Whether you are making cinnamon rolls for an Easter morning brunch, a potluck or just to tuck away in the freezer, it doesn’t take much longer to make a big batch of sweet cinnamon rolls than a small one, and is definitely worth the effort.
Cream cheese in the dough gives it a smooth, light texture. The butter and cinnamon filling is delightful alone, but the addition of raisins or toasted chopped pecans will take the flavor over the top. Wrap a few of these well and keep them in the freezer for a quick breakfast or blissful afternoon break.
Homemade Cinnamon Roll Recipe for a Crowd
Makes 36 (or 24 taller rolls)
Homemade Cinnamon Roll Recipe
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon divided
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup very warm water
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 2 eggs
- 6 1/2 cups bread flour
- 4 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Pinch of salt
- Raisins or nuts optional
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons whole milk or half & half
- In a medium pan over medium-high heat, scald the milk until it is just beginning to bubble around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup sugar, butter, cinnamon, and salt. Stir well and pour into a large mixing bowl (a stand mixer is best) to cool for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl combine the warm water and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Add the yeast and stir to combine. Let it sit until foamy, 5-10 minutes.
- Add the yeast, cream cheese, eggs, and 2 cups of the flour to the warm milk mixture in the bowl and beat well.
- Switch to a dough hook and stir in the remaining flour. Knead by machine for 6 minutes or by hand on a floured surface for 8 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky and very elastic.
- Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat the dough. Cover with a cloth and allow the dough to rise for approximately 1 hour, or until doubled.
- Punch dough down and separate into two pieces. Working with one piece at a time on a lightly floured surface, roll it into a 12-inch by 18-inch rectangle, with a long side facing you.
- Spread 2 tablespoons of softened butter over dough.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, flour, and salt. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the buttered dough. Add raisins or nuts if desired.
- Beginning at the long side facing you, roll dough, pulling towards you slightly as you work to keep the roll tight.
- Pinch the long edge to seal the roll. With a sharp knife, cut 18 1-inch slices and place them cut side down in a jelly roll pan that has been greased or covered with parchment, about 1 inch apart. (You can also cut the slices 1 1/2-inches wide and tuck the 12 rolls into a 9-inch by 13-inch cake pan for taller rolls.)
- Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Cover with a cloth and let the rolls rise until they are puffy and touching each other – about an hour.
- Heat oven to 375 F.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until the rolls are a rich golden brown.
- Cool in the pan on a rack.
- Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl, and beat well. Add additional liquid if necessary until the glaze is creamy enough to spread easily on the slightly warm rolls.