I'm like a dog with a bone. Sometimes I just can't let go, and this whole baking fiasco really pissed me off. (Sorry, but that's how I felt).
At work I told my boss my sad story and asked for her advise, as she's a fabulous cook and baker.
She felt that I'd overworked the dough and should have spread it out by hand and not used a rolling pin. When I admitted that I'd used 1% milk and not whole milk she felt that it really didn't make a difference. Another co-worker suggested that I shouldn't have used rapid rise yeast but that idea was also vetoed.
Then I talked to my mother who, after whispering into the phone that my dad was driving her crazy, told me that she always uses a rolling pin, and rapid rise yeast, and that I probably wasn't letting the dough rise long enough.
Rapid rise yeast or not, you need to let the dough double in size.
After greasing the dough, cover it and place it in the oven with a bowl of water and set to warm. You might want to turn the oven off after about 10 minutes or so and the dough will most likely be doubled in a about a 1/2 hour (for rapid rise) and hour with regular yeast.
The other hints she gave me were:
After rising, punch the dough down gently then cut in half for 2 batches.
After the dough is rolled out (about 1/2 inch thick) spread melted butter over it (I was spreading unmelted butter on mine), then sprinkle your mixture of cinnamon and sugar over it. Sprinkle until the butter absorbs all of it.
Roll the dough up like a jelly roll and then cut it by slipping a piece of heavy thread under it, tying it over the top, and when you tighten the knot it slices through the dough without crushing it. Repeat with the other half of the batch.
Cut each roll about 2 inches wide.
Place your rolls on either a greased cookie sheet or greased baking pan, leaving enough space for the rolls to hopefully double in size.
Set in a warm place once again for about 1/2 hour for rapid rise yeast or an hour for regular yeast.
After dough has risen but before placing in the oven, brush the top of the rolls with melted butter. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
Let cool a little before spreading the glaze over them.
Make a well in the center,
Add a small (TBSP or so) of HOT water (not milk) and a pat of butter.
About 1/2 tsp of vanilla (not too much or it will make the glaze brown).
Beat with a spoon until smooth but not soupy (add water or sugar to get right texture) and spread over warm rolls.
I made them again tonight and what a difference.
Sliced and ready to rise again.