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Flaky Cinnamon Rolls

Flaky Cinnamon Rolls

These Flaky Cinnamon Rolls are The Best in The World, The Most Perfect Ever, The Only Recipe You’ll Ever Need, etc. In my picky-as-hell opinion, at least. You know that cinnamon roll “hack” going around social media right now where they pour heavy cream all over unbaked rolls to make sure they turn out extra soft and moist? Well, that’s like the worst thing you could do any cinnamon roll I’m gonna eat. Yes, I’ve got yet another oddball food opinion: the “gooey center” is the least desirable part of a cinnamon roll!

The dough is folded repeatedly to make the layers, then baked at two temperatures until golden brown and slightly crisp on top, before being smothered with two layers of cream cheese frosting: the first layer goes on as soon as they come out of the oven so it seeps into those layers making them extra delicious. These Flaky Cinamon Rolls either fresh from the oven or heated up in the microwave for a pinch are little pieces of heaven. Oh, and if you’re curious I order CinnaSweeties whenever we stop by Cinnabon.

Looking for an easier dessert with similar flavors? Check out my Honey Bun Cake recipe! Actually, it’s not mine, it’s my grandmother-in-law’s, and it’s amazing!

Flaky Cinnamon Rolls with cream cheese icing

Flaky Cinnamon Rolls Ingredients

Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Flaky Cinnamon Rolls recipe:

  • All-purpose flour, baking powder: Self-rising flour is fine if that’s all you have. Omit the baking powder, in that case. The flour is for the dough, obviously, and we use a bit of it in the cinnamon sugar paste to make sure it stays intact during baking, rather than seeping out of the bottom.
  • Whole milk: We’ll warm it up and mix the yeast into it. I call for instant yeast which doesn’t need to bloom, but if you use active dry make sure the milk isn’t too hot and let it bloom for 5 minutes before adding it to the mixing bowl.
  • Large egg: We only need it to seal the dough for our Flaky Cinnamon Rolls after we roll it up, and that’s optional. I just like to make extra sure they don’t come unraveled during the second rise.
  • Cinnamon, coriander, fine sea salt: Coriander compliments cinnamon very well, and adds an extra layer of flavor.
  • Vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract: If you don’t have vanilla bean paste you can replace it with vanilla extract, but this recipe is definitely better with the paste. The caviar spread throughout the dough is just so beautiful!
  • Granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, powdered sugar, raw sugar: Granulated sugar sweetens the dough and the cinnamon filling; dark brown sugar adds moisture, flavor, and sweetness to the filling; raw sugar is sprinkled on top for an extra crunch and texture; powdered sugar makes up the bulk of the cream cheese icing we top our Flaky Cinnamon Rolls with.
  • Butter flavored-shortening, unsalted butter, salted butter:
  • Instant yeast: The dough won’t rise without yeast! This is yeasted bread! Active dry yeast works, too.
  • Cream cheese: For the icing. Make sure it’s room temperature or slightly warmed so it’s easy to work into the icing without lumps.
Flaky Cinnamon Rolls with cream cheese icing, partially eaten with a piece of cinnamon roll still on the fork

How to Make Flaky Cinnamon Rolls

Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Flaky Cinnamon Rolls recipe:

