There is nothing like waking up to some fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven cinnamon rolls. But really, who has the time to make the dough, let it rise, roll it out and shape it, let it rise again, and then bake it in the morning? Not I.
I really wanted some cinnamon rolls for breakfast, but I wanted them to be freshly baked. I vaguely remembered that Alton Brown had a recipe for some overnight cinnamon rolls. His method still takes some time in the morning, approximately an hour and a half. But with a little prep work the night before and some inactive work in the morning, we had some tender, sweet, cinnamon rolls to enjoy on this crisp October morning.
I used an 18 by 13 inch jelly roll pan because I wanted them to be spaced apart so all of the rolls would have an outer crust. If you prefer to have some with a crust and some without, just use a 9 by 13 inch pan. Either way, they are delightful.
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Alton Brown
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4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, using some to butter your pan
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
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. 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. 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.
Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
Butter an 18 by 13-inch jelly roll pan (a 9x13 glass pan can be used as well). 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. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture, walnuts, and raisins 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. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
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.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the oven is ready, 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 25 minutes.
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.