These Amish-inspired cinnamon rolls are my go-to for birthdays and Christmas. You can make them ahead of time and put them in the freezer, too, which makes this mama sing for joy!
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. yeast
2 tsp. salt
12 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter, at room temp.
2 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, at room temp.
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 lbs. powdered sugar
2 tbsp. heavy cream (or half and half)
1/4 tsp. salt
Heat the milk and half and half in a sauce pan until scalded (which means heat until little bubbles form – do not boil). Turn off the heat and add the butter, sugar, and salt. Let sit until the temperature cools to lukewarm (you don’t want to kill the yeast).
Pour into a standing mixer bowl. Add the yeast and eggs and mix with the dough hook. Let sit for a few minutes until you see the yeast forming a bubbly layer on top (about 3-5 min.). Slowly add the flour a little bit at a time. You may need to add a little less or a little more depending on your conditions (altitude, moisture, etc.). The dough should feel like an ear lobe (I know that’s weird but it’s the best way to describe it). It should feel smooth, and very slightly sticky (but not too sticky or it will not roll out well).
Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in size.
Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and cut in half. Cover one half of the dough with plastic wrap. Roll the other half out into a large rectangle. Spread one cube of butter all over the dough into a thick layer. Sprinkle half of the the sugars and cinnamon over the butter. Spread evenly (I use my hands).
Working from one end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder shaped roll. Using a sharp knife, cut into even pieces. Place in a greased 9×13 pan or a rimmed baking sheet and let rise again another 30-40 min. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 min. Again, ovens vary greatly, so bake until you see that they are just beginning to turn brown. You want them to cook enough to be done, but not so much that they are dry. Let cool.
For the icing, mix together the cream cheese and butter until light and creamy. Add the vanilla, salt, and cream. Slowly add the powdered sugar a little at a time. Mix well.
**If you would like the icing to be more of a glaze, just add more liquid and cut out the cream cheese. We alternate depending on our mood!
Once the rolls are cooled, spread the frosting over the top and watch your family devour these whole!
A note about freezing:
I double or triple this recipe and make tons at a time so freezing is a must.
My preferred method of freezing is PAR-BAKING these rolls. This means you bake them for only HALF of the time so they rise normally. Pull them out of the oven, let cool completely, wrap in plastic wrap and foil, then freeze. The night before serving, thaw the rolls. Cook the cinnamon rolls the rest of the way an hour or so before serving, cool slightly, then ice with frosting.
You can also fully bake the rolls and then freeze them. It’s OK to freeze them with the icing on top and bring them to room temp, but I prefer to keep the icing and rolls separate so that I can re-heat the rolls to warm, then top with the icing without it melting all over in the oven. The icing does freeze, but I find it keeps best in the refrigerator if that’s possible for your time frame.