Finding the perfect homemade cinnamon roll recipe can be a long and frustrating process – or at least it was for me. After several trials and errors, I finally found a recipe that satiates my taste buds. In the past, I often found that the filling was too thin, the dough was not pliable enough, or the cinnamon roll was too dry. This simple recipe makes vanilla pudding cinnamon rolls, and it remedies those issues. The vanilla pudding is the key ingredient, and it is added to the dough to make it soft and easy to work with. In the end, you get large, soft, fluffy cinnamon rolls with a thick layer of cinnamon and brown sugar filling!
Servings = 8 large rolls
1. Add (1) packet of instant dry yeast (or Active) to (1/4) cup warm water – add (1) tablespoon sugar – stir until dissolved – set it aside for at least 5 minutes to foam.
Tip: Make sure to give the yeast time to “grow”. Make sure the water is warm and you mix everything. Getting the yeast right is crucial for a successful recipe.
2. Add (1) cup of warm milk (heated in microwave) to a large mixing bowl
Tip: Make sure that all of your dough ingredients are warm. Yeast rises in warm temperatures. Set your eggs aside in a bowl of warm water if you’re taking eggs out of the refrigerator.
3. Add (1/2) 3.4 oz (4 serving) package of instant vanilla pudding mix (jello brand or any other brand) and whisk/mix together (electric whisk or mixer) until dissolved
4. Add (1/2) stick of melted butter (heated in the microwave), (1) large egg, and (1/2) teaspoon of salt and whisk/mix together
5. Add the yeast mixture that has now risen and mix together
6. Add (4) cups of all-purpose flour 1 cup at a time and stir after each time
7. Knead the dough by hand until all ingredients have come together
8. Place in a greased mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise for at least an hour or until it has doubled in size.
Tip: Place the dough in a bowl separate from the bowl in which you mixed the ingredients. Add 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of oil to the bowl and spread it around the bowl. Add a little bit of the oil to the top and sides of the dough. Putting the dough in a new bowl prevents bits of leftover dry dough from kneading from getting stuck to your soft, pliable dough, and it makes it easier to take it out for rolling later.
9. Uncover dough, punch down the dough, and put it back in a warm place to rise for another 40 minutes
Tip: Heat your oven to 130 degrees and place the covered bowl of dough in there to allow it to rise.
10. Clean and flour large work surface (i.e. a kitchen counter or table) and place dough on the surface and knead dough a few times into the flour
11. Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin into a rectangle about 18 inches and long 12 inches wide
Tip: Start rolling the dough from the middle and move out to each of the rectangle corners for an even rectangle.
12. Brush the dough surface with 1 stick of melted butter (heated in microwave)
13. Mix 2.5 cups of brown sugar with 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
14. Add the sugar-cinnamon mixture to the dough surface, leaving about ½ inch plain strip at the end of the shorter side of the rectangle to help close dough
15. Roll up evenly the dough toward yourself and close dough by adding a little butter to that plain strip and pinch slightly
16. Cut the dough about every 2 inches for about 8 rolls
Tip: Use a knife to very lightly cut lines on the top of the dough where you plan to cut. Use the floss method to get clean cut, neat cinnamon rolls. Take a strip of dental floss and carefully slide it under the roll. Cross both ends of the floss over each line at the same time so they intersect on the dough to cut the dough into a roll.
17. Place the rolls in a buttered pans leaving space (2 inch all around border) between the rolls
18. Place in warm place to rise for about 20 minutes – until doubled in size or expanded
19. After allowing the rolls to rise and expand, bake cinnamon rolls at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until golden brown – Tip: rotate the pan around half way through the baking time for more even baking. Add a little extra baking time after rotating to compensate for the heat lost when opening the oven door.
20. Allow the rolls to cool, make or buy frosting to add, if desired