May 18, 2010

The Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Do yourself a favor and make these cinnamon rolls today! Or really, you’ll miss out on the best cinnamon rolls ever. And don’t say I didn’t warn you! They are fabulous—so much flavor and fluffiness—they nearly melt on your tongue. We have our own cinnamon rolls in Holland named, “Zeeuwse Bolussen”. They’re good, but they can’t hold a candle to these.

This recipe was sent to me by an American friend. One of the perks to food blogging; people from all over the world email you the best recipes. I frowned when I scanned the ingredients list, though. Instant vanilla pudding mix? You’re kidding, right? We never add vanilla pudding to our pastry dough here. Heck, I didn’t even know if it was sold here. As it turns out it is, so I picked up a box and got to it. 

I love how these rolls are not overly sweet nor do they require three sticks of butter.

Rolls:

2 tbsp warm water
3 tbsp butter (2 oz)
4 tbsp instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup warm milk
1 large egg
1/2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp instant or active dry yeast

Filling:

1/2 a cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 oz chopped up walnuts
2 or 3 tbsp butter

Frosting:

4 oz cream cheese 
4 tbsp confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
2 tsp milk

Directions:

Here’s 1/2 a cup of milk combined with 3 tbsp soft butter. I like to mix my milk and butter, not sure why. And there’s a lightly beaten egg (room-temperature).
Cinnamon Rolls

Combine 1 1/4 tsp yeast with 2 tbsp warm water. I’m using instant yeast but am still using water. Clearly I’m a bit weird but I think we already established that long ago.
Cinnamon Rolls

I wasn’t kidding about the vanilla pudding! See, here’s photographic evidence.
Cinnamon Rolls

I popped the milk & butter in the microwave (maximum power) for about 30 seconds. Adding the yeast and the egg to my mixer bowl.
Cinnamon Rolls

Add 1/2 a tsp salt, 1/2 a tbsp granulated sugar and 4 tbsp of the instant vanilla pudding mix to that. Wow, the pudding made it yellow alright.
Cinnamon Rolls

Pour the milk and butter in. The butter will have melted.
Cinnamon Rolls

Add your flour. once the dry and wet ingredients are combined, turn off the machine, throw a towel over it and let the dough rest for 15 minutes before kneading. It’ll be quite sticky now.
Cinnamon Rolls

That gives you time to finely chop the walnuts.
Cinnamon Rolls

Combine 1/2 a cup brown sugar with two tsp ground cinnamon.
Cinnamon Rolls

Time to knead the dough. I gave mine an 8 minute cycle. Slowly the dough started to ball up. If your still looks sticky in the last, say, 2 minutes add some flour one tbsp at a time.
Cinnamon Rolls

Let the dough rise for about an hour when using active dry yeast, punch it down and then continue with the recipe below!

Lightly butter a baking tray.
Cinnamon Rolls

Transfer the dough to a floured counter or cutting board.
Cinnamon Rolls

And start rolling. Form a rectangle.
Cinnamon Rolls

Keep in mind that the thickness of the dough determines the structure of your rolls. The first time I made these, I didn’t roll the dough thin enough and it gave me these, more like cinnamon buns (quick shots taken at night). Really tasty, but I think I prefer the thinner cinnamon rolls.
Cinnamon Rolls

Anyways.

Roll out the dough and lightly brush it with melted butter. You don’t want to drown it in butter, it just needs a thin layer to make the nuts and sugar stick to. I used roughly 2 tbsp butter.
Cinnamon Rolls

Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top.
Cinnamon Rolls

Followed by the cinnamon sugar.
Cinnamon Rolls

Roll it up and press the seams!
Cinnamon Rolls

Now slice it. I turned it into 16 rolls. You can make thicker slices as well!
Cinnamon Rolls

Transfer the slices to the baking tray. Give them a little room to rise, though. Place a towel over the tray and let them rise for an hour and a half.
Cinnamon Rolls

I’m not a big fan of frosting in general and really feel they don’t need it. But since it was part of the recipe, I threw it in!

I combined 4 oz room-temperature cream cheese with 2 tsp milk, 1/2 a tsp vanilla extract, 4 tbsp confectioner sugar and stirred until smooth and creamy. The original recipe called for 2 tbsp butter, but I didn’t add them. Feel free to throw them into the equation.
Cinnamon Rolls 

The risen rolls. I kinda like how that sounds.
Cinnamon Rolls

Bake them in a preheated oven at 350F (175C) for 15 to 20 minutes. I like them brown and crispy so I gave them the full 20 minutes (I once even gave them 25 minutes for extra crunch), if you want them lighter and fluffied you should probably stick to 15 mins. Drizzle the cream cheese frosting on top while they’re still warm.