  • Make the dough. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the shortening and granulated sugar. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the milk yeast mixture along with the salt and half of the flour. Mix together on medium for one minute, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the rest of the flour and the vanilla bean paste. Mix on medium for another minute, just until a dough has formed, then switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat on medium speed for 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should not be sticky to the touch. Pull the dough a little bit: if it retracts like a rubber band continue mixing for another 2-3 minutes. You want the dough to be pliable and not fight against manipulation. You can make Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place, about two hours or until it has doubled in size.
  • Make filling. In a medium bowl mix together the butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and flour. Mix together until a smooth, thick paste forms. Set the Flaky Cinnamon Rolls filling aside while you wait for the dough to rise. Next, slice the unsalted butter into thin pats. Place the pats of butter in the fridge or freezer while you wait for the dough to rise.
  • Prepare the layers. Roll out dough to about a 1/2″ thickness – somewhere around one foot wide and two feet long. Arrange the pats of unsalted butter over half of the dough, then fold the other half over the top of the butter to cover it. Press down around the edges to seal them. Now, fold the dough two more times, into a square or rectangle. Flour your rolling pin again and roll the dough back out to under an inch thickness. Fold the dough in half lengthwise, then fold that length in half. Roll the dough out again. Repeat this process once more, for a total of four folds. Your final dough should be about 1/2″ thick. This is where our flaky layers come in. Refer to my demonstrative video on Instagram if the process seems confusing.
  • Make the Flaky Cinnamon Rolls. Preheat your oven to 425°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Oil a 9×13″ and an 8×8″ baking dish with baking spray and set them aside. Beat the egg with one teaspoon of cold water until foamy and set it aside. Spread the rolled-out dough with the prepared filling, stopping about 1/2″ from one long end. Go all the way to the edges of all other ends. Apply the egg wash to the bare edge of the dough. Starting with the long end with filling all the way to the edge, begin rolling up the dough. Tuck and roll, keeping the roll tight as you go. Once you’ve rolled the dough into a log, use a serrated knife to slice the log into 1″ rounds. Arrange the rolls in the baking dishes, leaving about an inch or so of space between the rolls. Cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise until slightly puffy, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the tops with raw sugar.
  • Bake the Flaky Cinnamon Rolls. Place the rolls in the preheated 425°F oven and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the heat to 350°F and continue baking the cinnamon rolls for another 15 minutes.
  • Make the Frosting. In a mixing bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla extract. Whisk until everything is nice and smooth. If you’re having a problem with lumps you can microwave the bowl for a bit, or place it over a double boiler to heat it up a little bit, that should allow you to work out any lumps.
  • Frost the Flaky Cinnamon Rolls. Apply half of the frosting as soon as the rolls come out of the oven, then allow them to rest and cool for a bit. After 15 minutes apply all of the remaining frosting. Dassit. Enjoy!

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Flaky Cinnamon Rolls


  • Author: María
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 1214 large rolls 1x

Description

I don’t know man, “gooey” is not how I want to describe anything I’m eating.


Ingredients

Scale

Dough: 

  • 4 C (480 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 C whole milk, warm
  • 1/2 C (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 C (75 grams) butter-flavored shortening
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 7 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen
  • 2 tbsp raw sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Filling:

  • 1/2 C salted butter, room temperature
  • 4 tbsp white sugar
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander

Frosting:

  • 1 (8oz) block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the shortening and granulated sugar. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the milk yeast mixture along with the salt and half of the flour. Mix together on medium for one minute, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the rest of the flour and the vanilla bean paste. Mix on medium for another minute, just until a dough has formed, then switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat on medium speed for 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should not be sticky to the touch. Pull the dough a little bit: if it retracts like a rubber band continue mixing for another 2-3 minutes. You want the dough to be pliable and not fight against manipulation.
  2. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place, about two hours or until it has doubled in size.
  3. In a medium bowl mix together the butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and flour. Mix together until a smooth, thick paste forms. Set the filling aside while you wait for the dough to rise.
  4. Next, slice the unsalted butter into thin pats. Place the pats of butter in the fridge or freezer while you wait for the dough to rise.
  5. Flour your work surface lightly, then punch down your risen dough and transfer it to the floured surface. Roll out dough to about a 1/2″ thickness – somewhere around one foot wide and two feet long. Arrange the pats of unsalted butter over half of the dough, then fold the other half over the top of the butter to cover it. Press down around the edges to seal them. Now, fold the dough two more times, into a square or rectangle. Flour your rolling pin again and roll the dough back out to under an inch thickness. Fold the dough in half lengthwise, then fold that length in half. Roll the dough out again. Repeat this process once more, for a total of four folds. Your final dough should be about 1/2″ thick.
  6. Preheat your oven to 425°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Oil a 9×13″ and an 8×8″ baking dish with baking spray and set them aside. Beat the egg with one teaspoon of cold water until foamy and set it aside. Spread the rolled-out dough with the prepared filling, stopping about 1/2″ from one long end. Go all the way to the edges of all other ends. Apply the egg wash to the bare edge of the dough, and get ready to roll.
  7. Starting with the long end with filling all the way to the edge, begin rolling up the dough. Tuck and roll, keeping the roll tight as you go. Once you’ve rolled the dough into a log, use a serrated knife to slice the log into 1″ rounds. Arrange the rolls in the baking dishes, leaving about an inch or so of space between the rolls. Cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise until slightly puffy, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the tops with raw sugar.
  8. Place the rolls in the preheated 425°F oven and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the heat to 350°F and continue baking the cinnamon rolls for another 15 minutes.
  9. In a mixing bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla extract. Whisk until everything is nice and smooth. If you’re having a problem with lumps you can microwave the bowl for a bit, or place it over a double boiler to heat it up a little bit, that should allow you to work out any lumps.
  10. Apply half of the frosting as soon as the rolls come out of the oven, then allow them to rest and cool for a bit. After 15 minutes apply all of the remaining frosting. Dassit. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Check the post above the recipe for tips and suggestions!
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30
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