Tag Archives: cinnamon rolls

Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Classic Cinnamon RollsI have put a lot of sweet rolls on this blog, but have somehow never posted a recipe for classic cinnamon rolls. Consider that oversight rectified. And in time for holiday breakfast season, no less.Classic Cinnamon RollsNow, I know there are a gazillion cinnamon roll recipes out there. You probably have one you love. Why take a chance and switch it up? What makes these cinnamon rolls special?Classic Cinnamon RollsWell, I like to think *all* cinnamon rolls are special. I have never been disappointed to be offered a cinnamon roll in all my 33.5 years. Not once. Not even by the one I ate at a Roy Rogers in rural Connecticut at 8am that one time eleven years ago.

(Don’t ask me why I remember what I ordered at a Roy Rogers in rural Connecticut eleven years ago because I honestly don’t know. It’s just garbage taking up space in my brain and now it’s taking up space in yours.)Classic Cinnamon RollsBut, um, back to these cinnamon rolls, which are infinitely better than anything you could possibly find at a fast food restaurant in New England. They’re made with the same dough I use for my kolaches. It’s enriched with eggs, whole milk, butter, and sour cream, so you know it’s good. It produces cinnamon rolls that are super soft, tender, and rich.Classic Cinnamon RollsThis dough works best with an overnight chill in the fridge. Immediately after mixing, it’s very soft and sticky—very frustrating to roll. After a chill however, the butter has set up enough that the dough rolls without sticking, making it ideal for slathering with brown sugar-cinnamon filling. This overnight method is also the ideal way to get scratch-made cinnamon rolls on the breakfast table without having to get up and start baking when it’s still dark outside. Sleep > baking.Classic Cinnamon RollsOnce the dough has been filled, roll it into a cylinder and slice it into pieces.Classic Cinnamon RollsClassic Cinnamon RollsLet them rise and bake them until they’re brown.Classic Cinnamon RollsAnd then slather them with a thin coat of cream cheese frosting. Or double the recipe for a thick coat. Whatever floats your cinnamon roll boat. <—hey, that rhymes.Classic Cinnamon RollsAnyway, you don’t need me to talk you into wanting fresh cinnamon rolls (unless you hate them like my sister…weirdo). Take some time to make a batch this holiday season, and you might be surprised to find they are as pleasurable to bake as they are to eat.Classic Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 rolls

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature

Filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces (1/2 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened to room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

The night before you want to eat kolaches, make the dough. Cut butter into 8 pieces.Combine butter, whole milk, and sour cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt together, stirring occasionally, until mixture is warm to the touch (about 115F). Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to prove for 5 minutes. Mixture will have just a few small bubbles.

Add 1 cup of the flour, the cinnamon, and salt to the wet ingredients. Fold together. Fold in beaten eggs, followed by 2 1/4 more cups of flour. Dough will be very soft and a bit sticky.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5 minutes before forming into a ball. Dough will be very soft and sticky—use a bench scraper for easiest kneading. Grease a mixing bowl with oil. Place dough ball in the bowl, being sure to grease it on all sides. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the dough. Refrigerate overnight, about 8-12 hours.

In the morning, make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together softened unsalted butter, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon, until it’s completely combined. Set aside.

Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish, line the bottom with foil, and butter again. Remove dough from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14×17-inch rectangle. Use an offset icing spatula to spread filling over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free environment for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes, tenting the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Let rolls cool 5-10 minutes.

Make the cream cheese frosting. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter together until fluffy and lighter in color. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla and continue to mix until incorporated.

Drop spoonfuls of the frosting over the tops of the rolls and use an offset icing spatula to spread it into a thin layer over all the rolls.

Slice and serve.

Cinnamon Rolls are best the day they are made, but will keep covered at room temperature for up to 48 hours.
Classic Cinnamon RollsClassic Cinnamon RollsClassic Cinnamon Rolls

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High Rise Cinnamon Rolls

High Rise Cinnamon RollsEvery once in a while, it’s fun to break the rules. Take these High Rise Cinnamon Rolls, for instance. Generally speaking, sweet rolls are usually baked close together, producing a bunch of puffy rolls in one even layer. But if you change just a few things about those traditional recipes, you wind up with tall-spired cinnamon rolls with crispy edges and soft centers.

