Overnight cinnamon rolls. Classic comfort food, these light, buttery cinnamon rolls are baked until golden, served warm from the oven with a vanilla glaze. Perfect brunch fare.
Growing up in Alaska, my fondest memories of cinnamon rolls were from the ski resort, Alyeska, in Girdwood. Before we would brave the elements for a day of skiing, I would get a giant cinnamon roll at the lodge. It was warm, chewy, and delicious. I would enjoy this cinnamon roll and a cup of hot chocolate as much as I did the next several hours of freezing my ass off.
I never made cinnamon rolls from scratch until much later in life. Like anything they take some practice, some patience, and a bit of technique. There is no one perfect cinnamon roll, as everyone has their own idea of what that means. Light and fluffy, dense and chewy. They are not the same recipe. This is but one of the cinnamon roll recipes you want in your arsenal.
Warm milk is added to a small mixing bowl. Instant yeast is added to the milk while it’s a bit above room temperature to activate the yeast and get the party started. Eggs are added to a small bowl and given a good whisking. Bread flour is added to a stand mixer along with sugar and salt. The milk and eggs are added to the mixer and the dough is formed. Two sticks of butter are added to the dough, a tablespoon at a time.
The dough is placed in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic and set aside in a warm spot for several hours. The dough spends the night in the refrigerator, spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet. The chilled dough is rolled into a large rectangle, brushed with softened butter, sprinkled with a mix of brown sugar, white sugar, bread flour and cinnamon. The brown sugar cinnamon coated dough is rolled into a tight spiral and cut into 12 equal pieces. Optionally, the dough can be cut with a pizza cutter into strips and rolled into individual rolls.
The 12 rolls are placed into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan, casserole dish, or 2-inch tall pan of your choosing. I generally bake my rolls in my Griswold 9-inch cast iron skillet, or a heavy gauged baking pan either a Chicago Metallic or Williams Sonoma Goldtouch. Sometimes I make this recipe and place the rolls into jumbo muffin cups to create individual cinnamon rolls in the shape of a muffin.
The cinnamon rolls are given a chance to warm to room temperature and rise with a second proofing before baking. Alternately, the dough can be made in the morning, chilled, made into rolls and the prepared rolls chilled overnight. The rolls are pulled out of the refrigerator a half hour to an hour before baking. The warm rolls are glazed and served.
Store cinnamon rolls in an airtight container for several days. To reheat, individual rolls can be heated in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
- 240 grams whole milk (1 cup), warmed
- 12 grams instant dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
- 220 grams egg (4 large eggs)
- 640 grams bread flour (5 cups)
- 100 grams granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 5 grams fine sea salt (1 teaspoon)
- 226 grams unsalted butter (16 tablespoons), softened
- 70 grams unsalted butter (5 tablespoons), softened
- 100 grams brown sugar (1/2 cup)
- 50 grams granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
- 20 grams bread flour (2 tablespoons)
- 12 grams ground cinnamon (1-1/2 tablespoons)
- 200 grams powdered sugar (1-1/2 cups)
- 80 grams heavy cream (1/3 cup)
- 5 grams vanilla bean paste (1 teaspoon)
- Add the yeast to the warmed milk in a small mixing bowl. Let set for 10 minutes. Stir in egg. Set aside.
- Add the bread flour, sugar, and fine sea salt to stand mixer. Add milk/egg mixture to stand mixture and using the dough hook, beat on low for 5 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and beat for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add butter about 1 tablespoon at a time to mixer, every 15 seconds.
- Remove bowl from stand mixer.
- Transfer dough to oiled mixing bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside in warm area for 3 hours.
- Transfer dough to parchment lined baking sheet. Spread dough to fit sheet, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.
- Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
- Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, bread flour, and ground cinnamon to small bowl. Stir to combine.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and place on large flat surface lightly dusted with bread flour.
- Roll dough out to large rectangle approximately 24-inches x 16-inches. Flip the dough occasionally and lightly dust the surface again, if necessary.
- Brush softened butter over entire surface of dough. Sprinkle reserved sugar/cinnamon over butter and spread evenly with offset spatula.
- Option 1 – roll the dough into a tight spiral starting with the long side closest to you. Cut individual rolls about 2-inches thick using dental floss or a bread knife. Arrange rolls cut side up in baking pan, leaving about 1/4-inch between rolls.
- Option 2 – use a pizza cutter and slice individual strips of dough about 2-inches wide. Roll the dough into a spiral and place cut side up in baking pan, leaving 1/4-inch between rolls.
- Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 3 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Optional – For shiny, golden brown tops, brush the top of the rolls with egg wash or milk.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Cool rolls in pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Invert from wire rack to serving platter.
- Add powdered sugar to small bowl. Stir in heavy cream. Stir in vanilla bean paste. Add additional heavy cream one teaspoon at a time to achieve desired consistency.
- Drizzle glaze over rolls. Serve warm.