Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

“Life is too short for self-hatred and celery sticks.” ~ Marilyn Wann

That quote basically encapsulates my struggle right now. I love food. I don’t believe in diets, because I think that permanently denying yourself foods will just make you want them more. Plus, why take all the fun out of life?? But I am trying to be good most of the time right now. And looking at these pictures is pure torture, because I remember how GOOOOOOD these cinnamon rolls were.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

But I have a secret. I’m not really into cinnamon rolls. Except these cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls are like if you just took the gooey center of the roll (the only good part) and made it ALL of the roll.

THESE CINNAMON ROLLS ARE EVERYTHING.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting done

People had raved about The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll recipe, so when I decided to try my hand at cinnamon rolls I knew I had to try these ones. I was scared, honestly. Cinnamon rolls look like so much work, and I’ve never thought they were worth the effort. Boy, was I wrong.

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting cut2

These are 5-star levels of gooey, they’re sweet, they’re maple-y, the bread is moist and soft. Perfect. They’re perfect. And they were actually not that hard to make. Yes, there were a few steps, but they weren’t hard or even super time consuming. I just had to plan ahead in terms of starting them the night before, but otherwise they came together pretty easily.

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting 2

How decadent are these cinnamon rolls?? Well, I polished off the last four (DON’T JUDGE.) the morning that I gave blood (so I could start eating healthy the next day, natch), and when my cholesterol results came back they were like 50 points higher than normal. It was insane. Granted, I’d also had like seven of them the day before. Still. Crazy.

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting milk

For the dough, heat the milk, oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. You want it to reach a strong simmer—when it’s still just below a boil, pull it off the heat and set aside to cool until warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit and bloom for a couple minutes (I let it go 10 minutes).

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting dough

Add 4 cups of the flour and stir until just combined. It’ll be rough and shaggy, it’s supposed to be. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set in a relatively warm place for an hour (I ran my microwave for a couple minutes and then placed the bowl in there). After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Stir thoroughly to combine.

If you’re not using it right away, place the dough in a bowl and refrigerate up to 3 days. You may have to punch down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl during that time. The Pioneer Woman recommends chilling it for at least an hour before using anyway, because it’s easier to work with.

I was making them the next morning, so I chilled the dough overnight. It’s good to let it sit on the counter for a while to lose the chill when you’re ready to use it (and the dough was still pretty hard when I went to roll it out).

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting dough rolled out

When you’re ready to make the rolls, preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured baking surface and roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin, which was kind of hard with how chilly and tough mine still was.

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting melted butter

Pour the melted butter (I used about 1/2 cup) over the surface of the dough and use your fingers to spread it out evenly.

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting sugar cinnamon

Then sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the butter, very generously. Gooey is the goal, so use a heavy hand!

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting rolled up

Beginning at the side furthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you into a log. Work slowly and use both hands, keeping the roll tight. The filling will ooze some, that’s totally normal. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together (mine didn’t really cooperate) and rotate the roll so that the seam is face down.

Now you have a buttery, cinnamon sugar dough log. Which is, like, awesome.

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting rolled up2

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting cut

Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. The log should make 20-25 rolls.

Use melted butter to coat the bottom of your pans, then carefully place the sliced rolls in the pans. Be careful not to overcrowd.

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting baked

Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking.

Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown (you don’t want them to get overly brown or dry).

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting icing

While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt in a medium bowl, then add in a splash of maple flavoring. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable—I had to add a little extra milk to get it to the right consistency.

cinnamon rolls with maple frosting glaze setting

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting 3

As soon as you pull the pans from the oven, drizzle the icing over the tops of the rolls. Get in all the edges and crevices! Let it sit for a bit if you can, since the rolls absorb the icing and some of the maple flavoring as they sit. I won’t lie, though, I had to eat one right away!

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting closeup

Oh man, these were so amazing. Look at how gooey! Look at the icing! Look at the moist bread! And the cinnamon-sugar goodness!

Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Frosting

What’s listed below is halving the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, makes around 20 rolls

Rolls:

  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 package of active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 4 cups of all-purpose flour (plus 1/2 cup extra, reserved)
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 scant teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 heaping tablespoon of salt
  • Plenty of melted butter (I used over 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Generous sprinkling of cinnamon

Maple Frosting:

  • 1-pound bag of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of maple flavoring
  • 1/3 cup of milk (you may need more, to make it the right consistency)
  • 1/8 cup of melted butter
  • 1/8 cup of brewed coffee
  • Big pinch of salt

For the dough, heat the milk, oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to a strong simmer—when it reaches just below a boil, pull it off the heat and set aside. Let it cool until warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit and bloom for a couple minutes (I let it go 10 minutes).  Add 4 cups of the flour and stir until just combined (it’ll be rough and shaggy, that’s totally cool). Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set in a relatively warm place for an hour (I ran my microwave for a couple minutes and then placed the bowl in there). After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Stir thoroughly to combine.

If you’re not using it right away, you can place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate up to 3 days (punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl during that time). The Pioneer Woman recommends chilling it for at least an hour, because it’s easier to work with. I was making them the next morning, so I chilled the dough overnight. It’s good to let it sit on the counter for a while to lose the chill when you’re ready to use it (and the dough was still pretty hard when I went to roll it out).

When you’re ready to make the rolls, preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured baking surface and roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin, which was a little difficult with how chilly and tough mine still was. Pour the melted butter (I used about 1/2 cup) over the surface of the dough and use your fingers to spread it out evenly. Then generously sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the butter. Gooey is the goal, so use a heavy hand!

Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Work slowly and use both hands, keeping the roll tight. It’s okay if the filling oozes, you’ll lose some filling but that’s totally normal. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together (mine didn’t cooperate too well) and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. Now you have a buttery, cinnamon sugar dough log.

Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. The log should make 20-25 rolls. Use melted butter to coat the bottom of your pans, then carefully place the sliced rolls in the pans. Be careful not to overcrowd. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown (you don’t want them to get overly brown).

While the rolls are baking, make the maple icing. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, butter, coffee, and salt in a medium bowl, then add in a splash of maple flavoring. The icing should be somewhat thick but still very pourable, so you may need a little extra milk to get it to the right consistency.

As soon as you pull the pans from the oven, drizzle the icing over the tops of the rolls. Be sure to get in all the edges and crevices, and let sit for a bit if you can since the rolls absorb some of the maple flavoring (I had to eat one right away though!).

Original recipe from the Pioneer Woman

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