High Rise Cinnamon RollsHigh Rise Cinnamon Rolls are my take on the rolls at The Upper Crust Bakery in Austin, Texas. Whenever I visit my sister, Emily, down there, I just have to have one. Rather than being baked together, theirs are baked in muffin tins–crispy edges and soft centers, y’all! 

High Rise Cinnamon RollsGetting these cinnamon rolls to turn out like those that inspired them wasn’t as easy as just placing the rolls in muffin cups and letting them rise. Nope! I did that for round one and ended up with flat rolls. After doing a little more research, I set out to alter my usual method.

High Rise Cinnamon RollsHigh Rise Cinnamon RollsThe simplest (but ultimately, most dramatic) change is in the rolling. Once your yeast dough is made, risen once, flattened into a rectangle, and filled, it’s time to roll it up. Traditionally, the sheet of dough is rolled starting at a long edge. Here, we roll the dough from one of the short edges. This allows for each roll to have a longer spiral.

High Rise Cinnamon RollsOnce the dough is rolled into a cylinder, slice it into a dozen pieces. Working with one at a time, pick it up and gently press the bottom center upward before placing the roll in a greased muffin cup. This small amount of pressure encourages the rolls to expand up instead of out during their second rise.

High Rise Cinnamon RollsHigh Rise Cinnamon RollsAfter the rolls have spiraled upward, bake them for twenty minutes or so–they should be deeply golden. And look at those tall spires! Some of them may start to topple over a bit, but I kind of love that no two are exactly alike.

High Rise Cinnamon RollsHigh Rise Cinnamon RollsHigh Rise Cinnamon RollsWhile you could certainly top these High Rise Cinnamon Rolls with a quick glaze or cream cheese frosting, I take another note from Upper Crust here and dip each in butter and cinnamon-sugar! The contrast between the caramelized cinnamon filling and the crunchy granules on the outside is absolute heaven.

High Rise Cinnamon RollsYep, it’s good to break the rules every once in a while. Especially when it involves cinnamon rolls.High Rise Cinnamon Rolls

High Rise Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 rolls

Dough:
3/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 3/4-2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup bread flour
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, beaten

Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Coating:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Make the dough. In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until hot to the touch, about 115F. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast is bubbly. If your yeast doesn’t bubble, it’s dead. Discard the mixture and start again with new yeast.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, bread flour, and salt. Once the yeast has bloomed, use a silicone spatula to stir in flour mixture. Stir in eggs. Add more flour in 2 tablespoon increments, just until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. I usually need 4-6 tablespoons more flour, but you may add up to 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) depending on your dough.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Place dough ball in an oiled bowl and cover in plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 90 minutes-2 hours, until doubled in bulk.

Grease a 12-cup standard muffin tin. Set aside. 

Make the filling. In a small bowl, use a fork to mash butter, light brown sugar, and cinnamon into a paste.

Punch dough down. Turn it out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out into an 11×17-inch rectangle. Spread the filling in an even layer over the top, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Starting with one of the short sides, tightly roll the dough into a cylinder. Smooth any seams with your thumbs. Slice into 12 rolls. Place the rolls in the muffin cups, lightly pushing up the middle of each roll. Loosely drape the pan with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free environment to rise for another 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Remove the plastic wrap from the pan. Bake rolls 20-25 minutes, until browned with lofty spiraled centers. Let rolls cool in the pan on a rack for 5-10 minutes. Remove rolls from the pan and let cool completely on the rack.

Prepare the coating. Melt butter in the microwave or in a pot on the stove. In a shallow dish, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Working with one roll at a time, dip each in butter and then roll or sprinkle them with cinnamon-sugar. Serve immediately.

Coated rolls will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two days. Uncoated rolls may be frozen. Thaw and coat before serving.

High Rise Cinnamon Rolls

Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls

Marzipan Cinnamon RollsThese Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls were not the plan. They weren’t even Plan B (I rarely have a Plan B–I’m not that organized).

