These are a lot of work so we only make them on special occasions or long weekends. They are SO delicious and decadent.
- 1 C whole milk
- 2/3 C granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 T yeast
- 1/2 C unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 t salt
- 4 and 1/2 C all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting/rolling
- 6 T butter, softened
- 1/2 C brown sugar
- 2 T ground cinnamon
- 2 T orange zest (optional)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/4 C butter, softened
- 1 and 1/4 C powdered sugar
- 2-3 t fresh squeezed lemon juice (or sub some with orange juice if making orange rolls)
- 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
For the dough:
Heat milk to about 95°F using microwave or stovetop. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. With a whisk, manually whisk in the sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes. If the yeast does not dissolve and foam, start over with fresh active yeast. On low speed, beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Next add the eggs, one at a time, and then the salt. The butter won’t really be mixing into the mixture, so don’t be alarmed if it stays in pieces. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 6 minutes longer. *If you do not have a stand-mixer with a hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, a paper towel, or aluminum foil and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours. (Tip: Rising at room temperature is usually fine, but on a particularly cold day, heat your oven to 150°F (66°C). Turn the oven off, place the shaped cake inside, and keep the door slightly ajar. This will be a warm environment for your dough to rise. After about 30 minutes, close the oven door to trap the air inside with the rising dough. When it’s doubled in size, remove from the oven.)
Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch baking dish or line with parchment paper. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down and, using a rolling pin, roll into a 12×18 inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick.
For the filling:
Spread the softened butter all over the dough. Don’t skimp– you want it all on there. In a small bowl, toss the cinnamon and sugar together until combined and then sprinkle evenly over the dough. Tightly roll up the dough to form an 18-inch-long log. If some filling spills out, that’s ok just sprinkle it on top of the rolls. Cut into 12 even rolls. Arrange them in the prepared baking pan, cut sides up. Cover the rolls very tightly with aluminum foil and stick in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours.
Remove rolls from the refrigerator and let rise just as you did in step 2 until they are puffy, about 1-2 hours.
After the rolls have risen, preheat the oven to 375. Bake for about 25 minutes, until they are golden brown. About halfway through the bake time, cover the rolls loosely with aluminum foil so the tops don’t brown too much. Remove pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes as you make the icing.
For the icing:
In a medium bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, lemon and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Using a knife, spread the icing over the warm rolls and serve immediately. Cover leftover frosted or unfrosted rolls tightly and store at room temperature for up to 3 days– I prefer this over storing in the refrigerator.