Mother’s Day Cinnamon Rolls

12 May

This is me and my mom circa 1993. Honestly, she hasn’t aged a day. (She’ll tell you otherwise, but it’s simply not true.) She still has that radiant smile and silky, luminous dark hair. She still listens to me talk for hours on end. She still rubs my temples when I have a headache, and she still brings me ginger ale and a piece of buttered toast when I have a tummy ache. She still loves to take care of me, and I still love to let her.

If I were at home this year for Mother’s Day, you’d better believe I’d be up at 5 a.m. to make these cinnamon rolls for my mom. They are her favorite, and she always begs me to make some when I’m visiting. Instead, I made them for myself, and I’m torturing her with the pictures. (That’s almost as satisfying, right?)

Let’s make these in honor of our moms this year. You’ll feel all warm and fuzzy when you’re eating them.

Sprinkle yeast into warm water. Let it get all foamy.

Whisk to dissolve the yeast.

In another bowl, combine the butter, pudding mix, milk, egg, sugar, and salt. Then add the yeast mixture.

Mix in 2 cups of flour.

Knead with the dough hook and form into a ball.

Let rise until doubled.

Roll it out into a big rectangle.

Spread with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Roll it up like a jelly roll.

Cut into 16 pieces.

Let them rise in the pan, and bake.

Meanwhile, whip up some light cream cheese frosting.

Spread it all over the gooey rolls. Eat your heart out.

Makes 16 rolls


1/4 cup warm water
1 (.25 oz.) package or 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup whole milk, warm
1 egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour

2 T. butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

4 oz. light cream cheese, softened
1 T. butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons whole milk


Add the warmed water to a small bowl, and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let the yeast stand until softened, about 5 minutes, then whisk until the yeast dissolves. Fix the pudding while the yeast foams. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the melted butter, pudding mix, milk, egg, sugar, and salt, and stir until combined. Add the yeast mixture to the pudding mixture, and stir to combine. Measure out 2 cups of the flour and mix gently by hand.

Fit the stand mixer with the dough hook and knead the mixture on medium-low speed, adding the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed to low and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and springy, about 2 more minutes.

Remove the dough and form it into a smooth ball. Meanwhile, lightly oil the bowl of the stand mixer. Replace the dough, turn to coat with oil, and arrange smooth side up. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 17×10-inch rectangle. Spread with softened butter. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over dough, leaving a 1-inch border uncovered along one long edge.

Starting at the long edge covered with filling, roll up dough snugly like a jelly roll. Pinch the seam to seal, but leave both ends open. Slice into 16 one-inch slices, and place in 9×13 buttered pan. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes. While rolls bake, stir together cream cheese, softened butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and milk. Remove rolls from oven and spread with frosting.

Adapted from here and here

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