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Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh-baked cinnamon rolls?! That warm, spicy smell fills your kitchen just begging for you to taste them. These Orange Cinnamon Rolls are a version of something we used to have on Christmas when I was a kid.
Every Christmas morning, my mom made cinnamon rolls with orange icing for us to eat for breakfast after we opened our presents. They weren’t fancy or even homemade but they were SO good! In hindsight, it’s funny, as she made almost everything from scratch so I think it probably came down to time and the aversion to working with dough that needs rise. While her mother was the one that taught me to bake, my mom was more of a cook than a baker.
I know lots of people that avoid making cinnamon rolls and other baked goods that call for yeast at home because baking with yeast intimidates them. They worry that it’s too complicated and the dough won’t rise properly. Even as an experienced baker, it intimidated me for many years. Using Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Yeast will change your entire point of view about baking with yeast. This yeast removes the intimidation and makes the process accessible for all who love freshly baked cinnamon rolls!
How to Make Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch
- First, check the expiration date of your yeast. Old yeast can be what makes the dough to fail to rise.
- Next, you’ll mix the dry ingredients together in the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if you are using a hand-held mixer)
- Next, it’s time to heat the water and butter. Be sure to heat the water to lukewarm (120 – 130). If you don’t have a thermometer, it should be warm but not hot to the touch as too much heat will kill the yeast and prevent it from rising. You’ll want to be able to drink it without burning your mouth.
- Then the water, butter and egg get added to the dry ingredients to form the dough. A bit more flour gets added to obtain the right consistency. You’re looking to form a ball of dough at this point in the process.
- Now it’s time to knead the dough. Turn it out onto a floured work surface, sprinkle it with a bit more flour and start kneading. This process will take 6-8 minutes and you will want to add small amounts of flour as you go. This ensures the dough maintains the right consistency and also doesn’t stick to your hands. Then you cover it and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
- Then it’s time to roll the dough and form the rolls.
- Once you’ve got the rolls in your baking dish you’ll let them rise for about an hour. Then it’s into the oven until they are a nice golden brown.
- Add a bit of glaze and you are ready to serve.
There is something about baking that creates a connection with friends and family. It’s a great way to show people you care while bringing them together at the same time. Imagine your kitchen filled with people anxiously waiting for these cinnamon rolls to come out of the oven. Enjoy!!
Orange Cinnamon Rolls
For the rolls
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 packets, 4 ½ teaspoons Fleischmann's® RapidRise® Yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cups water
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- ½ tablespoon orange zest
For the filling
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup pecan pieces
- 3 tablespoons salted butter, very soft
For the glaze
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Thoroughly grease a 13x9 baking pan.
- Mix the dry ingredients. Combine 2 cups of flour, sugar, dry yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a large spoon, stir the mixture until blended.
- Heat the water. Place the water and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High in 15 second increments until the water is very warm but not to the touch (120° to 130°F). The butter will be soft but not fully melted. Add the water butter mixture, the egg and the zest to the flour mixture.
- Form the dough. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer and beat at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Add an additional cup of flour; beat for 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in just enough remaining flour so that the dough will form into a ball.
- Knead the dough. Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 6 to 8 minutes. To maintain the right consistency and keep the dough from sticking to your hands, add small amounts of flour as you are kneading.The dough should be smooth and elastic and will spring back when lightly pressed with two fingers. Cover with a towel; let rest for 10 minutes.
- Make the filling. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Roll the dough. Using the same lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a 17 x 10-inch rectangle using a rolling pin.
- Make the rolls. Using a large spoon, spread 3 tablespoons of softened butter over dough, leaving at least ½-inch from the edges on the long sides. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Starting at the long end of the rectangle, roll up tightly. Carefully cut into in to 12 equal pieces using a serrated knife. Place, cut sides down, in the prepared baking dish. Cover with towel; let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes.
- Make the glaze. While the rolls are baking, combine the powdered sugar, butter and orange juice (start with 2 tablespoons orange juice and add more if needed) in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Drizzle over the cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.
- You can use unflavored dental floss instead of a knife to cut the rolls. To do, cut a piece of floss about 12 inches long. Slide the floss under the roll. Bring the ends up and cross over to cut each roll.