In case you couldn’t tell so far, I am a huge fan of cinnamon! And of course, cinnamon rolls are just the crown jewel for all things cinnamon. I think it all started when I visited the States and my now-husband took me to Cinnabon. Ahh what a lovely mistake he made – I’ve been deeply in love with cinnamon rolls ever since! And even though I haven’t been back, I keep dreaming about them. It’s one of my favourite super-indulgent treats ever.
I’ve wanted so badly to have that experience again that I’ve made cinnamon rolls a million times and honestly, no matter how hard I try I cannot recreate what those guys do! I don’t think I ever will but I will say that these are really delicious, and while they’re not like the ones you would buy, they are fairly close!
These buns are such a showstopper – they’re big and decadent and deliciously cinnamony. They have (in my opinion) just the right amount of frosting and they are sweet and oh so fluffy! The dough is probably the part I’m most proud of – it’s one of those recipes I’ve made over and over and tinkered with a lot and I think the results are worth all the effort! (Not that it’s a problem having to eat cinnamon rolls over and over, but you know!)
I really do think these are the ultimate cinnamon buns, they are beautiful and decadent and don’t get me wrong – it’s not something I’d suggest making often! – but they really feel like something special. I’m really proud of how they’ve turned out and I think the recipe is pretty bulletproof. I’ve made it over and over again and it comes out perfect every time. So let me show you!
First things first:
- Make sure to check that your yeast is not expired and find a warm spot for your dough to live
- Get the butter for your filling out of the fridge to soften up
- 1 pack dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cup warm milk
- Make sure it’s warm but not hot – a good way to tell is if when you put a finger in there it doesn’t burn but also doesn’t feel cold. Should feel like “blood temperature”. For me it takes about 30-45 sec in the microwave.
- 1tbsp sugar
- 110g butter – you’ll need it melted and cooled down slightly
- 5 cups plain flour
- 1 cup strong bread flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- Vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
- 200g soft butter – spreadable consistency, almost melted
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2-3 tbsp cinnamon (depends on how cinnamony you like it! I use 3tbsp)
- Optional: 1/4 cup heavy cream +/- pinch of cinnamon
- 80g cream cheese, soft
- 20g butter, soft
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- Vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
- 2-3 tbsp milk
How to make them:
1 – The dough:
- First of all, we need to activate the yeast. In order to do this, mix your melted butter with a tbsp of sugar and the warmed milk (read how to tell warmth on ingredients list) and sprinkle the pack of dry yeast over the top. Let it sit for about 5 min – until it starts to get foamy and smells like a bakery.
- In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) add all the other ingredients for your dough
- Once the yeast mixture has foamed up, add it to the rest of your ingredients and mix them all together until a dough starts to form.
- Sometimes you may need to add a bit more flour if it’s sticking to the sides, just let it all combine and give it some time to see if it comes together but if it looks really wet, just add a bit more flour – 1tbsp or so at a time
- Once it’s looking like dough, knead it for a couple more minutes – until it no longer sticks to your fingers and it looks smooth. It should still feel tacky but it shouldn’t stick.
- Place your beautiful dough baby in an oiled bowl (oil the sides and bottom of the bowl, roll the dough around to coat with the oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap) and pop it in a warm spot that’s away from any drafts. I tend to use my oven (with the oven turned off).
- Let it rise for about 1.5 – 2 hours, until it’s grown significantly (usually doubles in size). This is a good time to take your butter and cream cheese out of the fridge to soften up.
2 – The filling:
- In the meantime, prepare your filling by mixing both sugars and cinnamon until it’s an even consistency.
- Make sure your butter is nice and spreadable. If not, you may want to pop it in the microwave for 10-15 sec – you don’t want to melt it!
- To fill your rolls, you can either spread the butter and sprinkle your sugary mixture on top or you can mix it directly with the butter to create a delicious paste. I like to do this as I feel it’s actually easier to fill them and it also gives me a more even coating.
3 – Shaping the rolls:
- Once the dough is ready, gently deflate it and plop it onto a floured surface
- Roll the dough to form a rectangle and try to make it relatively even. You want the dough to be about half a cm thick.
- This amount of dough should give you a rectangle measuring about 80x40cm (please don’t get the ruler out – it’s just for reference!)
- Spread your sugary cinnamony butter all over your dough and make sure to get as close to all the edges as possible!
