Sunday, March 20, 2011

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

I am kind of a science dork; therefore I love Alton Brown and Good Eats.  His method of explaining recipes and science is great and his food/recipes are amazing!  I have made many of his recipes, mostly dinner stuff, but for a long time I have wanted to make his overnight cinnamon rolls.  I loved the idea of doing all the work the night before and in the morning just being able to pop them in the oven.   I decided today was just as good as any other day to try these so off to the supermarket I went.  I guess I bought the wrong kind of yeast and I didn’t realize it until after I had made the dough and was waiting for it to rise.  I was reading the reviews and someone had said that if you bought active dry yeast then you need to follow the directions on the package before adding it to the bowl.  I was very disappointed that I had made such a crucial mistake, but I decided to continue making them even though the dough didn’t rise much.  In then end the cinnamon rolls turned out ok, they were just very dense.  I didn’t want to make a cream cheese frosting so I just made a simple glaze to drizzle over the rolls.  I hope this recipe will encourage all the other bakers out there to try making cinnamon rolls for your families!  If you have only a few people in your house and don’t want to make all 12 cinnamon rolls, you can freeze them after they are rolled and cut up.  I have 3 more batches of 3 rolls that I can bake up any morning!  

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls - Adapted from Alton Brown
Dough Ingredients:
4 Eggs Yolks, room temperature
1 Egg, room temperature
1/4 Cup Sugar
6 Tablespoons Butter, unsalted and melted
3/4 Cup Buttermilk, room temperature
3 1/2 - 4 Cups Flour
1 Package Instant Dry Yeast - Not ActiveDry - If you buy active then you must follow directions on package first
1 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Cooking Spray for pan

Filling Ingredients:
1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Pinch of Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter, unsalted and melted

Glaze Ingredients:
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

  1. For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. 
  2. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined.
  3.  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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. For the Filling, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
  7. Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. 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. 
  8. Sprinkle the filling mixture 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. 
  9. 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.
  10. The next morning, 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.  I accidentally skipped this step, but i already had dough rising problems.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  12. When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  13. While the rolls are cooling slightly, 
  14. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.
  15. Enjoy!!


  1. I love cinnamon rolls and these look wonderful. Working with yeast can be so tricky and heartbreaking sometimes, can't it? They look delicious though and the glaze sounds wonderful!

  2. My trick with yeast is that I always proof it regardless of what the recipe says (just in case I bought the wrong kind). Still, your cinnamon rolls look fantastic. I've never tried Alton Brown's one before, but the man sure knows his stuff when it comes to recipes.

  3. Your cinnamon roll look so yummy! ^_^