Quick Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Quick Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Well, hello again. Is it just me, or are Mondays just tough to get back in the groove of things?

For some reason it’s always so hard for me to jump right back into the work as if no time elapsed from Friday. Somehow my mind completely forgets about whatever I was working on the previous five days during the week and come Monday, I have to rethink everything through on what was happening just two days prior.

It may just be the Type A in me coming out (and my love for lists), but in order to not waste a good half hour just rethinking through where to begin at the start of every week, I always make myself a list on Friday of the things I need to do when I come back on Monday—it brings me back to reality preeetty quickly come Monday morning. :)

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I suppose this particular weekend made coming back to reality even more challenging, since it was another weekend away from Madison, having fun with the fam.

We made our second of our three mini-road trips this weekend to Peoria, Illinois, to celebrate Philip’s brother’s birthday. It’s always a great time when the family gets together—not to mention some great food.

Philip’s dad always makes our Saturday breakfast a special one by making us all a warm breakfast with eggs, toast, bacon, and grapefruit (and yes, it’s always grapefruit). I’m usually almost exclusively a cereal/oatmeal kind of breakfast girl, but the warm breakfast turns an everyday occasion—where you’re half asleep slurping up soggy cereal—into a special occasion that the whole family can enjoy together.

Speaking of family mealtime, that’s a whole other topic I could get into, but I’ll spare you the details. All I’ll say for now is it’s an important habit to get into no matter how big or small, young or old your family is. There’s your dietitian tip of the week from me. :)

My family didn’t always have warm breakfasts, but my mom had a special touch at making homemade cinnamon rolls for holidays and special occasions (and now a “special occasion” includes me coming to visit, which is definitely okay by me!). Growing up, she usually made them on a Saturday, spending the whole day letting them rise multiple times in the warm sun. By the time they were done, our whole house smelled of cinnamon and it was delicious.

I love baking bread and making those same cinnamon rolls today, but honestly, it’s always so time consuming! With a full-time job and weekend trips or plans seemingly every weekend, I don’t always have a good chunk of time to make yeast breads.

The thought of this makes me pretty sad actually, but I was so excited when I found this recipe for Quick Homemade Cinnamon Rolls that doesn’t require any rising. It’s easy enough to make in an evening after work and is ready for the next morning. They taste so good, you don’t even know they didn’t require a whole day to make.

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The secret?

Buttermilk.

Somehow, this ingredient makes it happen. The good thing about buttermilk is there are so many options in case you don’t have buttermilk on hand. If you don’t want to go out and buy buttermilk just for this recipe (although pancakes or muffins would be a great way to use up extra buttermilk), you can buy dried buttermilk, which is what I use. It keeps practically forever in the fridge and you don’t have to worry about trying to use it up. The other option is using milk and adding a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice for every cup of milk. After letting it sit for five minutes, the milk curdles and thickens a bit and, voila, you have sour milk—the perfect substitute for buttermilk.

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You need to try these rolls, people! They’re soft and moist (the buttermilk helps with this), the cream cheese frosting never disappoints, and it doesn’t make a large pan of rolls like some recipes. It makes 8 rolls, so you can enjoy them for a bit or have enough for a small gathering, but you don’t have to have them sitting around, tempting you for an extended period of time. Perfect, right?

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No, they’re not the healthiest breakfast choice, but if this is what it takes to have a special breakfast with somebody or with your family, then I say it’s worth it to have an occasional breakfast treat once in awhile. Now go make them and enjoy a warm cinnamon roll in less than an hour!

Quick Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Serves 8
Source: America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

Ingredients:

Filling: 

  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted

Dough:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for the counter
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk*
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted; divided

Glaze:

  • 3 Tbsp cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 ups powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425°. Generously coat both a 9-inch nonstick round cake pan and a wire cooling rack with vegetable oil spray.
  2. For the filling: Combine the brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and the tablespoon melted butter together in a medium bowl until the mixture looks like wet sand.
  3. For the dough: Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter together. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until absorbed (the dough will look shaggy, or still damp, a lumpy mass, and not smooth), about 30 seconds. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead until smooth, about 1 minute.
  4. Press or pat the dough out into a 9 by 12-inch rectangle using your hands. It may be slightly sticky. Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the filling (it will look like a lot of filling on the dough), leaving a 1/2-inch border, then press it firmly into the dough.
  5. Loosen the dough from the counter using a metal spatula. Starting at a long side, roll the dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Pinch the seam to seal. Slice the dough into 8 pieces and place in the prepared cake pan. Brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake until the edges are golden brown, 20–25 minutes.
  6. Use a knife to loosen the rolls from the pan. Flip the rolls out onto the prepared wire rack, then turn upright and let cool for 5 minutes before glazing.
  7. For the glaze: Set the rack of rolls over a sheet of newspaper or parchment paper (for easy cleaning). Whisk the cream cheese and buttermilk together in a large bowl until thick and smooth. Sift the powdered sugar over the mixture and whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Spoon the glaze evenly over the warm rolls. Enjoy!

*Buttermilk can be substituted with dried buttermilk or soured milk. To sour milk, stir a little more than 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice with the 1 1/4 cups milk. Let stand for 5 minutes until the milk has thickened or slightly curdled.

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