 
They were brown and crispy on the outside, but light and fluffy on the inside. Perfect combination.
Cinnamon Rolls

Oh. My. Word. These are utterly divine.
Cinnamon Rolls

The Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls
Ingredients
  • Rolls:
    2 tbsp warm water
    3 tbsp butter (2 oz)
    4 tbsp instant vanilla pudding mix
    1/2 cup warm milk
    1 large egg
    1/2 tbsp white sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 cups + 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
    1 1/4 tsp instant or active dry yeast

    Filling:
    1/2 a cup brown sugar
    2 tsp cinnamon
    2 oz chopped up walnuts
    2 or 3 tbsp butter

    Frosting:
    4 oz cream cheese
    4 tbsp confectioners sugar
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    2 tsp milk
Directions
  1. Combine 1/2 a cup milk with 3 tbsp butter and lightly beat a large room-temperature egg. Combine the yeast with 2 tbsp warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Nuke the milk and butter for 30 seconds at maximum power. Add the yeast and egg to your mixer bowl and add 1/2 a tsp salt, 1/2 a tbsp granulated sugar and 4 tbsp instant vanilla pudding mix. Pour in the milk and butter.

    Add the flour and once the dry and wet ingredients have combined, turn off the machine. Put a towel over the top and let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Chop the walnuts and combine the brown sugar with the ground cinnamon. Then knead the dough in the mixer or by hand for 8 minutes until it’s a supple dough. When using active dry yeast, let the dough rise for an hour now, when using instant yeast proceed with the recipe as listed below.

    Lightly butter a baking tray. Transfer the dough to a floured cutting board and and roll it into a rectangle. Lightly brush it with melted butter, not too much, a tbsp or 2 to 3. Sprinkle the walnuts on top followed by the cinnamon sugar. Roll it up and press the seams down. Slice it, 16 rolls is perfect. Place the slices with the flat side down in the baking tray, cover with a towel and let the rolls rise for an hour and a half, until they’ve doubled in size.

    Combine the cream cheese with 2 tsp milk, 1/2 a tsp vanilla extract, 4 tbsp confectioners sugar and optinally 2 tbsp soft butter. Once the rolls have risen, bake them in a preheated oven at 350F (175C) for 15 to 20 minutes. Untill golden brown. Drizzle the cream cheese frosting over them.
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    33 Comments »

    1. 1

      Finally I’m posting a comment!! Have been reading your blog for ages now, it is becoming an addiction. I find myself frantically searching for the latest recipe. Have tried so many now and they all turn out great!!!

      I do have a question about the cream cheese. Which one do you use (as is brand?)? I find it so hard to find the right one and understand the difference. When recipes mention cream cheese is that Philadelphia naturel of Monchou? big different in taste to my opinion.

      Keep on blogging Kay!!!

      Annemarie on May 18, 2010 @ 9:59 am Reply
    2. 2

      @Annemarie:

      So glad to hear I’m not doing it for nothing :)

      I have to admit that I never use Monchou unless it’s for a cheesecake. In frostings it just doesn’t seem to work for me. So my go to cream cheese is either Philadelhia or another more creamy house brand.

      When I use Monchou, I usually show a photo of the package.

      Kay on May 18, 2010 @ 10:04 am Reply
    3. 3

      Hi Kay, long time reader, first time commenter…Just wondering what I could use instead of the vanilla pudding? I dont think it’s available here in Ireland!

      TrulyScrumptiousness on May 18, 2010 @ 10:41 am Reply
    4. 4

      @Trukyscrumtiousness:’

      I have absolutely no idea, sorry. Will have to ask around, since we don’t usually bake with instant vanilla pudding here either.

      Kay on May 18, 2010 @ 10:45 am Reply
    5. 5

      Oh yeah, there she does it again, this looks GREAT!

      Anna on May 18, 2010 @ 11:21 am Reply
    6. 6

      Sounds irresistible, I’m bookmarking this!

      Quinn on May 18, 2010 @ 1:05 pm Reply
    7. 7

      I went through a time about 10 years back when I made homemade cinnamon rolls almost every week. My family and friends really loved it. Don’t know why I stopped doing that except that everyone’s clothes were fitting tighter after a few months :-) Feeling the need to made up a batch pretty soon after reading this!

      Lana @ Never Enough Thyme on May 18, 2010 @ 2:44 pm Reply
    8. 8

      I have to ask – how do you photograph your tutorials.  In several of the pictures I see not one, but TWO hands… so, do you have a kitchen helper you photograph, or some other way of doing it?  Whatever way you manage it, I love the visuals!

      kivy on May 18, 2010 @ 3:24 pm Reply
    9. 9

      @Kivy:

      You can come a long way with a tripod and the self- timer. My new camera has spoiled me, it has a special interval setting. Every now and then it’s easy to ask someone to release the shutter for me! But that doesn’t happen too often.

      Kay on May 18, 2010 @ 3:26 pm Reply
    10. 10

      @Trulyscrumtiousness
      Instant vanilla pudding is basically cornstarch with some emulsifiers, artificial flavors and colors, and, depending on the brand and style, lots of sugar. So you could try just using cornstarch, a little more vanilla and an egg yolk as an emulsifier instead. That way, you’ll also get around all the artificial flavors and colouring in the instant pudding.

