I didn't realize how great cinnamon rolls could be until I made these - or how easy. I think I've always liked cinnamon rolls, but I L.O.V.E these, and so does everyone else in the house. In fact, these cinnamon rolls were the cause of "The Great Cinnamon Roll Incident of 2018." More on that later. With the irresistible flavors of brown butter, dark brown sugar, and vanilla echoing through the dough, filling, and frosting, I'm not sure how anyone could resist them. Just make them and you'll see why these Cinnamon Rolls have become a constant around here.
One of our boys is turning 17 today, and cinnamon rolls are one of his favorites, so you could say he's the inspiration behind this post. With a few pantry staples and about an hour, you can have these rising and nearly ready to shove in the oven. Or, you can prep them the night before and let them rise in the fridge overnight like I did for Christmas this year. Either way, you won't be disappointed with this versatile recipe.
Back to "the incident": I had made these for maybe the 3rd or 4th time, all the kids were home so it must have been a weekend or a holiday. Everyone had already had a few cinnamon rolls for breakfast and there was half a pan left. Jason, Ava, and I ran to the store, and while we were shopping, one of our boys texted and asked if he could have the LAST cinnamon roll. We looked at each other in surprise, which, in retrospect, I'm not sure why we were surprised having 3 teenage boys in the house. Anyway, we got a confession and had to implement cinnamon roll rules after that so that everyone could get their fair share. If that doesn't tell you how good they are, I don't know what will.
A few notes on this brown butter cinnamon roll recipe:
The brown butter definitely adds something special, but I've made it with just regular softened butter and it's perfectly delicious and it shaves off a little time. Because you will be using the brown butter in all three parts of the recipe, just make a big batch using two whole sticks of butter at the beginning; instructions below!
I love the flavor and color the dark brown sugar gives, but you can use light brown or even white sugar in a pinch.
I can't help myself with vanilla beans. I adore the little speckles and the fanciness, but you can absolutely make this with good vanilla extract. I bought a huge bag of vanilla beans and made my own jug of vanilla extract years ago, so I just pull a bean out, snip off the end, and squeeze its guts into any recipe that calls for vanilla bean. If you ever decide to do this, you won't be sorry. Buy them on amazon and you will save tons over the grocery store.
These can be made as overnight cinnamon rolls. See recipe notes for those instructions.Print