Jan 16, 2012

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

cinnamon rolls 1

This is my very first attempt at cinnamon rolls – I wanted to attempt the classic cinnamon version with cream cheese icing. 

This is Alton Brown’s recipe – and as anyone knows – he’s got his recipes down to a perfect science.  Here is a photo of him from when my husband and I saw him last year do a live cooking demo:  P1090512

He’s very entertaining to watch and listen.  I would definitely recommend going to see him.  On the other hand, we recently went to watch a former Top Chef winner do a live demo – and we actually left in the middle of it - it was so bad.  So there is definitely something to be said for someone with experience cooking and explaining recipes in front of an audience/tv.

cinnamon rolls 2

So it’s no surprise that these turned out perfect!  My oven has a ‘proofing’ feature – so I used that in place of the ‘place boiling water in a pan in the oven’ to allow a quick rise before these are baked.   So I put these in to rise – and actually went back into bed for a bit. 

I also froze half of the dough at the stage before they get the overnight rise.  So I’ll have to defrost them in the fridge overnight – and continue the recipe the same way, when we want to have these again!  


cinnamon rolls 4

cinnamon rolls 3



  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 4 cups (20 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
  • 2 1/4 tsp. (1 package) instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • cooking spray


  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted


  • 1/4 cup ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


1. For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined.

2. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

4. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside.

5. Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle.

6. Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough.  Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness.

7. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours. [You can decide to freeze at this point – when ready to use – place in refrigerator to defrost]

8. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off.  Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls.  Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes.  Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

9. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

10. Place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

11. While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

Source: Alton Brown, Food Network.com

Printer-friendly version


  1. I love Alton. He's one of the only Food Network people I actually like! These look delicious and decadent!

  2. I love your first photo and I am green with envy that you got to meet AB!

    1. Thanks Branny! I didn't meet him (the line was too long!) but he put on a great demo!