Recipe makes: 24 rolls
For the dough:
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup milk, lightly warmed
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 - 5 cups flour
For the filling:
4 small cinnamon sticks
1 anise pod (if you have one)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds or powder
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
For the icing:
4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
Begin by making the dough. Sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk in a large bowl and set the mixture aside for 5 minutes until it is slightly bubbly. Then, use a whisk the paddle attachment of a standing mixer (or just a regular whisk if you are mixing by hand) to beat in the sugar, softened butter, eggs, vanilla and salt. Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time until the dough is very thick.
Then, remove the dough from the bowl and knead it out on a lightly floured surface until it is smooth. If you have a standing mixture, you can also use the hook to knead the dough for about 5 minutes (by hand this should take about 7 minutes).
Wipe out the same bowl and spray is lightly with vegetable oil. Shape the dough into a ball and place it inside the greased bowl, turning it around to make sure that it's coated with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until it doubles (about 2 hours).
Now, start to make the filling. Grind the spices together until they are fine and mix in the brown sugar (if you don't have a spice grinder, then buy these spices already ground). If you decide that you do not want to use all the spices, or are using ground cinnamon instead of whole, then use about 3-4 tablespoons instead. Cream the butter together with the spices and sugar.
To bake, lightly grease two 9-inch cake pans and on a floured surface roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 14 inches by 24 inches. Once the dough is rolled out, slather it with the creamed butter, sugar and spice mixture, spreading it nearly to the edges. Roll up the dough on the long side, stretching and pulling the dough into a tight roll. Then, using a knife, cut the large roll into 24 individual rolls.
Divide the cut rolls into the prepared pans and let rise in a warm place until the rolls double in size, for about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (176 Celsius). Then bake the rolls for about 20 minutes until they just begin to brown.
For the icing, beat the cream cheese, milk, vanilla and sugar together, adding more powdered sugar as necessary to get the consistency you need. Drizzle over the hot rolls with a fork and serve while warm and divine.
Follow the recipe up until baking. Partially bake the rolls for 10 minutes, then remove them and let them cool. Freeze them in their pans or in freezer bags for up to a month. To finish baking them, remove them from the freezer and let them thaw overnight. In the morning, bake the rolls at 350 Fahrenheit (176 Celsius) for 10 to 15 minutes. Frost with the icing and serve warm!
Enjoy these cinnamon rolls piping hot with your cup of coffee and it's sure to be a start to a fantastic day!