Every year I make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. The family goes crazy over them! They are a bit time consuming so if you don't have the willpower to wake up at 5:00AM to start the dough for a normal breakfast, you can always make them for brunch. I tried an overnight rise on the dough once and it did not turn out for me but feel free to give that a whirl too. You seriously have to make these cinnamon rolls at least once...they will knock your socks off!
P.S. These can totally be made vegan by using Earth Balance sticks instead of butter, Tofuti Cream Cheese instead of regular, Egg Replacer for the eggs, and sub soy milk for regular milk. It works perfectly as well. I've made them both ways!
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup sugar (preferably unbleached but you can use whatever you have)
1 cup milk (or 1 cup soy milk)
2 eggs (or 2 eggs worth of egg replacer according to box directions)
1/3 cup butter, melted (or 1/3 cup Earth Balance, melted)
4 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened (or 1/3 cup Earth Balance, softened)
4 oz cream cheese, softened (or 4 oz Tofuti, softened)
1/4 cup butter, softened (or 1/4 cup Earth Balance)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
Using the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the yeast, sugar, and warmed milk and let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes). Using the dough hook attachment, turn the mixer on low and add eggs, melted butter, flour and salt. Knead about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic, not sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to double in size, at least an hour.
After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured work surface and cover to allow to rest another 10 minutes.
While the dough is resting, combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl.
Roll the dough out into a large 16x21 rectangle. Spread the filling ingredients evenly over the dough. Roll the dough snugly and cut the ends off by about 1/2 inch or so (the ends always have less filling! :) Cut the remaining dough into 12 sections using a sharp knife.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan with a little more butter. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also sprinkle a bit more brown sugar and cinnamon in the bottom for extra gooeyness. Place the rolls in the baking dish and cover again to allow time to rise. They should almost double in size and take about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Once the rolls are risen, bake about 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
Enjoy these with a steaming cup of coffee and you will be in heaven!