Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Hubby’s mom and boyfriend were coming to visit one weekend and I wanted to make something special for brunch. They were planning on rolling into town around 10am and I’m not much of a morning person so I wanted things I could make ahead of time. I decided on a quiche and these overnight cinnamon rolls. I happen to love Alton Brown and his show Good Eats. I DVR it and watch religiously. I love the science behind food. Then I saw these cinnamon rolls in Joelen’s blog (btw check out her funny story about when Joelen met Alton Brown!) and knew they would be perfect.

I was a little worried because the rolls did not do much rising during their 30 minutes in the oven with boiling water. They hadn’t poofed too much, but I threw them in the oven anyways and hoped for the best. I guess it was my lucky day because they poofed right up while they were baking. They turned out delicious and I’ll definitely be making these again.

Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls – from
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 large whole egg, room temperature
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, 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

8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons

2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
3 tablespoons milk
5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups

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 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. 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. 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 30 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.

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17 Responses to “Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls and How to Freeze Cinnamon Rolls”

  1. #
    Megan — January 10, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I think it’s very interesting that KAF has you freeze after baking. With most yeast things, you can pop them in the freezer before the second rise, and then take them out the night before, let them have a slow rise in the fridge, and then leave them out until they are proofed and then bake. It seems so much easier to just partially bake them. Interesting.

    All the flavors sound incredible!

  2. #
    Lauren — January 10, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    1. Pumpkin cinnamon rolls are fabulous, and these look great!
    2. I love the tip about pre-baking the rolls before freezing. I will definitely be employing that technique :).

  3. #
    Boston Food Diary — January 10, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    These sound AMAZING! I’ve been fearful of making cinnamon rolls- both for the baking and having them around- this is great to know though! Thanks!

  4. #
    Bridget — January 10, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    No fair using my recipe and then making prettier cinnamon rolls than me. Hmph!

    Oh well, I suppose it’s worth it to find about this great freezing trick!

  5. #
    Anonymous — January 10, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Wow, do those look and sound delicious! Thanks for the info on how to freeze the rolls. I think I’ll attempt yeast soon.

  6. #
    Fun and Fearless in Beantown — January 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing the tip on freezing cinnamon rolls. I seriously love KAF’s helpful hints on their blog and website!

  7. #
    stephchows — January 10, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    ok what a brilliant idea!! I love making pumpkin cinnamon rolls, I just made a batch last weekend 🙂

  8. #
    Rhondi — January 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Oh YUM! Thanks for the freezing tips. I wanted to make my kids homemade cinnamon rolls this weekend, but like you, didn’t want them sitting around to tempt me! Does the pumpkin make the rolls really moist? I’m saving this recipe.

  9. #
    Jen — January 10, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Rhondi – I found the dough to be similar to other cinnamon roll dough as far as the moistness goes.

  10. #
    Christina — January 10, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    I haven’t had cinnamon rolls in such a long time! I can’t wait to try these.

  11. #
    In and Around Town — January 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    These look great – the pumpkin is such a nice touch. Love the freezing tips!

  12. #
    EliFla — January 10, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Hello as I am sure you know here in Italy we use the yeast in very many recipes. To freeze some dough leavened with baking powder (such as croissants or Daddy), some experts have advised me after giving shape to freeze before the final rise, then remove from freezer the night before putting in the oven thawing, and morning turn on the oven and cook as usual. I must tell you that I tried and the result was perfect.
    Ciao Flavia

  13. #
    innochkaskitchen — January 11, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Yum! I LOVE cinnamon rolls and pumpkin cinnamon rolls are definitely a nice change-up from the usual plain cinnamon rolls. Great recipe!

  14. #
    Michael - Innkeeper — January 11, 2011 at 1:29 am

    pumpkin cinnamon rolls!? get out of town!? these look ah-mazing!!!!

  15. #
    Kerstin — January 12, 2011 at 3:29 am

    I love your freezing tip! I actually haven’t tried making cinnamon rolls yet, but will soon! It’s nice to know you can make them the night before too and then just finish baking in the morning.

  16. #
    Torviewtoronto — January 12, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    delicious a favourite I make similar

  17. #
    Tiffany @ Triple Crème Decadence — February 20, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    I never knew pumpkin cinnamon rolls existed until now. Looks and sounds divine!

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