hours, then let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before baking.)
6. Bake the Rolls
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the rolls until they are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
7. Make the Icing
While the rolls are cooling, make the icing: Sift the confectioners’ sugar into the clean bowl of the stand mixer and add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and orange zest. Beat on low speed (preferably using the paddle attachment) until crumbly. Gradually beat in enough of the milk to make a thick but pourable icing. Drizzle the icing over the warm rolls, or pour the icing over the rolls and spread evenly over the top. Let cool for at least 15 minutes longer. Serve the rolls warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 rolls.
Recipe excerpted from The Complete Junior Chef Cookbook: 65 Super-Delicious Recipes Kids Want to Cook (Weldon Owen, 2018)