Mini Cinnamon Rolls

Do you remember that line in You've Got Mail where Tom Hanks' character write's to Meg Ryan's that he's working on a project that needs...tweaking?

That's kind of how I approached these cinnamon rolls.  I used Pioneer Woman's recipe because they're the bomb, but I made a few little adjustments here and there. The full recipe makes waaaayyyy too many, so I cut it in half. Instead of using all oil, I used half butter & half canola oil, because BUTTER. And sorry, but I don't do coffee, so I did a simple vanilla frosting instead of the  maple coffee one she uses.  But other than that?  Totally the same...ish.

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Except that instead of rolls as big as your fist, these ones are as cute as a button.  The idea of a monstrous cinnamon roll to start the day off kinda gives me a headache.  The reality of it puts me into a sugar coma.  And that ain't no way to start any day.

So I made them mini! Throw in some fruit and eggs, and you have a perfect, indulgent weekend breakfast. (That was a hint about what you should do this weekend.)

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Mini Cinnamon Rolls

  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup reserved
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
     
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/3-1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
     
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 4-5 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

To make the dough: Combine the milk, butter, oil, and sugar in a saucepan and heat until barely simmering, then place in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Allow it to cool until lukewarm (if it's any hotter than 110°, it'll kill the yeast).  When it has cooled, sprinkle in the yeast and allow to soften for about 2 minutes.  Add in the four cups of flour all at once and mix in your stand mixer with a dough hook until it is all combined.(see Note)  Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to sit for about an hour.

After an hour, the dough will have risen significantly.  Add the reserved 1/2 cup of flour with the salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Stir until well combined-- the dough will be fairly soft and sticky.  At this point, you can use it immediately or refrigerate it overnight-- I typically work with it after refrigerating.

For baking the rolls: Preheat the oven to 350° and line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Grease the parchment paper and edges of the pan well and set aside

To make the rolls, divide the dough into half.  Using your hands, roll into a cylinder shape. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough into a rectangle about 7"x 22." Pour 3 tablespoons of the melted butter over the dough and spread out evenly, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Roll the dough towards yourself lengthwise, making sure to keep the roll fairly tight.  Pinch the ending edge of the dough to the roll and turn over so that the seam side is down.  Using a very sharp knife, cut 1"sections off of the end of the roll.  Place each small roll on the pan.  Repeat with second half of dough.

Allow the rolls to rise for about 10-15 minutes, then bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the center rolls are begging to lightly brown and measure 180° on an instant read thermometer.

For the Icing: Combine the 3 tablespoons of melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.  Add milk until the desired consistency is reached.  I like mine to but thin enough to run a bit, but make sure it's not too watery or it will just soak into the rolls.  Pour the icing over the warm, freshly baked cinnamon rolls and enjoy!

Note: The dough can be make by hand, but the mixer does make it a lot easier.  To mix, simply use a sturdy wooden or metal spoon in place of a dough hook.  This method doubles as an arm workout.