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Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls

Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Hands-on time 30 mins
Total time 3 hrs, 40 mins
Yield

Makes 16 rolls

Make sure your butter is very soft when you spread it on the rolled dough so the dough doesn't tear.

Ingredients

  • 1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 1 cup plus 1 tsp. granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 5 cups bread flour, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup very soft butter
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans
  • Cream Cheese Icing

How to Make It

  1. Stir together first 2 ingredients and 1 tsp. granulated sugar in a glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.

  2. Beat 1/2 cup softened butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 tsp. salt, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and next 2 ingredients, beating until blended. Stir in yeast mixture.

  3. Stir together 4 1/2 cups flour and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed 1 minute or until well blended.

  4. Heavily flour a flat surface; turn dough out, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes), adding up to 1/2 cup more bread flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking. Place dough in a lightly greased (with cooking spray) large bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (80° to 85°), free from drafts, 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in bulk.

  5. Punch dough down; turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 16- x 12-inch rectangle. Spread with 1/2 cup very soft butter, leaving a 1-inch border around edges. Stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and sprinkle sugar mixture over butter. Top with pecans.

  6. Roll up dough, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side; cut into 16 slices (about 1 inch thick). Place rolls, cut sides down, in 2 lightly greased (with cooking spray) 9-inch square pans. Cover with plastic wrap.

  7. Let rolls rise in a warm place (80° to 85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

  8. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Spread Cream Cheese Icing over rolls. Serve warm.

Cook's Notes

To make ahead, prepare recipe through Step 6, and cover with aluminum foil. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw covered rolls in refrigerator overnight. Let rise as directed, allowing extra rising time. Bake and ice as directed.