I usually don’t start with a picture, but I had to today. I. MADE. THESE. Homemade. From scratch. Caramel rolls. Go me. And you know what? They aren’t too difficult to make. They do take time though so make sure you have that. I see cinnamon rolls and recipes for cinnamon rolls everywhere, but I rarely see any for caramel rolls, other than the knock-off money bread (which is also good). My Mom made THE BEST caramel rolls when we were kids. I don’t think these match them, but it is close. Make these for your family for Christmas morning! Here is how I made my homemade caramel rolls.
I started off using The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for cinnamon rolls. The only difference between cinnamon rolls and caramel rolls is the topping. The bread part is the same. I cut her recipe in half and got 18 rolls. Her original recipe was twice this and it says it serves 8? I think she is crazy. Anyway, this is a great roll recipe. Here were my changes, although they are minor and most of the instructions are hers:
- 2 cups of milk – the recipe called for whole, but all I had was skim and it was fine
- 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 package yeast
- 4 cups (Plus 1/2 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
- 1/2 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
- 1 stick melted butter
- 1 cup Sugar
- Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon
Heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm for 45 minutes. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute.
Yeast, in action. Gross, right?
Add 4 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined using your dough hook, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour. I like to warm the oven and turn it off with the door shut to keep it warm.
After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (Note: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.) Now that you know you can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 3 days these would be great for a breakfast to take to work or if you have any guests spending the night…say like, for Christmas.
To assemble the rolls, remove the dough from the pan/bowl. On a floured baking surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin. If you have that much patience. Mine weren’t really thin and still were fine.
To make the filling, pour 1/2 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use a pastry brush to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup of sugar over the butter.
Now, beginning at the end farthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down.
Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices. One “log “will produce 18-22 rolls. Pour a couple of teaspoons of melted butter into a round cake pan, or a rectangular cake pan would work as well. The Pioneer Woman baked them in disposable round cake pans – great for sharing or giving away. Swirl the butter to coat. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. (Each pan will hold 7 to 9 rolls.)
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise for at least 20 minutes before baking.
While the rolls are rising, make the caramel sauce. I thought the above photo was kind of neat – you can see how the yeast works and the rolls get much larger while you wait for them to rise.
All you need for a really simple and delicious caramel sauce is three things: cream, brown sugar and butter. The butter is not pictured because I literally had to piece together random sticks of butter to equal one stick. What kind of baker runs out of butter. How tragic.
- 1/2 cup of butter, 1 stick
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of cream
Bring to a boil. Watch carefully so it does not burn or overflow.
Pour 1/3 of the mixture in your first cake pan and another in your other cake pan. Reserve the other 1/3 for after the rolls are baked. Make sure you get in every nook and cranny. Bake at 375 for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown.
Here they are after 18 minutes, they puff up even more. In fact, I think some on the right were trying to make an escape, you can see how the center popped out.
Let the pan sit for a minute, use a spatula to make sure they are loose around the sides and invert onto parchment paper. The rolls really soak up that yummy caramel sauce.
Ooegy, gooey and oh so heavenly smelling.
Use the remaining 1/3 of caramel sauce to pour over each roll. This is the best part. You know I had to try one straight from the oven! I picked one of the end rolls which were smaller.
The dough was so soft and perfect. The inside cinnamon was so tasty. The caramel sauce was the best though.
I encourage anyone to make these. Almost everyone loves caramel rolls. I will for certain make these again for a group. They were a hit when Mr. FeistyEats took them to work he said!
Quick-rise and regular active dry yeast can be substituted for each other in recipes. Remember: quick-rise yeast does not need to be dissolved in water before mixing, and it requires only one rise. In place of the first rise, let dough rest, covered, for 10 minutes before shaping. Once shaped, the dough’s rise should take about half the time listed in a recipe that calls for active dry yeast.
Again, another tip I was not aware of. It would have probably cut down on my time.