In a microwave-safe bowl, heat up the milk and butter in the microwave (or can be done in a small pot on the stove), just till warm, about 95°F. You don’t want this too hot or it will kill the yeast.
Add the yeast and honey and let sit for a couple minutes until it begins to bubble. This process is called 'proofing' and is necessary to make sure your yeast is still good.
Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and add ½ cup of flour along with the egg and salt.
Mix, then continue to add ½ cup of flour at a time until a ball forms.
You might only need to add a little over 2 cups of flour. Don’t add too much or dough will be too dry.
As it starts to come together in a thicker dough, switch to a dough hook on your stand mixer.
Turn on medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Remove dough hook and let the dough ball rest for 10 minutes.
For the filling:
In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, regular sugar and cinnamon together.
Dust a surface with a little flour and place dough on the flour. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a large rectangle-ish shape.
Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough.
Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the butter layer.
Starting on the long side of the dough, roll up the dough like a log and pinch closed. Cut log into 10 to 12 pieces.
Spray a 6-quart oval crockpot with nonstick spray and place a sheet of parchment paper into the pot. Spray the parchment paper with nonstick spray.
Place the cinnamon rolls in an even layer in the pot.
Place a paper towel (not a kitchen towel) under the lid to keep condensation from dropping onto the rolls creating a wet top.
Turn the slow cooker on low for 25 minutes to give the rolls a little time to start rising.
When the 20 minutes are finished turn the slow cooker temperature to high for 2 hours.
CHECK the rolls after they have cooked for an hour and a half. Rolls may finish early.
Rolls won’t get brown on top in the crock pot. If you want brown tops, place rolls in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
For the icing:
Mix the cream cheese and powdered sugar together then add the maple flavoring (or vanilla extract) and milk and continue to mix till smooth.
When cinnamon rolls are finished, remove from pot and spread the icing across the tops.
Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for 3 days.
These rolls can be prepared the night before. Make the rolls and put them into the crock pot. Then cover the entire pot very tightly with a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Then pop the whole thing into your refrigerator. When you get up in the morning, take the crock out of the fridge and set your slow cooker on low. Put the insert back into the slow cooker. Because you are starting from cold, you'll want to warm the rolls up on low for about 40 minutes before switching over to high to cook.
Add flour in ½ cup increments so you do not add too much flour. Once a dough ball has formed, don’t add anymore flour.
Make sure to use a paper towel under the lid to collect the condensation.This will help prevent a soggy top. Do not use a cloth towel.
An important step is to turn the crockpot on low for 20 minutes to help the rolls rise better before cooking.
The rolls won’t brown in the crockpot, but you can place them on a baking sheet and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes in a preheated 375°F oven.
I am using maple flavoring in the icing for this recipe. If you don't want to use the maple flavoring, just substitute for vanilla extract.
Store in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.