Last week, while I was hanging out with my old friend, Erin, I definitely had sweet rolls on the brain, but they weren’t these. I had big plans for Banana Pecan Sticky Buns. The second Erin left to head back to Boston, I whipped up a batch of caramel, toasted some pecans, made a yeast dough and filled it with a cinnamon-banana filling. I let the rolls rise and baked them until golden. I inverted the pan, plated a roll for myself, and…I burnt the caramel. All that work and anticipation and I went and burnt the dang caramel. And I was fresh out of overripe bananas.

Marzipan Cinnamon RollsI did get one thing right with those failed sticky buns–I finally made a yeast dough that I love. I’ve liked my past attempts, but I am all about this new dough of mine. Whole milk and an extra egg yolk make it rich and flavorful, but soft and fluffy enough that eating one roll doesn’t make you feel like you’ve had a brick for breakfast. Knowing I had to get this new dough of mine on this blog ASAP, I rifled through my “special occasion” ingredients until I found a forgotten can of marzipan, an almond paste that is usually reserved for being shaped like fruit or for cake decorating. After a few minutes of debating if almond paste would actually “go” in a sweet roll, I came to my senses. Almonds and cinnamon are magnificent together. Paired with that new dough and an almond glaze, I knew I had a winner on my hands.

Marzipan Cinnamon RollsY’all, these rolls. They’ve got everything you love about classic cinnamon rolls, but with all the sweet almond-scented magic of marzipan. And thanks to instant yeast, they’re easy to make. 

Yes, I just said working with yeast is easy. I know many home bakers are intimidated by it, but it’s really no trouble at all once it’s been proven. The problem is that the proofing step is what scares people away. Instant yeast, however, takes away the need for proofing, making yeast-based recipes just as easy as those made with baking powder and baking soda. Just whisk a packet of instant yeast into your dry ingredients–it’s that easy.
Marzipan Cinnamon RollsMarzipan Cinnamon RollsAnother great thing about instant yeast? It eliminates the need for two long rises. Once your dough is nice and smooth, it needs just ten minutes of rest before it can be filled. Instant yeast still requires one rest, but it’s only an hour–just enough time to have that second cup of coffee, apologize to your significant other/roommate/visiting friend, make another pot, and fall into a Wikipedia hole. Before you know it, your Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls will be nice and puffy and ready to bake.

Marzipan Cinnamon RollsOnce your rolls are golden brown, drizzle a quick glaze over the top, sprinkle on some toasted almonds, and grab a plate and eleven of your closest friends. Trust me, you’ll need them. I ate two of these while they were still warm, took a gazillion photos of them, and then put an announcement on Facebook that I was giving away Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls to anyone who asked. My neighborhood friends are used to me doing stuff like that by now, so I spent Sunday evening running around delivering cinnamon rolls. The friends that tried them immediately understood why I couldn’t keep the whole batch in the house. They’re that good.Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls

Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 rolls

Dough:
1 3/4-2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour*
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, beaten, room temperature

Filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
8 ounces marzipan
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)

Garnish & Glaze:
1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Grease a 9×13-inch rimmed baking pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until hot to the touch, about 115F. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in milk mixture, followed by egg and yolk. Add more all-purpose flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 5-6 minutes before forming into a ball and placing in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together butter and marzipan. Mash in sugar, cinnamon, salt, and optional almond extract. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 8×14-inch rectangle. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Use an offset knife or spoon to spread filling mixture over the dough, using a 1/2-inch perimeter on all sides. Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free place* for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes, recovering the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

While rolls are baking, prepare the garnish. Place almonds in a dry skillet. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until nuts are fragrant and slightly browned, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, salt, heavy cream, vanilla, and almond extract. Drizzle over baked rolls. Scatter toasted almonds over the top. Serve warm.

Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls are best served the day they are made, but will keep at room temperature for a day or so.

Notes:

1. If you do not have or do not wish to use bread flour, you may use an equal volume of all-purpose flour. The texture will be slightly different, but your rolls will still be delicious.


