The weekend is getting so close. Praise the Lord, hallelujah, because your girl has had a WEEK. If you’ve had a week like me then I have the perfect thing to kick off your weekend, Caramel Cinnamon Rolls. Cinnamon Rolls have always been a hit in my house, growing up and now that I’m married. They take more time than a normal weekday breakfast but that provides for a nice, slow start to a Saturday, which is one of my favorite things about weekends. You get to take your time waking up and doing your morning routine. You might as well add these into the mix, I can promise you won’t regret it.

Cinnamon Rolls BLOG (1 of 4)

These Caramel Cinnamon Rolls are filled with a thick layer of cinnamon sugar filling, baked on top of a layer of sticky caramel, and topped with a brown butter icing. It’s like the perfect trifecta of cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon Rolls BLOG (2 of 4)

The dough in these is made from scratch, so you have to make the dough and then let it rise twice, which can be time-consuming. My dad makes amazing cinnamon rolls and he always just buys frozen dough and lets it rise. There is still a lot of waiting time, but if you don’t want to actually make the dough, this is a good option. Everything else in this recipe is really straightforward and pretty easy.

Cinnamon Rolls BLOG (3 of 4)

Also, you can definitely make these the morning of in one long process, but I wanted to be able to throw them in the oven in the morning and not have to do any extra work. So I got to the point of the second rise and refrigerated them. Then in the morning, I took them out for about an hour and then baked them. I thought this worked perfectly for our schedule, but I’ve added instructions for both methods, so do what works best for you!

Cinnamon Rolls BLOG (4 of 4)

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For in-depth “whys” and “howtos”, skip to the end of this post!

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5 from 1 vote

Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Resting Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Caramel, Cinnamon, cinnamon roll
Servings: 12

Ingredients

For Dough:

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (8 grams) instant dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (38 grams) butter melted, but not hot
  • 4 1/2 cups (540 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar

For Caramel:

  • 1/2 cup (106 grams) light brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (50 grams) heavy cream

For Filling:

  • 1/2 cup (114 grams) butter softened
  • 1 cup (213 grams) brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For Icing:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 2 1/5 cups (283 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

For Dough:

  • Heat milk until warm to the touch, not hot, and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle in the dry yeast. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
  • Add the eggs, butter, salt, sugar, and flour. Using the dough hook, mix on low until the ingredients start to come together. Then mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes. The dough should be smooth, but still sticky.
  • Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray. Turn the dough out into the sprayed bowl.
  • Cover the bowl with a towel and set the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to rise for about 30 minutes. The dough should double in size.

For Caramel:

  • While the dough is rising, prepare the caramel. In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients.
  • Place over medium-high heat until smooth and bubbly, whisking occasionally.
  • Pour into a 9×13 pan and set aside.

For Filling:

  • In a medium bowl, combine the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Mix until well combined and set aside.

For Dough:

  • When the dough has doubled in size sprinkle a clean surface with flour. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and roll the dough into a rectangle about 12×15".
  • Dust off any excess flour and spread the filling out to the very edges of the dough.
  • Starting on one of the long edges, tightly roll the dough up, brushing any excess flour off of the outside as you go.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 pieces and place on top of the caramel in the pan.
  • At this point, you can cover the cinnamon rolls, refrigerate them, and make them the next morning. If you do this you will need to let the cinnamon rolls rest out of the oven for about an hour before baking.
  • If you want to bake them now, preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F), cover the pan and let the cinnamon rolls rise for 20 minutes. They should double in size.
  • Once risen, place in oven and bake for 17-20 minutes or until the rolls are browned and the centers are cooked through.

For Icing:

  • Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. It will start to foam and you will see orangy brown bits form at the bottom of the pan, this will take about 5 minutes.
  • Place the brown butter in a bowl and allow to cool until room temperature and soft.
  • Using a hand mixer, combine the brown butter and cream cheese until light and airy.
  • Slowly begin to add the powdered sugar, mixing well until fully combined.
  • Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Spread icing over slightly cooled cinnamon rolls.
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Dough

  1. Heat milk until warm to the touch, not hot, and pour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle in the dry yeast. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. You really want to make sure that the milk is thoroughly warmed and not hot or room temperature. The yeast needs warmth to activate but there are limits. So if the milk is too hot then the yeast will die, but if the milk is too cold then the yeast will never activate. A good temperature is about 115 degrees (F).
  2. Add the eggs, butter, salt, sugar, and flour. Using the dough hook, mix on low until the ingredients start to come together. Mixing slowly will ensure that the dry ingredients won’t go flying all over your kitchen. Then mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes. At this point the dough should be smooth but still sticky, so don’t add any extra flour.
  3. Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray. Turn the dough out into the sprayed bowl.
  4. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place for about 30 minutes to allow the dough to rise. It should double in size.

Caramel

  1. While the dough is rising, prepare the caramel. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Place over medium heat until smooth and bubbly, whisking occasionally.

Filling

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until fully combined. Set aside.

Dough

  1. When the dough has doubled in size sprinkle a clean surface with flour. I used a silicone mat for this (this one) because it is really close to the size we want, so it takes a lot of the guessing about size out and it makes for easy cleanup. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and roll into a rectangle about 12×15″.
  2. Dust off any excess flour, extra flour is going to make the finished product drier, and spread the filling out to the edges of the dough.
  3. Starting on one of the long edges tightly roll the dough up, dusting any excess flour off of the outside as you go.
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 pieces and place on top of the caramel in the pan.
  5. At this point, if you want to wait until the next morning to bake the cinnamon rolls you can cover them and refrigerate them. The next morning pull your cinnamon rolls out and let them rest for about an hour before baking.
  6. If you want to bake them now, preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F). Cover the rolls with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes, they should double in size.
  7. Once risen, place in the oven and bake for 17-20 minutes or until browned and the centers are cooked through.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before icing.

Icing

  1. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. It will start to foam and you will see orangy brown bits form at the bottom of the pan, this will take about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the brown butter in a bowl and allow to cool until room temperature and soft.
  3. Using a hand mixer (I used this one), combine the brown butter and cream cheese until light and airy.
  4. Slowly begin to add the powdered sugar, mixing well until fully combined.
  5. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
  6. Spread icing over slightly cooled cinnamon rolls.

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