Our Conference Tradition: Delectable Cinnamon Rolls

I'm not the best at following recipes. However, after years of making impromptu cinnamon rolls out of leftover bread dough with mediocre results I figured it was time to buckle down and actually follow a recipe from someone who knows how to make these. After making these the first time, I'm a bit appalled with myself for not using a real recipe sooner. These are my perfect cinnamon rolls--soft and sweet and fluffy with normal, staple pantry ingredients. These are wonderful for Christmas morning breakfast or General Conference (like this weekend!) hanging out at home with the family, or if you're really awesome you can share them with me. ;) I hope you like them! 

Delectable Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted slightly from Better Homes and Gardens

  • 4 cups flour (I'd suggest using at least 3 of the 4 cups as all-purpose or white bread flour the first time you make these and then slowly adjusting the all-purpose to wheat ratio. I also highly recommend using whole wheat pastry flour if you use wheat in this recipe.)
  • 1 package (2-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1/3 cup butter 
  • 3 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • 2 eggs 
For the cinnamon-roll centers:
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted 
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of the flour and yeast; set aside. 
  2. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, the 1/3 cup sugar, the 1/3 cup butter, and salt just until warm (120 to 130 degrees F.) and butter almost melts. 
  3. Add milk mixture to dry mixture along with eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in vital wheat gluten and as much of the remaining flour as you can. 
  4. If you don't have a good, sturdy mixer, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). (You want it to be soft and not sticky.) I leave the dough in my kitchenaid for all of the kneading. 
  5. Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease the whole round of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour). 
  6. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly oiled surface. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Grease a 13x9 pan with butter. 
  7. Roll dough into a large rectangle. In a small bowl, combine butter and vanilla with a pinch of sea salt. Brush the butter mixture over dough. Generously sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon over the dough. 
  8. Roll up into a spiral, starting from a long side. With warm water on your fingers, seal seam. 
  9. Slice the roll into 12 equal pieces. Place in prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double (about 30 minutes). 
  10. Bake in 375 degree F oven for about 30 minutes or until golden. 
  11. Cool slightly; remove from pans. 
  12. Frost if desired with whatever you like- I like to make a thick and buttery frosting with about a 2:1 powdered sugar to butter ratio with a pinch of sea salt, a squirt of vanilla, and about a tablespoon of pure maple syrup. (Depending on how you measure the powdered sugar you may need to add more powdered sugar or a bit more maple syrup to get the right consistency.) BHG uses a simple icing recipe of 1 cup sifted powdered sugar mixed with 1 tsp vanilla and 1 Tbsp milk OR orange juice beat all together.  Makes 12 rolls.

PS-- Happy Conference weekend! I plan on snuggling with my family as we listen to messages from inspired church leaders and whipping up a batch of these rolls this weekend. It will be epic :)
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