Since before I can remember, my mother has made cinnamon rolls for Christmas, Easter, and LDS General Conference. She gets up around five or six in the morning to make sure everything is ready by the time we wander into the kitchen. My father always takes a cinnamon roll from the center of the pan when my mother isn’t looking—which slightly annoys everyone else. While I do not wake up nearly as early as my mother, my husband does take a cinnamon roll from the center of the pan when I am not looking. I guess every girl really does grow up to marry a man like her father.
This recipe has become a calorie- and memory-laden tradition in my family; I hope you enjoy it, too!
Dough – steps 1–9 & 11–16
2 pkgs yeast
2 tbsp sugar
½ cups (very) warm water
2 cups milk
½ cup melted butter
1 tsp salt
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix (~3.5oz)
6 cups (or a little more) flour
Filling – steps 10 & 12
3 cups brown sugar
6 tsp ground cinnamon
1½ cups softened butter
Frosting – steps 17 & 18
8 oz cream cheese
½ cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
(1 tbsp milk)
Also Needed: stand mixer (wire whisk, dough hook and flat beater attachments preferable), spatula, large bowl, dish towel, medium bowl, rolling pin, sewing thread, and baking pans (comparable to at least two 9” x 13” pans—I use a 9” x 13” and loaf pan)
Time Needed: about three hours (including prep and baking)
Space Needed: 34” x 18” area of counter space
Servings: 15–20 rolls
1. Using a fork, quickly but thoroughly mix 2 packages of yeast, 2 tablespoons of sugar and ½ cup
of warm water in a container that can hold at least two cups of liquid. Set aside.
2. Combine 2 cups of milk, 2 eggs, and ½ cup of melted butter in the stand mixer on medium speed
using the wire whisk attachment until well blended.
3. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding mix, and mix thoroughly,
scraping the sides of the bowl with the spatula as needed.
4. Pour in the water, yeast and sugar mixture. (Note that about a cup’s worth of bubbles should have
formed by this point.) Mix on medium speed until smooth.
5. Switch from the wire whisk attachment to the dough hook attachment on the mixer.
6. Using a pouring shield if possible, add 6 cups of flour—half a cup at a time, using the lowest speed
on the mixer while pouring the flour, then a medium speed while blending the flour. Use the spatula to
scrape the attachment and the sides of the bowl as needed.
[Note: If the dough is sticky, add flour half a cup at a time until there is very little or no dough sticking to your hands after handling—due to the elevation in Provo, Utah I usually need to add an additional cup or so of flour.]
7. Lightly butter the large bowl. Then round the dough and place it in the bowl.
8. Cover the bowl with the clean dishtowel. Set it in a warm place, if possible (e.g. in sunlight from a
window—don’t pre-heat the oven just yet!). Let the dough rise until doubled in size, then punch down and let double again.
9. While the dough is rising, thoroughly clean a 34” x 18” area of counter space. Then sprinkle the area
with flour—three quarters of a cup should be sufficient.
10. In the medium bowl, mix together 3 cups of brown sugar and 6 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.
11. After the dough has doubled in size the second time, take it out of the bowl, place it on the floured area and roll it out into a roughly 34” x 18” rectangle.
12. Spread 1 ½ cup of softened butter evenly over the surface of the dough, then evenly sprinkle and
spread the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture over the surface of the dough.
13. Tightly roll up the dough lengthwise. Cut into 1 ½”-2” sections using sewing thread as illustrated
[Note: If you do not have sewing thread, dental floss can be substituted, though mint flavoring could transfer. Cutting the sections with a knife is also an option, but is not preferable because it will squish the sections. The first and last sections can either be eaten raw or thrown away; they’re usually too small to bake properly.]
[Note: It is important that steps 13–15 be followed only once for each batch of dough—all sections must be placed in the pan at the same time, must rise at the same time, and must bake at the same time. But they may need to bake for different amounts of time.]
14. Dust off the excess flour, then place the cut sections into the 9” x 13” pan.
14a. For connected, softer cinnamon rolls (as pictured by ingredients), put about twelve sections in the pan.
14b. For separate, all-around browned cinnamon rolls, put about nine sections in the pan.
14c. Depending on the number of sections left over, either use a loaf pan or another 9” x 13” pan for the remaining sections.
15. Place the pans on top of or near the oven, cover with the dishtowel, and let the rolls rise while the oven preheats to 350 degrees.
16. When the dough has approximately doubled and the oven is preheated, bake for 15–20 minutes, or until the rolls are a light golden brown.
17. While the rolls are baking, use the flat beater attachment to mix 8 oz of cream cheese, ½ cup of butter and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in the mixer until smooth.
18. Using a pouring shield if possible, add 3 cups of powdered sugar—half a cup at a time, using the lowest speed on the mixer to blend in the powdered sugar (1 tablespoon of milk can also be added).
19. When the rolls are a light golden brown, remove the pan(s) from the oven, and set them aside to cool (because the rolls will continue to slightly “bake” and darken after removal from the oven).
20. Remove a roll (or two!) from the pan, top with a dollop of icing and enjoy with a glass of milk!