Caramelized Cinnamon-Sugar Picnic Rolls



1 package active dry yeast (2½ tsp.)

¾ c. whole milk, divided

Approximately 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

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 c. sugar, divided

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

2 tbsp. half-and-half, plus more for brushing

1 tsp. salt

½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut up and at room temperature

Vegetable oil for oiling bowl or bag



¼ c. (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter

½ c. packed brown sugar

1½ tsp. ground cinnamon

For sprinkling

¼ c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon


Heat ¼ cup milk and 1 tbsp. sugar in small bowl and let cool until warm, approximately110 degrees. Sprinkle yeast over milk, mix and let stand five minutes or until mixture is foamy. Stir in 1 tbsp. of flour, cover with a towel or plastic wrap, and let rest for at least 20 minutes, up to 1 hour.

Place egg, yolk, remaining sugar, ½ cup milk, half-and-half and salt into a large bowl. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Add yeast mixture and the butter and ½ cup of flour and whisk until smooth. Continue adding flour, a handful at a time, stirring well with a wooden spoon after each addition. 

When dough becomes too stiff to stir, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and begin kneading, adding small handfuls of flour to keep dough from sticking. Knead for five to 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and still soft.

Lightly oil a bowl with vegetable oil and place dough in bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 1½ to two hours, or until double in size. (Alternatively, dough can be refrigerated overnight in a lightly oiled, gallon size zip-lock bag.)



Combine unsalted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in microwave safe dish. Heat until butter is melted. Stir well to combine. Let cool before continuing.


To assemble:

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll out into a rectangle, approximately 8 inches by 10 inches. Spread cooled filling over dough, leaving a 1-inch border along both long sides. Roll up dough, jellyroll fashion. Pinch long sides of dough together. Place roll on a parchment-lined baking sheet, seam side down. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes at room temp. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together ¼ c. granulated sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.

Brush risen roll with half and half and evenly sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place in oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove roll from pan and set onto a cooling rack. When cool, slice roll into desired number of pieces. 

Makes 10-12 servings