This recipe in particular used a cream cheese icing with orange zest, which I loved because it tasted fresher than your average cream cheese icing.
Since I wanted to relax the morning we planned to eat these, I decided to prepare the homemade dough and roll the cinnamon rolls up with the filling the night before, and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight (so I completed steps 1-4 of the recipe below in advance). That way, in the morning all I had to do was take the rolls out of the refrigerator, let them sit on the counter for an hour, stuck them in the oven to bake for 30 minutes, and mixed up the cream cheese icing in the meantime.
from Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts cookbook
Sweet Yeast Dough, recipe follows
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Flour for rolling out dough
Cream Cheese Icing:
1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1/4 cup whole milk, or as needed
1 - Prepare the dough as directed (see below) and let rise 1.5 hours-2 hours.
2 - In a bowl, using a mixer, beat together brown sugar, butter, cinnamon until combined, about 30 seconds. Set aside.
3 - Punch down dough and turn onto floured work surface. Dust top of dough with flour. Roll out into a 16 by 14 inch rectangle, with long side facing you. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border at the top and bottom. Starting at the long side of the rectangle farthest from you, roll up the rectangle into a log. Pinch the seams to seal. Cut the log crosswise into 8 equal slices with a sharp knife.
4 - Butter a 9-by-13 inch baking pan. Arrange the slices, cut side up, in the pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot until doubled in bulk, 75-90 minutes. Or refrigerate overnight until doubled in size, 8-12 hours. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before baking.
5 - Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until rolls are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cook in pan for 15 minutes.
5 - Meanwhile, make the icing. Sift the confectioners' sugar into a bowl and add cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and orange zest. Using a handheld mixer on low speed, beat the mixture until crumbly. Gradually beat in enough of the milk to make a thick but pourable icing. Pour the icing over the warm rolls, and then spread it out evenly using a metal icing spatula. Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Sweet Yeast Dough
Makes about 2 1/4 lbs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
1 package (2 1/2 tsp) quick-rise yeast
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, as needed
1 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 - In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk, sugar, butter, eggs, and yeast. Add 4 1/2 cups of the flour and salt. Place the bowl on the mixer and fit with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed, adding as much of the remaining flour as needed to make a soft dough that does not stick to the bowl.
2 - Remove the paddle attachment and fit the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Knead the dough on medium-low speed, adding more flour if needed, until dough is smooth but still soft, 6-7 minutes. Shape dough into ball.
3 - Butter a large bowl. Add dough and turn to coat with butter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubling in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Use at once. Or, punch down the dough, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Punch down dough and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.