It’s nearly impossible to imagine a perfect morning breakfast and not dream of ooey-gooey cinnamon rolls. Buttermilk is the secret weapon. Slightly sour and deliciously creamy, buttermilk adds a subtle zing, making these rolls spectacular.
It always felt like a special morning when, as a child, I would awake to to the intoxicating smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the kitchen. Is it a holiday? Are we having guests? Is a princess visiting us?
These sugary treasures puffing up in the oven so filled the house with their sweet, buttery fragrance that you had to pinch yourself to be sure you weren't still dreaming.
It wasn't until I went away to college that I began to think, Um, perhaps I could attempt such magic in my own home. It wasn't really much of a home during those college days: a rinky-dink, two bedroom apartment with five girls and about five tons of clothes everywhere. But we loved it. And I loved those girls. So, I decided, if our finicky oven was going to rarely get a workout, I might as well attempt the most down-home, just-like-mom-made, cinnamon rolls.
It's been years now since those college days and even more since those mornings as a child. Over those years, I've been experimenting with additions to the recipe and came across buttermilk. Buttermilk added a wonderfully subtle, almost sour zing to the sugary richness of my mom's cinnamon rolls. The outcome is still the same: Sticky, smiling faces gathered around an early morning breakfast table with happy bellies and satisfied souls.
makes 18-20 rolls
2 pkgs active dry yeast
¼ c warm water
1 ½ c buttermilk
½ c vegetable oil
4 ½ c all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
½ c butter, softened
1 ¼ c brown sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
for the icing
¼ c butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 c confectioner’s sugar
Dissolve 2 pkgs of yeast in ¼ c warm water. Stir until well mixed and then let stand for 10 minutes or until creamy.
Heat 1 ½ c buttermilk in a heavy bottom saucepan until warm.
Mix the warmed buttermilk, ½ c oil, and the yeast mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine 4 ½ c flour, 1 tsp salt, and ½ baking soda. Stir in dry mixture to liquid mixture 1c at a time.
Flour your counter surface, hands, and dough. Knead approximately 20 times. Place back in bowl, cover with a dishtowel, and let rise for 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, stir together ½ c butter, 1 ¼ c brown sugar, and 1 ½ tsp cinnamon until smooth.
Reflour your surface and drop dough on flour. Roll out dough into a long, oval shape. Spread cinnamon mixture over your rolled dough.
Roll up dough into a log. Slice pieces about 2” thick. Place each roll in a well buttered casserole dish. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
Bake in preheated oven at 400˚ for 20-25 minutes.
If topping, cream together all ingredients of the icing and top while rolls are still warm.