My Mom is famous for her cinnamon rolls - she makes them, it seems, on a weekly basis.  The are soft, buttery, gooey and sweet.  They are great to make ahead of time in large batches and freeze for gifts - perfect for hostess gifts or impromptu holiday brunches.

Mom's Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

2 packages of active dry yeast
1 tsp. of sugar
1 cup of warm water
.......
1 can of evaporated milk
2/3 cup of melted butter
3/4 cup of sugar
4 tsp salt
6-8 cups of flour
.....
1/2 stick of softened butter
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3 tablespoons of cinnamon

In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar and warm water.  Let the yeast activate.

In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine milk, butter, sugar, salt and flour (starting with 6 cups and add more, if necessary).  Stir in yeast mixture.  "Kneed" dough with dough hook on med-low for 5-8 minutes, adding flour as necessary, until it forms smooth elastic dough.  You may need to turn it out onto a floured board and kneed by hand until it is completely smooth.

In a large bowl greased with vegetable oil, place the dough in the bowl and cover with a warm damp kitchen towel.  Let the dough rest and rise for 2 hours in a warm place until it has doubled in size.  Sometimes I'll turn my oven on 250 degrees and let the bowl sit on top of it.

After 2 hours, punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Next, turn it out onto a floured surface and roll it into a rectangle (approx. 15" x 20").  Spread it with softened butter, then sprinkle it with the sugar and cinnamon.

Roll the dough into a log and cut into 1 1/2 inch slices (that look like a pinwheel).  Place them spiral side down into a buttered baking dish - I like to put them in a pie dish - it makes an easy presentation.

Again, let them rise covered with piece of parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray (to keep it from sticking) for about 1 hour.

Take off the parchment and bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes until slightly brown on the edges.

Cream Cheese Icing

4 tablespoons of cream cheese
8 tablespoons of butter, softened
2 cups of powdered sugar

In the Kitchen Aid fitted with a paddle attachment, whip cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar until smooth.  Add a little water, if necessary, to get desired consistency.
 
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