I made that!

Because some things just need to be shared.

Posted in All Sugar All The Time, Playing With Yeast by brandi on March 16, 2013

Something happened this week. I was teaching a class on enriched breads, and had spent weeks testing and testing to get everything perfect. There was pain de mie, beautiful braids of challah, petit brioche a tete, and lots of parker house rolls. When I envisioned the class, I pictured mountains of breads, which I personally found very appealing. But I was worried that people wouldn’t think it was exciting enough. I needed some intrigue. A wild card. Something to get people in the door. I needed cinnamon rolls.


I’ll be honest, two weeks ago I was pretty ambivalent about cinnamon rolls. Sure, they were nice. I mean, who’s going to complain about swirly squishy bread covered in cinnamon and frosting? But I had never had my mind blown by a cinnamon roll. Cinnabons are pretty good, I guess, but I can literally taste the chemicals on my tongue after attempting to eat one of those. Weirdly enough, when I was thinking back to formative cinnamon bun years, they seemed to revolve around those canned ones at the grocery store that you ice yourself and aren’t even swirly. A dressed up version of those, that was the cinnamon bun of my dreams. So with that weird little canned bun in mind, I set about developing a recipe.


It only took about four tries. It helped that I already had the dough worked out from the sticky pecan buns that I taught last summer (aaaah, another blog post that I started and never finished…sigh). It was all about getting the flavors right. And I’m pretty sure I nailed it. I’m also pretty sure that in those four days of trying, followed by four days of teaching and baking the rolls, I transitioned from an ambivalent cinnamon roll passer-by to a full fledged devotee. Around day 6 I started dreaming about them. Then I started seeing them everywhere: coasters, camera lenses, even my cat all rolled up while sleeping started looking like a cinnamon bun that I really, REALLY wanted to nibble on (as if I actually eat them that daintily). It was all I talked about on facebook, prompting some recipe requests, which made me think: “hey, I know what I haven’t done in a while: a blog post!” So here I am, sharing these rolls, because dammit, they are worth breaking my four-month blog pause to share. Enjoy.


Cinnamon Rolls:

Yield: 12 rolls


12 ounces bread flour

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 ounces whole milk, lukewarm

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 egg yolk, room temperature

6 ounces unsalted butter, soft

Cinnamon Filling:

5 ounces brown sugar

5 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 ounces unsalted butter, soft

Cream Cheese Glaze:

2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, soft

2 ounces unsalted butter, soft

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk

Make the dough:

– Stir together the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a stand mixer bowl (or large mixing bowl). Combine the milk and eggs in a separate small bowl. Pour the egg mixture in the dry mixture and stir until smooth. Let this mixture rest for about 5 minutes so that the gluten can begin to develop.

– One piece at a time, knead in the butter, waiting until each addition of butter assimilates before adding more. This will take a few minutes. Continue mixing for about 6 more minutes, or until the dough is very well mixed. You will have to scrape down the bowl from time to time as the dough will cling to it. The dough will be very smooth.

– Place the dough in a large bowl. Cover the pan with plastic wrap. If making that day, place in a warm spot to rise. Once risen, place in the fridge to chill before rolling, As cold dough is much easier to work with. If making in advance, put the dough into the refrigerator and chill overnight, or for at least 4 hours.

Assemble the buns:

– Mix together the cinnamon, sugar and salt and set aside.

– On a floured work surface, roll out the brioche into rectangle about 12 by 16 inches and 1/4-inch thick. It should be fairly easy to roll. Position the rectangle so a long side is facing you. Spread the soft butter evenly over the entire surface of the dough, then sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar mixture. Starting from the side closest to you, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. Try to roll tightly, so you have a nice round spiral. Trim off about 1 inch from each end of the roll to make them even. If at any point the dough becomes warm or sticky, place it in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.

– Use a bench scraper or knife to cut the roll into 12 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2-inches wide. At this point, the unbaked buns can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, thaw them, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, then proceed as directed.

– Butter a 9”x13” baking pan. Arrange the buns, evenly spaced, in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm spot to proof until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft and the buns are touching-almost tripled in size, about 2 hours.

– Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 375 degrees. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the glaze.

Glaze the buns:

– Whisk together all of the glaze ingredients until smooth.

