Better Than The Bakery Cinnamon Rolls

Yep, they really were better than those bought at the bakery.  I woke up early on Saturday morning to start making these jewels for my boys.  The plan was inspired by all the left over cream cheese icing I had from the Vacation Bible School snack I prepared on Friday.  I had to do something with all of that spare icing - throwing it out seemed wrong.  I froze A LOT and then topped this little darlings with the remainder.

The quiet time was wonderful and while they were in the oven baking the boys all woke up to the delicious smells drifting through the house from the kitchen.  The best reward was LoveBug's comment, "They are full of Mommy Love.  That's why they taste so good."

Better Than The Bakery Cinnamon Rolls

4 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast (reducing to 4 teaspoons for high altitude worked perfectly)
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
8 cups flour
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix (flavors could be used to change the flavor of the final product)
2 cups warm milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt

(there is a blank space for a reason)
1/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup finely chopped walnuts


1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add next seven ingredients (that is why there was a blank); mix well, but don't knead. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to grease the top, cover, set in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled in size (approx 1 hour).
2. Divide dough in half and place on a floured surface to roll out. Roll into rectangle shape that is approx 9X12.
3. Brush sheet of dough with butter leaving 1/4 of sheet from the long side without butter (this helps it seal back together when rolled back up). Sprinkle buttered portion with filling. Pat down filling. Starting with the long side that is buttered and sprinkled roll the dough to the side without butter creating a long log shape. Pinch seam together to seal.
4. Cut dough log with a knife (or use a string to cut)to create individual rolls. Each cut should be approx 2 inches apart.
5. Place individual rolls into sprayed baking dish (two 13in X 9 in X 2 in dishes). Rolls should be close, but not touching.
6. Cover and allow to rise again. Approx 45 min (Make the ICING while they rise the second time)
7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Ice with Cream Cheese Icing just prior to serving while still warm or to reduce your calorie count leave them un-iced.

1.  In a small (chilled) mixing bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside.
2.  In large mixing bowl cream together the cream cheese, vanilla and salt.
3.  Once mixture is creamed slowly add powdered sugar.  Mix until smooth.
4.  Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.

*Also great to reheat adding icing after heating or freeze before baking to be thawed and baked at a later time.