2. I preheat my oven to 200F, turn it off, and slide the covered pan inside. After 60-90 minutes, my rolls are ready to bake. Works every time.

Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls

Mini Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls

 Cinnamon rolls are amazing. (Duh.) Gooey cinnamon filling rolled into soft pastry and covered in frosting–what’s not to love?!

Well…the time commitment. Even supposedly “quick and easy” recipes take three hours. The problem is the yeast. It takes a while. Like multiple-long-rises a while. Add to that the fact that working with yeast strikes fear into the hearts of many casual bakers. I’ve learned that yeast is nothing to fear, but still. When I want cinnamon rolls, I want them *now.* Not in three or six or eight hours–NOW.

I clearly have some pretty serious breakfast pastry needs. 

What if I told you that you could have some seriously good cinnamon rolls on your table in less than 90 minutes? And that you didn’t have to proof any yeast or let anything rise? Would you be interested?

Yeah, I thought so.

Enter Mini Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls. All the sweet cinnamon goodness of classic cinnamon rolls, wrapped up in a delightfully easy cream biscuit dough and positively smothered in cream cheese frosting. Oh my word, are these good. And they’re miniature, because tiny food just tastes better somehow. 

The dough base is the same as the one I used in my Scratch Biscuit Monkey Bread. It’s super easy: mix together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder, and stir in 2 cups of cream (I said quick and easy, not healthy). That’s it. Seriously easy. I do not recommend using a regular buttermilk biscuit dough here–the butter in that dough must be kept cold, or your results will be bricks. No, thank you. This simple cream biscuit dough has no butter, so it doesn’t need to be kept absolutely frigid to bake up properly. Using this base, you can roll and flip and handle the dough as much as you want! 

    Once the dough is made, divide it in half. Take one half and roll it into a large rectangle on a floured surface. Then, take some butter that’s been spiked with granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and spread it over the whole thing, leaving only a thin border. Gently roll the long edge of the dough toward your body until you have a tight cylinder. 

 Cut the rolled dough into 1-inch rolls and place them close together in a buttered pan. Repeat that process with the other half of the dough, and then bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes at 400F.  
 Make a half-batch of my cream cheese frosting, and spread it over the warm rolls. Yes, this is a lot of frosting, but that’s how I roll. <–Ha! Roll. 

Seriously, look at that.

If a metric ton of frosting isn’t your thing, you may halve the recipe. The frosting will melt into every nook and cranny of the cinnamon rolls and make everything super gooey and delicious. In fact, the frosting is so thick, I had a hard time seeing while cutting out individual rolls–but when they’re this good, I don’t care if they’re totally gorgeous. The tang of the frosting with the fluffy biscuit base and sweet cinnamon filling is just…everything. 

So, the next time you have a craving for cinnamon rolls, make these Mini Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls. In less than 90 minutes, you’ll be tucking into a full pan of amazingness, and you won’t have fretted over yeast or waited an eternity! These are perfect for any weekend morning or brunch party. Nobody can resist these sweet little rolls 😊 

 Mini Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls
makes about two dozen miniature rolls

Filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Biscuits:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream, cold

Frosting:
4-ounces (1/2 brick) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter. Set aside.

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together softened unsalted butter, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, until it’s completely combined. Set aside.

Make the biscuit dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, salt, and baking powder. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in heavy cream, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Dough will be shaggy. Divide dough in halves.

On a floured surface, roll half the dough into a 14×8-inch rectangle. Use an offset knife (or butter knife) to spread half the filling onto the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border at the edge. Starting at the long edge furthest away from your body, tightly roll the dough toward you until you have one large cylinder. Slice into 1-inch pieces, and place close together in the prepared pan. Repeat process with the second half of the dough.

Bake rolls for 15-20 minutes, until light golden and fully cooked. Let cool ten minutes while you make the frosting.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar and salt, followed by vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Drop frosting in dollops over the top of the warm rolls. Spread with an offset knife to cover the entire top of the rolls. Let set for ten minutes before serving.

Mini Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls are best served the day they are made, but may be kept covered at room temperature for up to three days.