There’s nothing quite like eating a freshly baked and frosted cinnamon roll. Warm, soft and cinnamon-y, with cold, melting whipped cream cheese frosting… I want one right now! Breakfast, lunch, middle of the night, there is no time of day that a fresh cinnamon roll is not welcome!
Although there are many variations on the cinnamon roll out there, this one is the easiest and most rewarding that I have tried so far. The main dough comes together in under 20 minutes, and although there is the necessary first rise, and later a second one, the dough handles fairly easily and puffs up beautifully. You can make these in about 5 hours, or, leave them to rise overnight and have them for breakfast tomorrow!
Bonus: The house smelt amazing while these were baking!
You’ve probably noticed that there are two different frostings on these rolls. I made both a whipped cream cheese frosting AND a maple coffee frosting to go on these babies. Both these frostings are so, so good, and on top of the rolls, I was in serious food heaven.
It was dangerous keeping the whole batch in our house (I could and probably would have eaten all of them!), so I gave most of these away to Nathaniel’s team and our neighbours (they profess to love me a LOT more now, apparently a warm cinnamon roll can buy you some love. Lol!)
These rolls keep for four days, and a minute in the microwave returns them to their fluffy warm state. Try them with either the whipped cream cheese frosting or the maple coffee icing, or do BOTH on one roll. I promise that you’ll thank me!
Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls
Makes about 16 cinnamon rolls
475g-550g or 3½-4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
75g or 1/3 cup white sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
½ tsp salt (up to 1 tsp – to taste)
85g or 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs, lightly whisked
180ml or 3/4 cup buttermilk
113g or 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 – 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, packed
4-5 teaspoons cinnamon
Make the Dough:
- In a large bowl, combine 3 1/2 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar, yeast, salt to taste; set aside.
- Melt butter in a small microwave-safe bowl, set aside. Crack eggs in another bowl and whisk; set aside. Add buttermilk to a glass measuring cup and warm to temperature, about 30- 45 seconds in the microwave. You want it comfortably warm to the touch, but not so hot that it will kill the yeast, if in doubt, err on the side of caution and have it cooler. If the milk separates after being warmed, just whisk it a little.
- Add the melted butter, eggs, buttermilk to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix well.
- Use the wooden spoon to knead and mix the dough vigorously for 15-18 minutes. If after 10 minutes of mixing, the dough is not clearing the sides of the bowl, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time until it does so. The dough should be very sticky and moist, don’t be tempted to add too much flour as this will make the rolls more dense and heavy – the less flour, the fluffier these will be. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl, but if it sticks a little to the bottom, that’s fine. Knead until the dough is elastic.
*You can definitely use a standing mixer to knead the dough – just mix the dough in the bowl and knead for 10-12 minutes instead.
- Spray a large bowl with oil, and transfer the dough mixture into it. Cover with clingfilm/plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise for about 2 hours – or doubled in size.
- Prepare your pans by lining them with parchment paper and set aside – I used a 9X13inch sheetcake pan, and two 8 inch round cake pans for 16 rolls
Assemble the cinnamon rolls:
- After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead for a minute. Divide it in two. Take one piece of dough out onto a lightly floured Silpat mat or countertop and roll it out to a large rectangle – the dough should come to about 1/3-1/2 an inch thick – with the long side facing you.
- With a butterknife, spread ¼ cup of butter all over the dough, to the shorter edges of the rectangle, but stopping about an inch from the longer edges. Evenly sprinkle 2 tsp of cinnamon and ½ cup brown sugar over the buttered dough.
- Loosen the dough from the mat and roll it up away from you (starting with the long end) into a tight log. Pinch the seam closed and turn over so the log is seam-side down.
- Using a dough scraper (or serrated knife, or unwaxed and unflavoured dental floss), cut into 8 rolls. Tip: I like to cut the roll in half, and then halve the halves, repeating until you get the right number of rolls to get evenly sized rolls. The rolls should be about an inch wide.
- Arrange rolls in pan, and repeat steps with other half of dough.
- Cover rolls with plastic wrap.
I want to eat them ASAP:
Let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled in size – 1 to 1½ hours
I want them later:
Place the rolls in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature until nearly doubled in size – about an hour. They should look something like this:
Bake the rolls:
Bake at 350F or 180C (160C fan-forced) for 15-22 minutes, or until cooked through and slightly golden.
Quickly frost with either or both of the frostings below. Serve immediately. These are best eaten fresh, but will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days – if they last that long. Reheat leftover rolls in the microwave for 30secs-1minute before serving.
You can also freeze the baked rolls sans frosting for serving at a later date. Thaw at room temperature and microwave for a minute once fully thawed. Frost and serve.
Make the frosting and icing while the rolls are rising. You can store these in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to a week, although they’ve never really lasted more than three days in our house. Also, don’t be afraid to slather them on. There is no such thing as too much frosting on these rolls!
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Not So Humble Pie
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4-1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
- In a large bowl, beat the cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon until smooth and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat the heavy cream to nearly stiff peaks, then add the whipped cream into the cheese mixture and briefly beat to mix.
- Add more lemon juice to taste if needed and beat just until combined. Do not over beat.
Maple Coffee Icing
Inspired by The Pioneer Woman
907g or 2lb powdered sugar
¼-1/2 cup maple syrup
¼ cup milk, divided
¼ cup butter, melted
1/8-1/4 cup very very strong coffee
1/8-1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp instant coffee granules, crushed (Optional)
- In a medium bowl, sift the powdered sugar.
- With a wooden spoon, mix in the butter, 2 tbsp of milk, ¼ cup maple syrup and 1/8 cup coffee.
- Taste and add more maple syrup and/or coffee if needed – you want a nice balance of both flavours. If necessary, add more milk a tablespoon at a time until the mixture is still thick but pourable.
- Add salt to taste. Stir in coffee granules if using.
Go forth and share the cinnamony love!