Pour the warm milk (115ºF) in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast overtop. Allow this to sit for 3-4 minutes. The yeast will get a little frothy to show it is activated. 1 cup warm milk, 2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast*-
Add the room temperature eggs, butter and sugar. Mix until combined. 2 large eggs, 1/3 cup salted butter**, 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Add in salt and 4 cups (save the other 1/2 cup and add only if you need it) of flour and mix using the beater blade just until the ingredients are barely combined. Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes so the flour has time to soak up the liquids. 1 teaspoon salt, 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Scrape the dough off the beater blade and remove it. Attach the dough hook.
To knead, beat the dough on medium speed for 5-7 minutes, adding in up to 1/2 cup more flour only if needed to form a dough. The dough should be elastic and smooth. **The dough should be tacky and will pull away from the sides of the bowl but may stick slightly to the bottom. That's ok! Don't be tempted to add more flour at this point. We generally add about 4 1/4 cups, but start with 4 cups.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Use a rubber spatula to remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place it in the greased large bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel or wax paper.
Set the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to rise until double. I like to turn on the oven to the lowest setting for 1-2 minutes. Then turn off the oven and place the dough to rise in there. It normally takes about 30 minutes for the dough to rise. Do not allow the dough to rise too much or your cinnamon rolls will be airy.
While the dough is rising, prepare the cinnamon filling. In a medium bowl, combine the soft butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, mixing until well combined. Set aside. 1/2 cup salted butter, 1 cup packed brown sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon
Sprinkle a pastry mat or work surface generously with flour. Turn out the dough onto the surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with additional flour.
Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough to about a 24x15" rectangle. (the size of the rectangle can vary...it does not have to be exact!)
Use a rubber spatula to smooth the cinnamon filling over the whole dough rectangle.
Starting on the long side, roll the dough up tightly jelly roll style.
Cut into 12 slices and place in a greased 9x13 baking pan.**** Cover the pan and allow the rolls to rise for 20 minutes while the oven is preheating.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Warm the heavy cream until the chill is off. Don't make it hot...you just don't want it cold. It should be warm to the touch. Once the rolls have risen, pour the heavy cream over the top of the rolls, allowing it to soak down in and around the rolls. 1/2 cup heavy cream***
Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes, until the rolls are lightly golden brown and the center rolls are cooked through. Note...the time will vary based on how big the rolls are, what type of pan, how close the rolls are packed, etc. They could take up to 30 minutes. Check the rolls at 20 minutes. If they are getting too browned, cover loosely with foil for the remaining baking time.
While the rolls are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting.
In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and butter using a hand mixer. Blend well. 6 ounces cream cheese, 1/3 cup salted butter
Add in your favorite extract and the powdered sugar. Beat until combined. Spread the frosting over the cooled rolls. 1/2 tablespoon maple extract, 2 cups powdered sugar
*One packet of yeast is 2 1/4 teaspoons. If you have packets rather than bulk yeast, it is completely fine to just use one packet of yeast. Different yeast calls for slightly different proofing methods. We follow Red Star Platinum's temperature guidelines. Please check your yeast packet to see what temperature the milk should be at.**A note about the butter, we have used 1/2 cup of butter instead of 1/3 cup many times. We feel it keeps the rolls softer. Give it a try!***If you don't have cream, use half and half, coffee creamer, evaporated milk, whole milk or coconut cream. Any of these will work. Even 2% milk will work, but we prefer a higher fat milk.****For smaller rolls, cut the dough into 15 slices and use a 10x15" baking pan. The larger pan will also allow the rolls to rise more evenly.Overnight InstructionsWe often make the cinnamon rolls and get them to the point of the second rise (when they are rolled out, cut up and put in the pan). Cover and refrigerate until morning.The morning you want to bake them, pull them out of the refrigerator. They may have doubled in size in the fridge overnight. If they have, let them sit for 30 minutes to get the chill off, then bake.If they did not rise in the fridge overnight, allow them to rise at room temperature. Plan about at least an hour for this. Then pour on the cream and let them bake.*The Calorie count shows the amount with ALL of the frosting used. There will be less calories in the rolls if you don't use all of the frosting at once. Calories are per roll with the recipe making 12 frosted rolls.