Cinnamon rolls, also known as sticky buns or sweet rolls, are sweet pastries usually eaten for breakfast and enjoyed most often in Northern America and Europe. The rolls are made with yeast, baked with cinnamon and sugar, and then topped with a sugary icing. This classic recipe yields approximately 10 to 12 cinnamon rolls with homemade icing.
Things You'll Need
Add 1/4 cup of warm water to a medium sized mixing bowl. Use a thermometer to make sure the water is at least 110 degrees F, but no more than 115 degrees F. This temperature is necessary to activate the yeast.
Add two packages of dry yeast to the water and stir, allowing it to dissolve completely. Add 1 tsp. granulated sugar and stir again. Allow the mixture to stand, uncovered, while you prepare the other ingredients.
Bring one cup of whole milk to the scalding point, just before it begins to boil, over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan. This will take approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add 3 tbsp. vegetable shortening, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar, once the milk has scalded. Stir to combine.
Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes. Add one large, slightly beaten egg and 2 tsp. of vanilla extract to the milk mixture. Stir again to combine and set aside.
Pour 3 cups of all-purpose flour into a large mixing bowl. Add both the yeast and the milk mixture to the flour. Stir until you have a thick dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface, such as a wooden cutting board or bread board. Knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes, adding more flour if it becomes too sticky.
Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to the inside of a large mixing bowl. Place the dough inside the bowl and roll it around to grease all sides with the vegetable oil. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and place in a warm area of the kitchen for about an hour, or until the dough doubled in size.
Place the dough back onto the floured board, and punch it with your fist to let out any air. Roll the dough out using a rolling pin until it’s approximately 1/4 inch thick. Use a basting brush to brush the entire surface of the dough with melted butter.
Combine 3/4 cup of granulated sugar with about 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the mixture over the cinnamon roll dough as evenly as possible and it will adhere to the melted butter.
Roll the dough up from one end to the other, similar to a jelly roll. Cut 1 1/2-inch thick slices from the roll with a sharp knife, creating individual cinnamon rolls. Place the rolls flat onto a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover the cinnamon rolls with a dish towel and place in a warm area for 45 minutes, or until they’ve doubled in size.
Bake at 325 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cinnamon rolls are golden brown in color. Prepare the icing by mixing 2 cups of powdered sugar, 1 tbsp. of softened butter, and 4 tbsp. milk in a large bowl. Remove the rolls from the oven, top with the icing, and serve immediately.
Brown sugar may be sprinkled onto the cinnamon rolls before rolling, if desired. Chopped nuts and/or dried fruit make great additions, as well. Make sure to add before rolling for the best results.