OPTIONAL SUBSTITUTION: STANDARD ICING INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
TO MAKE THE DOUGH & FILLING:
Combine milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute, then remove and stir. Continue heating in 20 second intervals, pausing after each to stir, until the butter is melted and the milk is warm to the touch but not hot. If needed, let the milk mixture sit for a few minutes until it is warm but not hot. (It should be around 110°F.)
In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 cups flour (not all of the flour), sugar and salt until combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment, add yeast and lukewarm milk mixture and stir by hand to combine. Add the flour mixture and egg, and beat on medium-low speed until combined. If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (up to 3.5 cups of flour total). Continue beating for 5 minutes on medium-low speed. Remove dough and form it into a ball with your hands. Then place it in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make your filling by whisking together sugars and cinnamon in a bowl until combined.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured work surface. Then use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 14 x 9 inches in size. (If you want all edges to be even, you can use a pizza slicer to cut the dough into a perfect rectangle.) Use a knife or pastry spatula to spread the softened 1/4 cup of butter out evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Then sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Beginning at the 14-inch edge, tightly roll up the dough. And then give the final seam a little pinch so that it seals. Use a piece of dental floss* to "cut" off the two ends of the roll (an inch on each end - discard that dough) so that they are even. Then cut the remaining dough into 11 or 12 equal pieces. (11 rolls seem to fit in a pie plate, while 12 rolls fit in a rectangular pan.)
Place each of the cut cinnamon rolls into a greased pie plate or 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Then cover again with a damp towel, and leave the dish in a warm place to rise for 25 minutes.
While the dough is rising, make the icing (instructions below).
When the rolls have risen, uncover the dish. Then place on the center rack of the oven and bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until the rolls are golden and cooked through. Remove and let cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. Drizzle with your desired icing and serve.
TO MAKE THE CREAM CHEESE ICING:
Either in the bowl of an electric stand mixer, or a mixing bowl, whisk softened cream cheese and butter together until combined. Whisk in the vanilla extract until combined. Then whisk in the powdered sugar until combined. If the icing is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk to thin it out to your desired consistency. (I usually add in two tablespoons of milk.)
TO MAKE THE STANDARD ICING:
Whisk together butter, vanilla and powdered sugar until combined. If the icing is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk to thin. If the icing is too thin, add a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar to thicken.
**If you do not have an electric stand mixer with a dough attachment, you can simply stir the ingredients together, and then knead by hand for 5-7 minutes.
(*To cut dough with dental floss, simply break off a piece of floss about 12 inches long. Then very carefully slide the middle of the floss under the dough to the place where you want to "cut". Then pull the ends of the floss up and cross over the top of the dough. Then give a quick tug to literally cut all the way through the dough. This is the best method for not squishing your dough while cutting it -- although the standard knife method still works too.)