3/4 Cup warm water
2 Teaspoons dry active yeast
4 Tablespoons white sugar
2-3 Cups flour
1/2 Cup butter (more or less)
1/2 - 3/4 Cup brown sugar
2 Teaspoons cinnamon
1 Teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon all spice
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a large cooking sheet, or a muffin tray.
In a large bowl gently whisk the warm water, white sugar and yeast together and allow the yeast to activate for about 10 minutes until it looks light and frothy. Stir in the flour in by 1/2 cup additions until a soft dough forms. Turn the soft dough out into a floured work surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding in more flour as needed until a elastic dough forms that isn't overly sticky anymore. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rise in a draft free warm place for about 30 minutes until double in size.
While the dough is rising in a small bowl stir the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice together, and in another small bowl melt the butter. Once the dough as risen, roll it out into a rectangle shape until the dough is about 1/8th-1/4 inch thick. Next brush the butter onto the dough, right to the edges and covering the dough completely, then sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the butter and dough in an even layer.
Now is where things get a bit tricky, starting at the narrow side of the rectangle begin to roll the dough up tightly onto itself. You want the dough to be rolled as tight as you can manage it because otherwise all that delightful butter and brown sugar filling will just end up running out the bottom of your cinnamon rolls.
Once the dough is rolled up tightly, Chill the roll in the fridge for 20 minutes to firm it up, and then begin to cut the dough into the cinnamon rolls. I like to cut them to be about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the cut cinnamon rolls onto the prepared baking sheet or in the muffin cups of a tray and once they are all cut and placed bake them in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes. Remove the cooked cinnamon rolls from the pan and let them cool on a wire rack.
Ps, December 2013, if you can't get the sweet sugar to stay inside the rolls and all you get is black bottom buns, try melting the butter and mixing in the sugar and spices into the melted butter. then press the crumbly mixture into the dough after rolling it into a large rectangle.
So another post another embarrassing story about how many ways I have failed at baking and cooking in the past. My grandmothers on both sides of my family and my mother have always made the most wonderful cinnamon rolls, they always had the filling actually stay inside of the roll, and the pastry was light and had a wonderful texture.
When I was a youngster and still lived at home I too was able to make delightful cinnamon rolls under the watchful and helpful eye of my mother. So when I moved out into the world on my own I felt pretty confident that I would still have the magic cinnamon roll touch. It turns out I was wrong. Very very wrong. My family had been using a traditional Scottish style pastry for their cinnamon rolls that it very similar to a biscuit or a scone. If you have been reading my other recipes you might know that I was a total and complete failure when it came to making biscuits until I compiled this recipe for biscuits for myself. So when I set to making my family's cinnamon roll recipe I of course ruined the finicky dough and my cinnamon rolls ended up like cinnamon rocks. Very tough and hard and not very pleasing at all and there were much sad times about it.
This is why I have had to abandon my family recipe for cinnamon rolls and start trying to make up my own. A recipe that would be easier and yield more consistent results for me. Here is my current working recipe for cinnamon rolls, keep in mind that it is a new recipe and hasn't been tested as much as my other recipes so I may decide to change it up later.