Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

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I got the recipe for these Cinnamon Rolls from a crime novel. In Diane Mott Davidson´s crime novel series, the heroine Goldy runs a catering business in Colorado. In between preparing buffets for wedding receptions, parties and school lunches, she solves all kinds of complicated small town murder cases. I enjoyed the novels very much, not only because of the witty writing style, but also because of the interesting recipes which Goldy provides every now and then.

Diane Mott Davidson

In “The Last Suppers”, Goldy makes “Monster Cinnamon Rolls”, as she calls them. They sounded so good that I had to bake them. When I made them the first time, I followed the directions in the book to the letter. At the end of this experiment, I knew how the rolls had gotten their name. They were delicious, but enormous, way too big for one person to eat. If you want to know what I mean: I will give you the original amounts of ingredients at the end of the recipe. Trust me – you won´t believe how much sugar there is in the original recipe!

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Anyway, the rolls, were delicious, but too much. I have been adapting the recipe numerous times until I was finally satisfied with the result. There´s definitely something about this combination of soft yeast dough, the cinnamon and brown sugar filling, the luscious cinnamon-caramel which accumulates at the bottom of the pan during the baking process, and the delightful cream cheese frosting.

 

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Ingredients:

Dough:
¾ stick (90 g) butter
½ cup (120 ml) milk, lactose-free
¼ cup (60 ml) water
⅜ cup (80 g) sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 ¼-ounce envelopes  (14 g) active dry yeast
2 large eggs
4 ¼ to 4 ¾ cups (500g – 630 g) all-purpose flour

Filling:
2 cups (350 g) brown sugar
1 stick (125 g) butter, softened
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

Frosting:
6.5 oz. (200 g) cream cheese, lactose-free
¼ cup (60 ml) whipping cream, lactose-free
2 tbsp. vanilla sugar
1 ½ to 2 cups (130 g to 200 g) powdered sugar, sifted (I prefer 1 ½ cups)

For the dough, heat butter, milk, sugar, water and salt in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted. Set aside to cool. The mixture should be lukewarm when added to the yeast-flour mixture.

Put 4 ¼ cups flour, yeast, and eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the lukewarm milk mixture. Beat until well combined, using a kitchen machine and a dough hook. Keep beating; add flour until you get a stiff dough. Knead for about five minutes until you get a smooth dough.

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it is about twice as big; about 1 hour.

Prepare the baking pan while the dough is rising: butter a baking pan of about 9 x 13 inches. Alternatively, adjust a baking frame to this size and put it onto a baking sheet which is covered with baking parchment.

Punch the dough down. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a rectangle of about 20 inches by 30 inches (about 50 cm by 75 cm).

For the filling, beat butter, brown sugar and ground cinnamon with a hand mixer until well combined. Spread the mixture on the dough evenly. Roll the dough up, starting from the small side. Cut the log of dough into 12 pieces of about 1 ½ inches. Place the rolls into the buttered pan or the baking frame. Cover them with a kitchen towel and let them rise until they are twice as big, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 F (175° C). Bake the rolls for about 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool.

For the frosting, beat cream cheese, whipping cream and vanilla sugar with a hand mixer until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. The mixture should remain smooth and not become stiff.

Frost the cinnamon rolls once they have cooled down.

You want to give the original recipe a try? Well, here is what you need:

Dough:
You have to double the ingredients, with one exception: you need 5 eggs. Roll the dough to a rectangle of 24 inches by 36 inches, and make the rolls 2 inches high. You get 12 rolls again, but those are twice as big as mine.

Since you have the double amount of dough, you need two baking pans of the size stated above. Put 6 rolls into each baking pan. The rolls will be very big, almost like small cakes!

Filling:
You need 5 cups brown sugar (Yes! 5 cups! This is not a typing mistake!!!), 2 ½ sticks butter, and 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon. The butter and the sugar will melt while baking and accumulate at the bottom of the pan, where they will be soaked up by the rolls. Delicious, and extremely sweet.

Frosting:
You need ½ pound cream cheese, ¼ cup whipping cream, 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar or 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 3-4 cups powdered sugar, depending on how sweet you want the rolls.

I like sugar, but this version is a bit too sweet for me. I find my version very sweet already!

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