- Roll the dough on it’s long side, so you end up with a long log – I like to roll away from me. Then keep the seam-side down and squeeze it gently to make the whole log as even in thickness as possible.
- When I did this my roll measured about 95cm in length (again, please don’t measure it – just did this for your reference).
- Cut your dough log into equal-sized pieces. I like to cut it in half, then each half in halves etc.
- Keep the rolls as thin or as thick as you like but for this size log I usually get out about 16 chunky rolls
- Place the rolls on your baking tray (with the swirl up), cover loosely with plastic wrap and pop it back into a warm spot to rise for another hour or so.
4 – The glaze:
- Now that your rolls are having their second proof, it’s a good time to make your glaze so it’s ready for when they’re baked. Make sure your butter and cream cheese are nice and soft and beat them on a med-high speed for a few minutes, until they look well combined and slightly fluffy.
- Once your butter and cream cheese are nicely combined, add-in your sifted powdered sugar and beat slowly until combined. Then crank the speed up and keep beating until everything is well combined and looks light and airy.
- Add in your vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste) and beat for another minute or so.
- At this point, it’s up to you what consistency you want. Slowly add some milk – 1 tbsp at a time – until it’s as thick or as runny as you want it. I usually need to add 2-3 tbsp for this.
- A good way to tell if the glaze is at a nice consistency is by grabbing a spoon and drizzling it on itself – if you’re able to draw the number 8 and the ribbons stay for a few seconds or a minute, it’s usually a pretty good consistency I think. If you like it a bit more runny, just add some more milk. Just do it slowly!
- Keep the glaze air-tight until you’re ready to use it
- I like to put it into a piping bag so I can spread it evenly once my rolls are baked
- Make sure that your frosting doesn’t sit in the open air for a while or it’ll form a crust and set completely
5 – Baking and glazing the rolls:
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 180C
- Optional (but recommended!): While you’re waiting for your oven to heat up, warm up some heavy cream in the microwave for about 30-45 sec. Then very gently brush it over the top of your rolls, just before baking. This will provide moisture, a golden crust and a little extra bit of flavor! Yum.
- If you want to maximise the cinnamony flavor, add a pinch (about 1/4 tsp or so) to your cream when you warm it up. Yes please!
- Bake your rolls at 180C for 20 – 25 min, until they look beautifully golden on top and your house smells like heaven (honestly, best smell ever!)
- When your rolls are done baking, get them out of the oven and let them cool down on your countertop for about 5 – 10 min and then frost them – I like to either spoon it or pipe it over the rolls, in a non-specific manner.
- Frost your rolls while they’re still warm but not straight out of the oven or your frosting will melt completely!
- Wait a few more minutes until they’re cool enough to handle and the frosting has found its righteous place – and dig right in!
- This may seem like a lot of things to do, and in a way it kind of is. It’s not difficult but with all the proofing it does take a long time to make. If you don’t feel you’ve got the time to make them all in one go, you can make the dough the night before and let it proof slowly in the fridge overnight. You can also prepare the filling and the glaze all the day before and pop them in the fridge.
- You can also make the dough, let it have it’s first proof and then freeze it for another time. Just let it come up to temperature slowly and take it from there.
- Also, you can do the whole process up to the point of baking (make the dough, let it rise, roll it out and fill it, cut your rolls and put them on your baking tray) and then put them in the fridge or freezer. Then all you need to do when you want to bake them is take them out onto a warm, draft-free spot for a couple of hours, brush them with your warm cream and bake them.
- If you’re thinking of putting them in the fridge or freezer at any point, make sure they’re as airtight as you can. You don’t want the dough to dry out and get a weird crust on it!
- If you like a bit more texture on your rolls, once you’ve spread your filling over your dough rectangle you can add other things like raisins (yuck), chocolate chips or nuts. I like to keep them as they are but this is an option!
- This recipe is fairly large and it does make 16 very chunky buns. If it’s too much for what you want I’d suggest you make the dough, cut it in half and freeze the half that you don’t need (that way you can use it again on a different day). Then just cut the amounts of the other stuff (filling and glaze) in half and you’ll be good to go!
I really hope you give this recipe a try, and if you do please share it with me! It makes me so happy to see you guys trying out my recipes and loving them, thank you!! I’m working on some more stuff that will be coming your way soon so stay posted! And as always, thanks for reading me and see you again soon!