Searching and tweaking several cinnamon roll recipes I had accumulated over the years, I spent many days/months/years playing around with this to get just the right combintation. Happy to say I finally found the absolute best combination of big, soft, light rolls with a great sticky caramel
topping! These are a huge hit in my family!
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 package active-dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour (I use 1/2 all-purpose and 1/2 whole wheat)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Sticky Caramel Topping
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup slightly melted butter
2 tbls corn syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
pour into 13×9 in” pan sprayed with cooking spray to coat bottom
Heat milk in microwave just to boiling. Remove and add shortening, sugar and salt; let cool to lukewarm (about 10 minutes). In a small bowl, add yeast to the 1/2 cup warm water and mix to dissolve. In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup of the flour, the cooled milk mixture, the yeast and the egg. Mix well with a spoon. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, mix well and turn out onto a floured board. Knead about 10 times until dough is not sticky, adding more flour if needed. Oil or grease bowl (I spray with cooking spray), add dough and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down and turn dough out onto floured board; roll out into 17 x 9 rectangle. Mix the filling brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon together. Spread dough with filling, sprinkle with pecans and raisins (optional), and roll up dough starting at wide end. Cut into 12 equal pieces. Mix sticky caramel topping ingredients all together and pour into prepared pan. Place rolls cut-side down on top of sticky caramel topping, evenly spacing each roll. Cover lightly with a kitchen towl and let rise again until doubled, approx. 45-60 minutes. Bake in 375 oven for 30 minutes or until rolls are lightly browned and sticky caramel topping is bubbly. Immediately invert into storage container, or onto platter/large plate, scraping remaining sticky caramel topping on top of cinnamon rolls (sticky caramel topping is extremely hot; be careful when inverting pan).
Options – replace the corn syrup in the sticky caramel topping with maple syrup for a different taste!
For freezing – wrap each cinnamon roll in plastic wrap and store in zip-loc bags in freezer.