Simple Cinnamon Rolls
• 1 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons milk, divided
• 1 cup butter, divided
• 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
• 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 envelope rapid rise yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
• 1 egg
• 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1. Combine 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking and stirring in 20-second intervals until the butter is melted and the milk is warm. (Note: If you get the milk hot, it won’t activate the yeast. If this happens, let the milk stand at room temperature until it’s lukewarm — 105 to 115 F.)
2. In another bowl, mix 3 cups flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and salt with a whisk until combined.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached, add yeast and lukewarm milk mixture; stir by hand to combine. Add flour mixture and egg; beat on medium speed until mixed. If dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Continue beating on medium speed for 5 minutes. Cover dough with a clean, damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, mix remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar with brown sugar and cinnamon until combined.
5. When dough is ready, turn out onto a floured board. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 14-by-9-inch rectangle. Spread 1/2 cup butter, which has been softened, evenly over the dough, spreading all the way to the edges. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
6. Beginning at the 14-inch edge, roll the dough tightly and pinch the seam to seal it. Use a knife or unflavored dental floss to cut off both ends of the roll; cut remaining roll into 12 equal pieces. Place rolls in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan and cover with a damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for 25 minutes.
7. Heat oven to 350 F.
8. Bake the rolls on the center rack of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until centers are no longer doughy and tops are golden brown.
9. Meanwhile, make icing by melting the remaining 1/4 cup butter in the microwave. Whisk in vanilla and confectioner’s sugar until combined. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons milk if icing is too thick. Continue mixing until mixture reaches desired consistency. If icing is too thin, add a little more confectioner’s sugar to thicken it slightly.
10. Cool rolls on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes before drizzling with icing. Serve warm or cold.
Note: If you don’t have a stand mixer and/or a dough hook, you can stir the ingredients together until a dough forms, then knead dough on a floured board for 5 to 7 minutes before letting it rest.
Looking for more out-of-the-ordinary Christmas recipes? Try some of our other Non-Traditional Holiday Recipes.