I created this recipe from a modified bread recipe and it is a huge hit! I realize it is not "heirloom." I have to start my own. My mother doesn't really cook much and my grandmother used other recipes which were tasty, but not drool worthy.
In a large mixing bowl add the sugar and the instant yeast, then pour the warm water over them. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes until it looks foamy on top.
To the foamy mixture, add the egg, butter, and powdered milk and mix well.
Add the flour, salt, and cinnamon. Just a note. I cannot attest to the quality of the recipe using generic AP flour. King Arthur has never let me down!
Place your dough hook on the mixer and machine knead until smooth (about 10 minutes). Remove from bowl and hand knead for a few seconds to get the feel for the dough and to feel really authentic.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, either butter flavored or canola, I don't recommend the olive oil cooking spray. Pat the dough into a ball and place in the lubricated bowl. Cover with some plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled (about an hour.)
Toward the end of rising time, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch in a bowl. Maybe you are asking why cornstarch? It makes the innards OH SO GOOEY, without letting them run out all over the place and burn in the bottom of the pan. In theory, you could use arrowroot or xanthan gum. If you have them on hand, by all means, but I find arrowroot tends to create more of a slimy texture.
Once the dough has risen, press it down gently the pour out of the bowl onto a clean surface and give it about for knead folds to get all the air out. Cover and let rest about 10 minutes to relax the gluten for the next step.
Flour a large surface and roll the dough out into a rectangle about 18 inches by 24 inches. I do a lot of patting because I hate misshapen rectangles. Now here is where I used to get confused reading cinnamon roll recipes. Which end do I roll? Okay, so I am blonde, but sometimes these things are not clear. Anyway, I digress. Spread the softened butter all over the rolled out dough except for about an inch toward the end of the short part. The dough will be rolled into itself from the 18 inch side. See You will cut 12 2-inch rolls from the 24 inch side. I hope this makes sense. Anyway, you want to reserve a bit of the dough for pinching. Buttered dough is really frustrating to try and pinch and you HAVE to pinch!
Next, sprinkle the cinnamon, brown sugar, cornstarch mix over the butter, still leaving that clean edge for pinching. Spread it out all over making a huge sticky mess.
Now the tricky part. From the center of the long edge of the dough, start to roll the dough...TIGHTLY! You work from middle and out to edges, back and forth, until it is all the way rolled up. Don't worry if the roll seems uneven, better uneven then loose. We want this as tight as possible.
When you get to that clean edge, grab it and bring it up to complete the roll and pinch the dough together at the seam. Keep pinching until you know there are no sneaky little holes that will come undone after you slice the rolls. Turn the seam side down and let rest about 5 minutes
Prepare either 2 deep 9-inch cake pans or a nice deep 11x14 pan by placing parchment paper along the bottom and sides of the pan(s). You want deep because if the sugar spills over it burns in the oven, smells nasty, and makes you feel paranoid that you are burning your rolls!
Even up the outside edges giving them a push or nudge. Some cut these off. ARE YOU CRAZY? I am not wanting to waste any of my hard work here! Now take a sharp knife and cut at about 2-inch intervals until you have 11 or 12 rolls. I am not picky about this step, just have to remember to adjust the cook time if they are thicker.
Place the rolls side-by-side with the cinnamon part up. I am going to go ahead and assume that you already know what cinnamon rolls look like, but just in case, the twirly part is on the top and bottom! Cover and let rise in a warm place for about a half hour. 15 minutes in preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Don't start these in a cold oven. Good things come to those who are patient!
Bake the risen rolls in the 375 oven for anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes. I say this because 2 inches is never really 2 inches. Watch them, when they begin to brown, they are almost done!
Meanwhile. Throw the softened cream cheese and butter into your mixer and whip them together. Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar. Start slow with the powdered sugar or you will lose half of it when it flies all over your cabinets and coffee pot! When it seems like it won't fly out anymore, turn the speed up to whip. Now if it is too thick (you want it to be like thick cake frosting) you can add half and half about 1/2 teaspoon at a time. If too thin, add more powdered sugar. Alternately, you could cheat and use canned cream cheese frosting. I will let you in on a little secret on how I make my cheesecake and cream cheese frosting more tart. I add a half teaspoon of citric acid! YES, I did say that...you can even sort of fake sourdough with it!
SO now that your entire family is drooling all over you and you oven has been opened 90 times, take the rolls out and tell them they have to suffer another 15 minutes. Let them finish cooking in the pan on the cooling rack. Frost them with thick globs of the frosting. Now the MOST important step. Take 2 out and hide them in your secretmost hiding place. I promise these will be gone in 60 seconds, kinda like Thanksgiving, all that work and the anticlimax of devouring in 30 minutes!