Extra large cinnamon rolls are soft, fluffy and oozing with cinnamon sugar. Filled with brown sugar and cinnamon and topped with a cream cheese frosting, these cinnamon rolls are perfect. These can be made ahead, left to rise overnight, and baked in the morning.
Homemade cinnamon rolls are a once a year treat in this house. That treat comes every Christmas morning without fail. I can’t quite remember when I started the tradition of making cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning, but I do know it has been at least 20 years.
There really is nothing better than Christmas morning filled with the scent of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. It is tradition that they are placed in the oven as soon as we get up. Then we put the coffee on, turn on the lights and gather around the tree. Only when the cinnamon rolls are out of the oven do we start opening our gifts, nibbling bites of the fresh baked rolls in between presents.
These cinnamon rolls are extra large, extra soft and extra gooey. Filled with rich brown sugar and cinnamon and topped with a delicious cream cheese frosting. If you have ever had, and loved, the cinnamon rolls you get as you are walking through the mall then you will love these.
I’ve been making this recipe for as long as the tradition started. Originally it came from a Company’s Coming cookbook and I’ve adapted a bit over the years.
Can you make cinnamon rolls ahead of time?
What I love about this recipe is that you can make it ahead. Yes, that’s right. You can let these rolls rise overnight and bake them in the morning. And nothing gets you out of bed quite as fast as the smell of freshly risen cinnamon rolls wafting through the house.
Here is the best part. You do not have to spend all afternoon Christmas Eve preparing these for Christmas morning. I prepare these a week or two before Christmas, when things are less chaotic, then before the second rise I freeze them. Before bed on Christmas Eve I take them out of the freezer, place them in the pan, cover with a towel and walk away until morning.
They will taste exactly the same as if you’d done all the work the same day, but you don’t have all the mess to clean.
In the morning, while the rolls are baking, I whip up the frosting. And as soon as they are done baking we dig in.
HOW TO MAKE EXTRA LARGE CINNAMON ROLLS
Cinnamon rolls start with a basic yeast dough.
Start by combining the yeast with 1/4 cup of the water and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let this sit for about 5 minutes until slightly frothy. If your yeast does not start to froth it means it is dead and your rolls will not rise.
After proofing the yeast, add the remaining ingredients (reserving half a cup of the flour) and turn the mixer on low until combined, then increase the speed and allow the machine to knead the dough for about 7 minutes.
After about 7 minutes the dough should have come together and pulled away from the sides of the bowl. It might still feel a bit sticky, but should be mostly smooth and stretchy.
Turn it onto a floured surface and knead for a minute or two until smooth and elastic, adding a bit of extra flour if it is too sticky. Then turn into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out to a floured surface.
I like to use a pastry mat as it is non stick and helps keep the counter clean. If you don’t have one, then flouring the surface of your counter is sufficient.
Gently roll the dough into a rectangle about 24 inches by 14 inches.
Then spread the butter all over the dough, leaving 1 inch on the edge furthest from you. This will help the dough to seal when rolled.
Then sprinkle brown sugar over the butter, then the cinnamon over the brown sugar.
Starting from the side closest to you (the long edge) roll the dough into a log and pinch the seam closed.
Cut into 12 rolls, approximately 2 inches wide. Then place in a pan lightly sprayed with non-stick spray, or a thin coat of butter.
Leave approximately 2 inches between the rolls to allow for room to rise.
If you want to freeze these to bake later, you will stop here. After cutting the rolls place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in the freezer. As soon as they are frozen transfer them to an airtight container to store until ready to bake.
Cover and place in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Then place in a 375 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes.
While the rolls are baking you can mix your frosting ingredients. Allow rolls to cool for approximately 5 minutes, then frost as desired.
Serve cinnamon rolls warm with butter or extra frosting on the side.
THINGS TO KNOW & HELPFUL TIPS
- Can I add raisins to the filling? Absolutely. If your family likes raisins, go ahead and add them.
- Can I make these ahead? Yes you can. Simply make these up until the step of rolling and cutting the rolls. After cutting, place on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the freezer. As soon as they are frozen, transfer to an airtight container. Store frozen until you want to bake. Then place them in a pan, allow to rise and continue with the recipe directions.
- Can I make these the night before and still let them rise overnight? Yes, you can. Just cover the rolls and allow to rise in a cool place.
- Can you freeze cinnamon rolls? You sure can. Simply freeze the rolls in an airtight container before frosting.
- Can I use white sugar instead of brown sugar in the filling? You can if you like, but I find the brown sugar gives these rolls a much richer flavour.
- What if I don’t have a stand mixer? No problem. You can simply mix the ingredients by hand and knead the dough on the counter in the traditional way.
OTHER RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE
Extra Large Cinnamon Rolls
- 1/4 Cup Hot water not boiling
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp Active dry yeast
- 1 3/4 Cup Hot water not boiling
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 Cup Butter melted
- 6 Cups All purpose flour
For the filling
- 3/4 Cup Butter very soft
- 1 1/2 Cups Dark brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp Cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/4 Cup Butter softened
- 1/2 Cup Cream Cheese softened
- 1 Cup Powdered sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp Lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp Milk
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix 1/4 cup water, 1 tbsp of sugar and the yeast. Allow to rest for about 5 minutes until frothy.
- Add the remaining water, sugar, salt, melted butter and 5 1/2 cups of the flour.
- With the dough hook attachment, turn the mixer to low until ingredients are combined. Then turn to medium and allow mixer to knead the dough for about 7 minutes until it has pulled away from the sides and is stretchy.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 2 minutes, adding a bit of extra flour if needed, until smooth and elastic.
- Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled. About 2 hours.
- After dough has risen, turn onto a floured surface and gently roll into a rectangle approximatly 24 inches by 14 inches with the long edge facing you.
- Spread the butter over the dough, leaving 1 inch at the top end.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter, then sprinkle the cinnamon over the brown sugar.
- Roll the dough up, starting from the edge closest to you. Pinch the seam to help keep it closed.
- Cut the roll into 12 pieces, about 2 inches wide each. Then lighly spray 2 8×11 baking dishes with non-stick spray and place rolls in the dish leaving 2 inches between them. (you can also use 9×13 pans)
- Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled. About 2 hours.
- After rolls have risen, bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until golden.
- Remove rolls from the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes, then frost as desired. Serve warm.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a medium size bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and milk and beat until well combined and smooth.
- If you like your frosting to be more of a glaze, add a bit of extra milk until you get the consitency you prefer.
- If you don’t have a stand mixer, simply mix the ingredients by hand and then turn out to a floured surface and knead for 7-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- If you want to freeze these and bake later simply place the rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper after cutting. Place in the freezer. Once the rolls are frozen transfer them to an airtight container.
- The night before you want to bake, remove the rolls from a freezer and place in baking dishes. Allow to rise, covered, on the counter overnight and then follow from step 12.