When I had the bakery, these cinnamon rolls were a very hot item! We sold a lot of them.
When I first opened, I made them like you traditionally see them... spiral and baked in a muffin pan. They didn't do well really.... but one day I had shoved all the little end pieces in one cup. When it came out of the oven, it looked like this amazing piece of food art. I thought to myself, "How can I duplicate this?" So we played around with it and they went from average to amazing!
I had this recipe posted on my old Upper Crust blog, but I figured I better move it over here because people are always asking for a recipe... and I've actually made more step by step photos to help visualize how these are created.
Making cinnamon rolls from scratch is really quite simple. Often the idea of making bread dough scares people off, but trust me, it's not as frightening a process as you might think. It just requires patience and a little understanding of how bread works!
I highly suggest, whenever making bread dough, to always use bread flour. What's the difference, you ask? Well... it's all about gluten, which gives your dough elasticity..which is what you want with bread as it makes your dough rise the way it's supposed to. All-purpose flour is your middle of the road flour. It has an average gluten count. Whole wheat flour (true 100% wheat flour, not the enriched stuff) has virtually no gluten, which is why it's so hard to get it to rise and why it's so heavy. Bread flour is VERY glutenous.
You also want to make sure you don't use too much salt, EVER when making bread. It will destroy the yeast in your bread and leave you with a lump of dough that won't rise and be hard as rock. You also want to make sure you don't use too much flour. If your dough is "tight", it won't rise properly.
So, now that you have a little understanding, here's the recipe for my cinnamon rolls!
2 cups milk heated in the microwave for 3-4 minutes
2 sticks butter (1 cup)
1/3 cup sugar
Pour heated milk over the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Allow the milk to melt the butter as much as possible. When you can stick your finger in the milk without it getting 3rd degree burns (HA!), it's safe to put your yeast in. Spoon in 4 1/2 tsp yeast and let it "proof" for about 10 minutes until it's dissolved and nice and bubbly. If your yeast doesn't get bubbly and grow, it's dead and you'll need to start over with new yeast.
After the yeast proofs, add 3 eggs and 3 cups bread flour. Mix until the eggs are incorporated. (NOTE: I use a Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook attachment once I get to this stage. Makes the process a lot easier.)
Add 1 tsp salt. Continue to add bread flour, one cup at a time until the dough begins to firm up and pull together into a ball. When the dough is no longer sticky, remove from the mixing bowl and onto a floured counter. Knead your dough for a few minutes working in a little more flour. Remember.. dont' work in too much flour! Use Pam cooking spray to coat the mixing bowl (don't worry about using a clean bowl, you'll just give yourself another bowl to clean) and put the dough in it. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour or until the dough is double in size.
Punch the dough down and divide in half. Roll the dough out using a rolling pin. Melt half stick of butter in the microwave and then spread over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar (I use a LOT of cinnamon). Roll tight into a tube shape, then slice into approx. 1" pieces.
Put two slices in each muffin cup (I use texas-sized muffin pans because I like em big!) and then taking the tails of each slice of dough, I twist around and then tuck back into the pan.
Once you've filled up all your muffin pans and used up the dough, cover and let rise until about double in size. Bake in a preheated 375* oven until the rolls are nice and brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan. Frost with cream cheese frosting.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
1/2 stick butter
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
6 cups powdered sugar
Cream the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar, alternating with some milk until you get desired consistency.
Printable version: http://docs.google.com/View?id=dg2vfjqm_154cr9s7ff6