- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (bread flour may be substituted; rolls will be firmer and chewier rather than softer and fluffier; you may only need 2 1/4 cups bread flour) + extra flour if needed, see directions
- 1 cup buttermilk, warmed to manufacturer's directions, see directions
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet)
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), very soft
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons cinnamon
- 4 ounces cream cheese, very soft (light cream cheese may be substituted, but it's runnier and you may want to skip the cream)
- about 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- about 2 to 3 tablespoons cream, half-and-half, or milk (eggnog, maple syrup, orange juice, Baileys, or Kahlua may be substituted if desired)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9-inch pie dish (holds about 9 rolls) and a 9x5-inch loaf pan (holds about 5 rolls) OR prepare a 9x13 pan by spraying with cooking spray or grease and flour the pan(s); set aside. See blog post for explanation about pan sizes.
- Dough - To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or large mixing bowl and hand-knead), combine all dough ingredients and knead for about 7 minutes, or until dough is soft, smooth, and has come together in a firm mass. If hand-kneading, you may need to knead a few minutes longer. Note - Based brand of yeast used, buttermilk temperature will vary. Red Star Platinum yeast calls for a warmer temperature than most, 120 to 130F; other brands are much lower, about 95 to 105F. Warm buttermilk according to the yeast manufacturer's recommendations on the packaging. This takes about 1 minute in a glass measuring cup in my microwave. Taking the temperature with a digital thermometer is recommended, but if you're not, make sure the water is warm, not hot. Err on the cooler rather than hotter side so you don't kill the yeast. Note - Dough should be smooth, not overly sticky, and fairly easy to handle. If your dough is very wet, moist, sticky, or gloppy, add flour in 1 tablespoon increments until it comes together easily.
- Turn dough out onto a Silpat-lined or cooking sprayed work surface.
- Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangle that's approximately 9x14 inches. Use a 9x13 pan and just eyeball it so the dough is a little longer than the pan.
- Filling - Spread butter in an even layer over the surface of the dough, leaving about 1/4-inch margins around edges; set aside.
- In a small bowl, add sugars, cinnamon, and stir to combine. Evenly sprinkle mixture over the buttered dough.
- Starting with the 14-inch side, roll dough up into a tight log.
- Make approximately 1-inch slices using plain (not mint) waxed or unwaxed dental floss. It's the best way to slice rolls so they don't get squished and lopsided.
- Place rolls into prepared pan(s).
- Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through and set. I baked for exactly 20 minutes. Watch rolls closely so you don't burn them. The dough is so white and will fool you into thinking it's still raw when it's not. Rolls continue to firm up as they cool. While rolls bake, make the frosting.
- Frosting -Combine all frosting ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, and beat with an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk until smooth and combined. Based on desired frosting consistency, you may need to play with the sugar and cream ratios slightly.
- Apply frosting to rolls as desired. I placed some frosting in a small sandwich bag, cut the corner, and made swirls. Smearing it on fast and thick with a spatula is what I prefer to do when not photographing them. Extra frosting will keep airtight for many weeks. Rolls are best eaten warm and fresh but will keep airtight for up to 2 days. Reheat gently in microwave before serving if desired. I'm comfortable storing frosted rolls at room temperature, but if you're not, frost only the portion you plan to consume immediately. Rolls may be made, cooled completely, put in a Ziplock (don't frost them) and frozen for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temp, frost, and serve.