Here in Colorado we have a famous establishment (Johnsons Corner) that is "known" for its cinnamon rolls. People drive in from all over to buy them (and I believe now, they ship online!) That being said, I happen to see my friend Mary's recipe for "Super Soft Cinnamon Rolls" and it intrigued me. I've never made homemade ones myself. I decided to give her recipe a shot and see what happens. I'm not going to write a long story about the smell that just about makes you drool as you wait for them to finish baking, I won't bore you with explaining the screams of glee I kept hearing when others peered into the baking dish - waiting for their roll!! I won't explain how I had to hide most of them so they ALL didn't vanish in one night! I will just say - these are far superior to any I've ever had and I think they surpass Johnson Corners Famous Rolls!! The best part - its an easy recipe!! ~Enjoy! Diane
Super Soft Cinnamon Rolls
1/4 ounce package yeast (Instant Yeast)
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs ground cinnamon
3 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
3-6 Tbs milk
In a small cup, dissolve yeast in warm water (water that is hot enough to activate your yeast, add a pinch of sugar to this to enhance yeast production) and set aside.
In a large cup, place the unsalted butter and microwave until the butter is almost melted, add in the milk and continue microwaving until the milk is warmed through.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix warmed milk & melted butter, sugar, and salt. Once lightly mixed, add in the egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Pour in the yeast/water mixture and mix in remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until dough is easy to handle. Change over paddle on stand mixer to dough hook at this time.
Knead dough in your mixer with the dough hook, (or by hand on lightly floured surface) for approx 8 minutes. I set my timer and watch the dough at the 6 minute mark - to see if the ingredients are being pulled up off the bottom of bowl, if not - then I add more flour (2 Tbs at a time) until ALL the dough collects (pulls up) off bottom of bowl.
Once dough is ready, oil a large container very lightly with olive oil, place your dough ball in, give the ball a quick clock-wise turn (this coats the dough in a bit of oil) and flip dough ball over, cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 to 1 1/2 hours. I let my dough rise in my oven which has been preheated to my lowest setting (170) and then turned off immediately...I leave the oven door open just a bit for about 5 mins, then close and let the dough rise inside oven (this creates a warm, draft free environment)
Once doubled in size, punch down dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15 by 9-inch rectangle to prepare for adding the filling.
Coat a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkled with sugar.
Filling and Baking:
Combine melted butter, cinnamon and sugar, spreading all over dough (note, you don't want an extremely runny mixture being spread on the dough, if your mix seems too runny, add a bit more brown sugar.) Beginning at the longest side, roll up dough slowly and tightly and once fully rolled, pinch edges together to seal, place seam side down and cut into 12 slices.
Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the prepared baking pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes. (my first time making these, I only let them set for about 10-15 minutes before placing in oven, with great results!) but, keep in mind, if you do not use Instant Yeast - you will need a Second Rise for the full 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
**If you have leftover Filling, you can brush that filling over the tops of your cinnamon rolls once they are in your baking dish, getting ready for the second rise.
Mix butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Whisk in milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency. (we like a thinner consistency glaze, and added more milk.) Spread over slightly cooled rolls.