Don't fuss over breakfast Thanksgiving morning ... Prep these cinnamon rolls the night before

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Who has time to think about breakfast on Thanksgiving morning?

If you're hosting, your mind is sure to be on other things — getting the turkey in the oven, getting the side dishes underway, setting the table, etc. And, if you're like my family, a few of you are headed out early to hit up one of the many "Turkey Trots" and other Thanksgiving-themed races held around the county.

Whether you're hosting, traveling or just headed out to the races early, having breakfast ready to pop in the oven makes things a little less stressful for everyone. A great make-ahead option is the cinnamon roll.

I love a cinnamon roll, but I especially love the kind you can get at a mall. I'm talking about sticky, gooey cinnamon rolls that are as much a dessert as they are a breakfast treat. Luckily, someone at King Arthur Flour loves this type of cinnamon roll too, because they developed a recipe that replicates that mall cinnamon goodness. It's appropriately titled "Cinna-Buns."

This recipe is simple to follow and will yield a dozen or two dozen rolls, depending on how you roll out your dough. (I rolled mine out on a silicone baking sheet, which also made it easier to roll the dough into a log.)

And, you can prepare these buns the night before — let them rise in the pan in your refrigerator overnight. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator about an hour before you want to bake them, allowing the rolls to warm to room temperature. After that, all that's left to do is pop them in the oven in the morning. (You can make the icing while the rolls are in the oven. The recipe is simple and quick to make.)

These cinnamon rolls are best served warm, while the filling is still warm and gooey from the oven and the icing is still drippy. But the leftovers — eaten cold or rewarmed — are just as good and just as sticky.

CINNA-BUNS

(From King Arthur Flour)

Directions at end on how to make 24 smaller rolls and to prepare ahead the night before.

PREP: 25 minutes

BAKE: 13 to 17 minutes

TOTAL: 2 hours 12 minutes

YIELD: 12 large rolls or 24 small rolls

INGREDIENTS:

Dough

1 cup lukewarm milk

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

4 1/2 cups flour

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast

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Filling

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, packed

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Icing

Generous 1/3 cup cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

To make the dough: Mix together and knead all of the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer or bread machine — to make a smooth, soft dough.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to grease all sides, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise until it's nearly doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

To fill and shape the buns: Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface. Roll the dough into a 16-by-21-inch rectangle.

Spread the dough with the 1/3 cup butter. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle it evenly over the dough.

Starting with a short end, roll the dough into a log and cut it into 12 slices.

Place the buns in a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Cover the pan and let the buns rise until they're nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.

While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Uncover the buns, and bake them until they're golden brown, about 15 minutes. While the buns are baking, make the icing.

To make the icing: In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla.

Remove the buns from the oven. Spread the icing on the buns while they're warm.

Serve buns warm, or at room temperature. Wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for a day or so; freeze for longer storage.

To make 24 small rolls:

Roll the dough the long way instead of the short way, and cut it into 24 slices. Place them in the pan in six rows of four buns each. Bake as directed.

Make ahead:

To prepare the night before, place the shaped buns in the pan, cover the pan, and refrigerate overnight. Next morning, let the buns warm at room temperature for about an hour, covered. Uncover, and bake as directed.


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