Do this between 8 and 9 pm the night before:
Basic Sweet-Roll Dough
Prep Time: 1 hr 15 minutes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup whole milk
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup sugar + 1 tsp
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, plus more for brushing
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon salt
Warm water and the milk in a saucepan over low heat until a thermometer registers 100 degrees F to 110 degrees F. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the yeast on top, then sprinkle with one teaspoon of the sugar; set aside, undisturbed, until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Whisk the melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla into the yeast mixture until combined. In a mixer, whisk the flour, the remaining sugar and salt. Slowly add the yeast mixture and stir until a sticky dough forms. Increase speed on the mixer and knead till dough is elastic (about 3 minutes). It will be sticky.
Spray non-stick spray throughly in a large bowl. Shape the dough and add it to the bowl, turning to coat lightly with the spray (use soften butter as an alternative). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is doubled in size, about 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Turn the dough out of the bowl and knead briefly to release excess air; re-form into a ball and return to the bowl. Lightly butter a large piece of plastic wrap and lay it directly on the surface of the dough. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
The next morning do this:
Classic Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time: 1 H 45 M | Cook Time: 30 M | Servings: 12 rolls
For the rolls:
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 batch Basic Sweet-Roll Dough
For the glaze:
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Make the rolls: Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Whisk the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 10-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread the butter over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border on one of the long sides. Top with the cinnamon sugar. Brush the clean border with water. Tightly roll the dough into an 18-inch log, rolling toward the clean border; pinch the seam to seal.
With a tape measure, make a slight score across the log ever 1 1/2 inches. Slip a long taut piece of thread or unflavored floss under the roll, about 1 1/2 inches from the end at the first score mark. Lift the ends of the thread and cross over the roll, pulling tightly to cut off a piece. Repeat, cutting every 1 1/2 inches, to make 12 rolls. Place the rolls in the prepared baking dish.
Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour, 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the rolls and bake until they spring back when pressed, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan. (You can freeze the baked rolls for up to 2 weeks. Cool completely before freezing, then thaw, warm up and glaze before serving.)
Make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, melted butter, milk, vanilla and salt in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle over the warm rolls.