– When the cinnamon rolls are finished baking, you can decide whether to glaze them warm or after they’ve cooled. One at a time, invert the buns onto a wire cooling rack. Spread the glaze onto them, you will have more than enough.


23 Responses

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  1. A Plum By Any Other Name said, on March 16, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I am thrilled (thrilled!) that you posted something new. Any time I try one of your recipes it quickly becomes a go-to. Though I’ve never gotten too jazzed about cinnamon rolls, I can muster up the frosting to get behind these buns. So I thank you.

  2. Turmeric and Twine said, on March 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    I like how devoted you are to perfecting a recipe. AND cinnamon rolls are a pretty satisfying thing to get right over and over. Love it.

  3. dee said, on March 16, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Looks yummy! Will definitely be trying this recipe!

  4. Marisa said, on March 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Brandi! These look gorgeous!

  5. Rosie said, on March 17, 2013 at 6:55 am

    These look delicious. If you feel like it, I wouldn’t mind hearing about those sticky pecan buns, either.

    And here’s something that likens sleeping cats to another pastry item: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elpAKTauZUw

    • hadleyeg said, on March 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm

      Yay! A new post! I just made cinnamon rolls last weekend for the first time. We forgot the cinnamon in the filling, but sprinkled on top was an okay save for a couple of rookies. They were fun to make and delicious. Ill have to try your recipe next!

  6. Sarah said, on March 17, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    There is something narcotic about the smell of cinnamon buns baking, I find it totally and utterly relaxing. I think these photos are really great too, god I could use a cinnamon bun right now.

  7. Alice said, on March 18, 2013 at 2:45 am

    These look amazing – I can’t wait to try them. Just discovered your blog and can’t wait to explore more. Wish I lived in Seattle so that I could take a class at The Pantry. the How to Be a Pie Ninja: Summer Berry Pies is seriously the cooking class of my dreams.

  8. Nuala said, on March 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Yum! Not that I don’t love cinnamon rolls, but how do you think these would taste with a savory filling? Cheddar, onion, herbs…..

    • Russell said, on March 30, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      To each his (her) own but definately not savoury for me, would not cheddar, and certainly onions, obliterate the fine cinnamon taste?

  9. kstallbe said, on March 25, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I think a detail is missing…. There is no mention of the volume on the initial rise? A doubling?

  10. Dahlia said, on April 1, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Ohhh they look beautiful, I’ve always wanted to master cinnamon rolls! Were you using all-purpose flour? I’ve been reading a book called Health on Your Plate that lists several alternative grains and I’m interested in experimenting with them…I wonder how these might work with buckwheat flour. Thank you!

  11. tara said, on April 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    I need to make cinnamon buns. I was ambivalent about them until a little man of mine had a disappointing one and I’ve since made it my life’s work to convince him of their worth. I think these might be the ticket.

  12. molly said, on May 17, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Ace in the hole, indeed. I see these working their way into breakfast, chez nous, ASAP.

    Thank you!

  13. Liza said, on May 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    I have made these four times now, including a double batch for my daughter’s school during Teacher Appreciation week. So good!

  14. Rachel @ Bakerita said, on November 13, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Cinnamon rolls are amazing, and I haven’t made a regular batch in so long! These look so good, definitely need to try your recipe.

  15. Mommy G said, on December 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    What can be better than these rolls? Especially in Christmastime!


  16. Perry @CavaCava said, on February 17, 2014 at 1:55 am

    It’s always good to give away little things like this one that really makes other people happy

  17. marie's eats said, on July 31, 2014 at 3:23 am

    WOW these look yummy (and I’m quite particular when it comes to cinnamon buns, they’re a big big deal in Denmark). Yum!

  18. lordstilllovesme said, on July 31, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    These look absolutely delicious! I love your photography as well. 🙂

  19. Maria Lopez said, on August 19, 2014 at 2:22 am

    This is a yummy recipe! thank you soo much for sharing this…:)

  20. Peas for Two said, on February 18, 2015 at 11:51 am

    This look delicious! Great recipe.

  21. Rocky said, on July 16, 2015 at 3:34 am

    i like Cinnamon Rolls recipe very much as you know we called it perfection when squishy bread covered in cinnamon and frosting. i like cupcake muffins too very often. They looks very cool with ferris wheel cupcake holder amazon. Isn’t it

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