      Westmonster on May 18, 2010 @ 5:45 pm Reply
    11. 11

      @Kivy Haha I’ve been wondering that too!  I thought no it couldn’t possibly be the little one.
      @Kay a tripod and a self timer- I’m even more impressed! I’d love to see you in action- I’m almost tempted to travel from Katwijk to Gouda and peer though your window! Does it get hectic in the kitchen or are you a calm baker?
      The rolls look great – mouth is watering.
      Instant vanilla pudding mix- well I never!

      Vanessa on May 18, 2010 @ 6:29 pm Reply
    12. 12

      @Trulyscrumtiousness
      Westmonster is right. I would even add only cornstarch or potato starch with some flavour. And maybe it’s possible to find custard powder it’s almost the same.

      Wiosanna on May 18, 2010 @ 7:29 pm Reply
    13. 13

      See – I too would frown at the ingredients…but I will make these at your nudging.  I used the pudding powder you found when in the NL for some cookie recipe I had that called for it, and then fed them to Dutch friends who immediately wanted the recipe and learned that YES they have pudding powder in their stores. :-)   One thing we do not have any thing close to is VLA!  Wah – we miss it so!!
       
      I’ll make these for Father’s day!  – Thanks ever, Kay!!

      elizabethk on May 18, 2010 @ 10:55 pm Reply
    14. 14

      I usually avoid using pudding mix. I don’t know why, but my guess is its because I don’t like instant pudding. I’ll make an exception for this though.

      Deanna on May 19, 2010 @ 2:56 am Reply
    15. 15

      @Deanna:

      I had no idea what to expect. But it just seems to make it fluffier and lighter. I do have to admit that ‘m not crazy about the idea of adding so much artificial colors and flavors to something, though.

      Kay on May 19, 2010 @ 7:50 am Reply
    16. 16

      Hmmm, I don’t know. I already have my go-to cinnamon rolls, and they don’t require instant pudding, so I will have to think about trying these out. They do look fantastic, but that could be because all of your photos look great! hahaha

      Memoria on May 19, 2010 @ 8:01 am Reply
    17. 17

      Okay, I might just get up and make them for myself as a special birthday treat!! Really tempted!

      Richelle on May 19, 2010 @ 9:16 am Reply
    18. 18

      Jam kaneel broodjes. Die zijn zo gevaarlijk lekker. Ik ga zeker dit recept proberen (puddingmix?), heel interresant. Ik heb ook een recept van kaneel broodjes online staan, die zijn ook lekker.
      Ik was aan het lezen op het net…en toen kwam ik gewoon jou tegen. Tussen alle amerikanen. Ik helemaal in Hollands glorie :) Ben zo super trots op je! Ga zo door! xxx http://www.babble.com/babble-best/top-50-mommy-food-blogs/best-photography

      Loyoya on May 19, 2010 @ 6:32 pm Reply
      1. @Loyoya:

        Super he? Ik was ook zo trots toen ik het hoorde. Er zijn zo waanzinnig veel blogs online!

        Kay on May 19, 2010 @ 7:12 pm Reply
    19. 19

      Ooooh, comparing Zeeuwse Bolussen to cinnamon rolls, that’s heresy ;)
      I’ve never tried using instant pudding in my cinnamon rolls, should try that once!
      Have you ever had Cinnabon? They’re the best Cinnamon Rolls in the world! (I have a recipe that tastes virtually the same, will post that on my blog in a week or two, I’m sure!)

      Valerie on May 19, 2010 @ 6:59 pm Reply
    20. 20

      @Valerie:

      I know, I know. Mea maxima culpa. It was the only thing we have that comes even close to cinnamon rolls :)

      Kay on May 19, 2010 @ 7:13 pm Reply
    21. 21

      hey kay!
      u make cooking look so EASY and beautiful with your photos!
      please keep on giving us more and more of your delicious food recipes :D!
      LOVE UR BLOG! :D

      LOVE UR STUFF! on May 24, 2010 @ 9:26 am Reply
    22. 22

      I made this recipe this morning.  Fantastic!

      Jennifer A-S on Jun 12, 2010 @ 6:43 pm Reply
    23. 23
      Wiosanna on Jun 12, 2010 @ 6:58 pm Reply
    24. 24

      Here’s a recipe for homemade vanilla pudding mix. I think (but cannot guarantee) that you could work out a substitution if you don’t have access to pudding mix. I reckon that it’s the dry milk in the pudding mix that makes the cinnamon rolls so tender.

      Vanilla Pudding Mix
      3 cups nonfat dry milk
      4 cups sugar
      1 tsp. salt
      3 cups cornstarch

      Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container. To prepare, mix 1/2 cup of mix to 2 cups milk. Heat and stir constantly while boiling. Cool, then add 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

      Sarah on Jun 17, 2010 @ 10:56 pm Reply
    25. 25

      http://twitpic.com/1yf9s8 I just made ‘em, they are fantastic! Thanks for sharing Kay! :)

      Lisanne on Jun 20, 2010 @ 1:36 pm Reply

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