We wanted to share this recipe in honor of being back from our Peace Corps experience in Jamaica. It’s fun to look back on the pictures of us making big batches of these delicious treats for our Jamaican host sister’s wedding.
According to Facebook, many of you actually tried these out at home last year! For my family (Michelle), cinnamon rolls are a traditional part of our holiday celebrations, and I’m looking forward to sharing these rolls with my family in both Oregon and Hawaii this Christmas. I like to make the miniature-sized rolls for this recipe to counteract the generous helpings of cinnamon-sugar and cream cheese frosting it calls for.
The Ultimate Cinnamon Roll is a combination of recipes from two sources: dough from Sugar & Spice (who adapted hers from The Pioneer Woman) and frosting from AllRecipes’s Clone of a Cinnabon.
I have used this recipe three times so far during our Peace Corps service in Jamaica:
- Christmas with our host family last year
- By request of our host sister, at her wedding reception
- Thanksgiving potluck with West-side volunteers
Makes 3 – 4 pie tins of full-size of rolls, with 7 – 8 rolls per tin OR 1-2 large casserole dishes with 25+ mini rolls per dish.
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast (1 tblspoon)
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup melted butter
1/8 cup ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
(you can always make more or less cinnamon/sugar filling depending on your preference)
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
Mix milk, vegetable oil, and 1/2 cup of sugar in a pan. Scald the milk mixture (heat until just before the boiling point, stirring gently.) Remove from heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl, and let it cool 45 minutes to 1 hour.
When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but not hot, sprinkle in yeast. Let this sit for a minute so the yeast starts to “foam.” Then add 4 cups of flour. Stir mixture together (it will be more wet than firm). Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise for at least an hour.
Next, combine 1/2 cup flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dry mixture to the dough and work it in evenly. (From here, you can cover and refrigerate the dough to use later. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to rise out of the pan, punch it down.) Or you can just go ahead and make the rolls.
Sprinkle the dough and your countertop generously with flour and roll the dough into a thin rectangular shape. For the mini rolls, we did this in batches, making long rectangles (maybe 20 inches by 8 inches and very thin). Brush melted butter on top. It should make a visible layer of butter but not a puddle. Mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle generously over the butter. For best results, it should be dense enough that it’s difficult to see the dough underneath.
Starting with the wide end, roll the dough up tightly towards you in a neat line. Spread a thin layer of melted butter in each pan/dish. (You can also put parchment paper at the bottom of your dish first.) With a sharp knife, begin cutting the dough into slices (about 1 inch), and lay them in the pans with just a bit of space in between to expand a little. Drizzle with any remaining butter and cinnamon sugar. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.
Bake at 375 degrees for 13 – 17 minutes, or until golden.
(You can also prep these the night before and instead of baking, put them straight into the fridge and let them rise slowly overnight. Then, in the morning let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking. We also had decent success baking the rolls right away, then refrigerating, and reheating them the next day in the oven before adding the frosting and serving.)
While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a medium bowl. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.