Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium-low until warm (about 110 degrees F).
Remove from heat. Combine 2 Tbsp. sugar with yeast in a mixing bowl, and whisk in warm milk. Let rest until slightly foamy (about 5 minutes).
Mix flour with the remaining sugar and salt, add softened butter, egg, raisins (optional), and yeast, stirring well to incorporate all the flour.
Knead dough for 3-5 minutes until smooth and elastic (or use mixer with dough hook). Add flour as needed.
Form dough into a ball and lightly grease it with the vegetable oil.
Cover and let rise in a warm draft free place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. I like to use the oven on warm (75 degrees F) for this.
In a small mixing bowl, mix the nutty filling. Stir until smooth.
When dough has risen, divide it into two equal portions. Roll each portion into a large rectangle (about 12x9 inches).
Spread the filling over the dough.
Roll dough into a tight cylinder, pinching the ends. Use a sharp knife to cut into 1-inch-thick slices.
Place the rounds on large baking sheet or pan.
Cover and let rest until increased by half their size (30-60 minutes).
Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
Combine glaze ingredients and stir until smooth.
Drizzle glaze over cinnamon rolls right after removing them from the oven. Best served warm.
Source: Adapted from "There's a Chef in My Soup" by Emeril Lagasse (a great kids cookbook)
By Stephanie from Hillsboro, OR