The best thing you can do is leave the dough to rest overnight before you bake. Try it and you'll see why.
What You'll Need
Makes 12-15 rolls
- ¼ cup warm water
- 1 tbsp instant yeast
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ cup whole milk, warmed
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for greasing
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
- 3½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out (optional)
- Pinch of sea salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
- 6 tbsp (¾ stick) unsalted butter
- 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1¼ cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Milk or water, as needed
- Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
Step 1: Make the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the warm milk, eggs, melted butter, and salt and mix on medium speed until combined. Gradually add 3 ½ cups of flour and mix until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough feels sticky, add the remaining ½ cup of flour.
Step 2: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it into a smooth ball. Grease the mixer bowl lightly with butter and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm spot for 1 to 2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
Step 3: Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean seeds (if using), and salt and mix well.
Step 4: Lightly dust your work surface with flour again. Turn out the dough, punch it down, and roll it into a rectangle about 10 x 16 inches. Position the dough with a long side closest to you. Spread the ½ cup of softened butter evenly over the dough. Sprinkle evenly with the filling and lightly push it into the butter. Starting with the side closest to you, pull the edge up and over the filling and carefully roll the dough into a log, keeping it fairly tight. Pinch the edge to seal.
Step 5: Slide dental floss or a thin piece of string (it works so well!) under the log and wrap it across and around the roll. Keeping one end in each hand, tighten the floss so it starts to cut through the roll, making 12 to 15 rolls, each ¾ to 1 inch wide.
Step 6: Place the rolls cut-side up in a generously greased 9 × 13-inch baking dish. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Step 7: If time allows, once the rolls have doubled in size, place them in the fridge overnight or for up to 24 hours. When you're ready to bake, let the rolls sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. (This allows the dough to develop more flavor, but if you are short on time, you can skip this step and continue on with the recipe.)
Step 8: Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Step 9: Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Step 10: Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the butter is lightly browned and smells toasted. Immediately remove from the heat. Let cool.
Step 11: In a medium bowl, beat together the cooled browned butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla until smooth. If the frosting is too thick for your liking, add a tablespoon of milk or water to thin it.
Step 12: Spread the frosting over the warm rolls. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and serve.