Every Christmas morning I like to make something a little special for breakfast, but at the same time not too fussy. Something you can eat that is casual. Cinnamon rolls are perfect for such an occasion. If you plan ahead, you can make the rolls the night before and shape them, and in the morning all you have to do is bake them off so they are nice and hot. You know the kids are going to be waking you up at 5:30 Am or so to open presents, right? Well, by the time they rip open those presents and pictures are taken the rolls will be baking. They will either be hungry or they will be ready to crawl back into bed. Either way you will be set for some nice warm rolls. This buys you some much needed coffee time so you can sneak in a cup or 2, or 3….while the rolls are baking. Hey it’s 5:30 Am, you need 3 cups of Joe. You can also make the icing the day or night before and keep in the fridge. If you want to make the rolls in real time I have included the original directions as well.
Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls With Orange Cream Cheese Icing
Sweet Yeast Dough
1/4 cup warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 Cup whole milk
1/2 C sugar
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 lg. eggs
5 Cups all purpose flour, as needed
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
optional: 1/2 Cup raisins, toasted chopped pecans
1/2 Cup firmly packed light brown sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Directions: In a bowl mix together the ingredients until combined. Set aside
To prepare dough:
In a glass measuring cup with the 1/4 cup of warm water; add the yeast and sugar and stir to dissolve. Let the yeast mixture sit for about 10 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, sugar, butter, eggs and yeast mixture. Add 4 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt. Place the bowl on the mixer and with the paddle attachment mix on medium-low speed, add as much of the remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough that does not stick to the bowl.
2. Remove the paddle attachment and place the dough hook attachment. Knead the dough on medium-low adding in more flour if needed until the dough is smooth and still soft, about 6-7 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball.
3. Butter a large bowl. Add the dough and turn to coat with the butter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in bulk, about 1 1/2-2 hours. To use at once; punch down the dough and roll out and shape rolls and follow directions for 2nd rising after rolls are shaped and cut.
4. If you are going to shape rolls and have them rise in the fridge overnight; punch down the dough, roll out the dough; fill as directed and place cut rolls in pan and cover with plastic wrap to let rise in fridge overnight. Rolls should rise overnight in the fridge for 8-12 hours. [Follow this version of 4 A]. If you want to make them in real-time follow Version 4B.
(Rising in fridge overnight- 4A Version):
Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour. Roll out into a 16×14 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. Spread the filling* evenly over the dough leaving a 1 inch border at the top and bottom. (If using raisins or nuts sprinkle over the filling at this point). Starting at the long side of the rectangle farthest away from you, roll up the rectangle into a log. Pinch the seam to seal. Roll the log a few times back and forth gently to help seal the seam. Cut the log crosswise into 12 equal slices with a sharp knife. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan. Arrange the slices cut side up in the pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight until doubled in size, 8-12 hours. Remove from the fridge 1 hour before baking to let the rolls come to room temp. Bake at 350 degrees until rolls are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Spread the icing [see recipe below for icing] over the warm rolls, and spread it out evenly. Let cool 15 minutes. Serve warm.
4. If you want to make rolls in real-time: Follow this Version; 4 B.
(Baking rolls same day with warm rising-Version 4B)
Punch down the dough and turn out onto a floured surface and follow directions above up to the step where you have cut the rolls and placed them in the pan. To rise: cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in bulk, about 75-90 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake until rolls are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Ice with icing and let the icing sit for about 15 minutes before serving.
Orange Cream Cheese Icing
3 Cup confectioners sugar
4 oz. cream cheese, room temp
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp
1 tsp. vanilla
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
2 Tbsp. whole milk, + more as needed
Cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Mix in the vanilla, zest and milk until combined. Spread over warm rolls.