I kind of love that rainbow confections are all the rage because there is nothing better than happy foods made happier with bright, beautiful colors. And let's be real here, dudes, cinnamon rolls are pretty much the happiest food on the planet. When I thought about making these, I figured I would find a million recipes online for rainbow cinnamon rolls, but I didn't find one, so I'm pretty stoked on how these came out since I had to wing it.
To get this started, I will warn you, this recipe is time consuming and not a cheater version of cinnamon rolls but is way easier than you think it is. This is the real deal. You're going to want to start with a metal mixing bowl (that attaches to a mixer) and 1 cup of warm almond milk (I have a milk allergy, so I can't drink cow's milk...so if you want to use cow's milk, go for it, but I always have almond milk in the house and thats what I use.) sprinkle 2 1/2 TSP fast rising yeast and 1/2 cup sugar over the warm almond milk and whisk until yeast and sugar is dissolved, then cover the bowl for 10 minutes with a dish towel. After 10 minutes, uncover and your yeast/milk mixture should be bubbly.
Go ahead and attach a dough hook attachment to your mixer and add 2 eggs, 1/3 cup melted butter, and 1 TSP of salt, and begin mixing on med (speed 4) and add 1/2 cup of flour at a time (until you have added 4 1/2 of flour) and mix on medium for 5-7 minutes, dump dough onto floured surface and knead with your hands for 2-3 more minutes or until your dough is elastic and gluten window has properly formed.
Break your dough into 7 equal parts and using a gel icing color, fold coloring into each section of dough until you have a full spectrum of the rainbow. Push your sections together until they resemble a ball, and place in a greased bowl to rise. Allow to rise in a warm dark place for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Once your dough has proofed, you can roll it out. flour your surface and carefully roll out your dough so that the color segments are horizontal (I did green on top and natural on the bottom, and you can see that once the rolls were rolled out, the outer segment looks like a normal cinnamon roll until you cut into it. But you can switch it up if that makes you happier.) See below for the photo of the rolled out dough.
Once your dough is rolled out, spread 1/2 cup of softened butter all over the flat dough. I use a rubber spatula, but it may be easier to use your hands. Either way, evenly spread the softened butter. Now sprinkle a mixture of 1 cup packed brown sugar and 3 TBSP of cinnamon across the top, and press into the butter so that the brown sugar/cinnamon is even and pressed smooth.
Now this is the tricky part. Your are going to use both hands to carefully stretch the top of the dough and fold over, then repeat until you have created the "roll" - stretch, fold, stretch fold, and roll as tightly as you can. The more rolls you get, the more buttery, sugary layers your cinnamon rolls will have.
You should have a tightly rolled log now. Using a clean bread knife. cut your rolls into equal parts (measure out using a yard stick first) but you're going to want to cut each roll at about 2.5 inches. Place the rolls in a baking pan about 1/2 inch apart. You may have extras, and the ends, and I always bake off the ends in a separate pan.
Cover your pan with a damp paper towel and set on top of your pre-heating oven (pre-heat oven to 320 F) and let them proof a second time for about 20 minutes. You may need to re-dampen your paper towel during proofing - humidity is key for activating the yeast! Remove your paper towels and bake for 30 minutes or until the rolls are golden.
Remove from the oven and while still hot, whisk together 1/2 a package of cream cheese, 4 cups of powdered sugar and 1/3 cup almond milk and 1 TSP vanilla. Apply your icing generously.
Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles and enjoy!!