Growing up, my family always went to my uncle’s house for breakfast on Christmas morning. It was one of my favorite times of the season, a time when we could go show off all of our new toys from Santa while enjoying time spent with family and diving into a delicious omelet made just to order for each person. We’d have Christmas Eve dinner at my Nana’s, Christmas morning breakfast at my uncle’s, lunch at my house, etc. Going from place to place like that back then was possible because I grew up in a small town where each place mentioned was, at most, five minutes from each other place. Although my family still celebrates Christmas morning each year at my uncle’s house I am no longer able to make it. With three kids and living 30 minutes away from my uncle’s house we just can’t ever seem to make it happen.
Since we don’t live close enough to family to be able to enjoy breakfast with them on Christmas morning, I decided a few years back that I needed to make our own Christmas breakfast tradition. We do our own family gathering Christmas morning where the kids open the gifts from me and the hubs so I decided with all of that going on our breakfast tradition needed to be something super simple that could be prepared and eaten relatively quickly. Sausage balls are a favorite of my kids, so naturally that was the first thing that I thought of. And then…another favorite, cinnamon rolls! What a delicious Christmas morning tradition to start, and to make things even easier you can roll them out the night before and just pull them out to rise and bake while you open gifts and they’ll be ready for you when you finish opening gifts. And think about it…who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls? Start your own family traditions with these delicious cinnamon rolls and your kids will have yet another reason to look forward to Christmas morning every year other than just the presents!
Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
For the dough:
4 large egg yolks, at room temperature*
1 large whole egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces buttermilk, at room temperature
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
1 package instant dry yeast (approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons)**
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
For the filling:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, melted
For the icing:
4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the dough: In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, adding more flour if necessary (I usually add all the of the remaining flour); the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl, and spray the top of the dough lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Cover and allow dough to double in volume, usually 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Prepare the filling by combining the brown sugar, cinnamon, and pinch salt in a small mixing bowl until combined. Set aside until ready to use.
Spray a 9×13″ glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18×12″ rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving a 1/2″ border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4″ border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal the roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2″ rolls, yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the prepared baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.
The following morning, preheat the oven to the lowest setting that your oven allows (mine is 170 degrees F). Once it reaches temperature, turn the oven off and place the cinnamon roll pan into the warm oven. Allow the dough to rise until the rolls look slightly puffy, about 30 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven and preheat the oven again to 350 degrees F. Return the pan of rolls to the oven and cook until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
While the rolls are cooling slightly, whisk the icing ingredients until creamy. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.
*Note: To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, fill a bowl with hot water and place the eggs (still in the shell) in the water. Allow them to sit for about 5 minutes before removing from the water and using in the desired recipe.
**Note: Instant dry yeast is often labeled as “Rapid Rise” or “Bread Machine” yeast on the package so make sure you purchase these products and NOT active dry yeast. The active dry yeast will not rise as it should in this recipe.