Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

6 Dec

The Food Network, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways, well let me just count to one; Alton Brown.  Thank you, thank you a million times over Alton Brown for giving us this creation we call the Cinnamon Roll.  Seriously, if I could give each and every one of you one of these cinnamon rolls I would. Given that I can’t, you really and I mean really have to make these.  I know, some of you may have a recipe that is tried and true but do me this one favour and give these a chance.

There are so many things that I love about this recipe, first and foremost, they can be made the night before and baked in the morning.  Now tell me what’s better than the smell of baking cinnamon buns in the morning….can’t think of anything can you?  This is another first for me, I’ve never made cinnamon buns before thinking that it was too labour intensive ..well yet again I was wrong.  This recipe rocked in its simplicity.  Most of the time spent on it was during the first rise, a little over two hours.  You just have to remember to bring your eggs and buttermilk to room temperature and really, you’re ready to go.

The dough comes together rather quickly in no time.  Please follow the recipe carefully, and if you have a scale I do recommend you use it.  The more reading I do on baking the more I learn that baking with ingredients by weight is actually the most accurate.  Scales are rather inexpensive and if you do a lot of baking it’s well work the investment. Now where was I, ah yes the dough.  Be sure not to add too much flour, otherwise you’ll end up with tough dough.  You can always add too little and if you need more add it in at the end.  You should end up with a soft and smooth dough once kneaded.

And you better have butter on hand, as you will use it thrice.  The first time in the dough itself, secondly in the filling and last brushing it on the dough once rolled out.  Now to you get why these are so good, add butter to anything and it will just taste better.  Which reminds me, I’m running a little low on my supply…I better replenish.

The most difficult thing about this recipe is the waiting, the first rise and then the overnight rise.  I was so anxious during the first rise, worrying that it wouldn’t rise at all given how cold the weather has gotten.  Paranoid me swaddled the bowl that held the dough in a table cloth and one blanket and place it near a chair by the radiator. 

Well I think I have said just about enough, I’ll get to the recipe which I hope you will make….and if you do please come back and let me know how much you loved them.

And if you’re still wondering how good these are, just take a look at the picture below.

Now the only problem…..how can I top this breakfast?

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Alton Brown; Good Eats


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 or use vegetable spray, such as Pam. 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.


12 Responses to “Overnight Cinnamon Rolls”

  1. Memoria December 6, 2009 at 2:15 PM #

    I usually use the clone of a cinnabon recipe, which you can also prepare overnight (and it uses butter thrice, too). It seems to have more filling than this AB recipe, but I like the idea of using egg yolks in the dough. I must try this one out very soon. Your photos are very tempting. Yum!

    • Anna December 6, 2009 at 6:14 PM #

      I have never come across the cinnabon recipe, but I bet it they’re pretty deadly. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. April December 6, 2009 at 7:41 PM #

    Alton Brown is about the only person on Food Network I watch these days– I always learn something new from him and his recipes never fail! I haven’t seen this cinnamon roll one before– glad I came across your blog today!

    • Anna December 7, 2009 at 10:36 AM #

      Fear not April, you can find the episode for on your tube.

  3. Karly December 6, 2009 at 8:21 PM #

    These look amazing!

  4. hungry dog December 8, 2009 at 2:19 PM #

    Oh my. These look incredible. I always assumed cinnamon rolls would be a ton of work and never really considered making them. But your post has me convinced otherwise. I would die for one right now!

    • Anna December 8, 2009 at 9:40 PM #

      Please do try them, you will only need to make them once and you’ll get the hang of it!

  5. Heavenly Housewife December 10, 2009 at 11:10 AM #

    Thanks for this, these are simply stunning. Its totally going into my bookmarks folder!

  6. pigpigscorner December 12, 2009 at 10:58 AM #

    These look amzing!

  7. Yum Yucky December 17, 2009 at 9:55 AM #

    Oh gawsh. I just flipped out of my chair and my greedy eyeball popped out.

    Splendid indeed!

    Now time to find my eyeball…..

  8. Virginia May 1, 2010 at 11:47 PM #

    I hope you do not mind but I have an ongoing link of things I want to make…and these must be on it!! To bad it is 1am or I would make them now.


  1. Wielding a knife « The Happiness Project - March 8, 2010

    […] I made the cream cheese icing for the GBs sick boy cinnamon roll request.  

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