May 19, 2011

cream cheese cinnamon rolls

I have been telling you about the cinnamon rolls from Heaven that my friend Chris and I made this past weekend.

They were so ... involved.. The dough has to rise like 3 times and there is a lot of kneading going on, like in any good yeast bread.

But they are so flaky, buttery and delicious in every way. I wish I could eat these every day of my life, but my "bride-to-be diet" stops me from eating such indulgences as much as I want to.

These cinnamon rolls are extra special. After the second rise, you roll the dough out into a square. Then smear cream cheese over the whole thing.

Fold it within itself and roll it back out into a rectangle. Now the cream cheese is marbled throughout the whole thing.

I know. It's too good to be true.

Sprinkle the delicious, sweet cinnamon filling, roll it up and cut slices.

Now is the worst part of this whole thing. At this point, all you want to do it put them in the oven and stand nearby the whole time they are baking. But no... you have to cover them and let them rise for 2 more hours.

After 2 hours of rising and 30 minutes of baking, this is what you have.

Topped with sweet buttermilk icing, it's the best cinnamon roll I've ever had in my life. True story.

Make these on a lazy Sunday afternoon when you have nothing going on but watching the rain fall outside. Or something like that.

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

print this recipe

For the Dough:

1 (1/4oz) package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon, plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

For the Filling:

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the Icing:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk

Making the Dough:

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 cup warm water. Stir to combine and let sit until frothy and foamy, about 10 minutes.

Add remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Beat with a wire whisk until well combined. Fit the bowl onto the mixer, fitting with the dough hook attachment. Add the flour and salt and mix on medium speed until the dough just begins to come together. Turn the machine on medium-high and knead the dough for 4 minutes.

Add the butter and continue to knead for about 6 minutes. The dough will the wet and sticky. Add more flour if you need to. Place the dough on a well floured work surface, and knead about 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into the dough. Don’t worry, the dough still might be a little sticky. Just set the dough to rest in a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

While the dough rises, make the filling. Combine the sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Stir in the maple syrup. Set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, dump if from the bowl onto a heavily floured work surface. Gently knead the dough until it is no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed. I think I added about 1/4 cup of flour. Work the dough for about 1 or 2 minutes. Once it’s no longer sticky, place a kitchen towel over the dough and let rest for 5 minutes before you roll it out.

Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10 x 10-inch square.

In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with a knife until it’s smooth and spreadable.

Spread the cream cheese evenly over the dough square. Fold the square into thirds like you would fold a letter to fit into an envelope. Take the open ends of the rectangle and fold into thirds again, to make a smaller dough square.

Invert the dough so that the seam is face down and, using the rolling pin, gently roll it into a 10 x 20-inch rectangle. You make find that some cream cheese sneaks through. Be as gently as possible with the dough, but continue to work it until you reach the size you need.

Turn the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you. You’re going to roll from the short sides of the dough.

Brush the top of the dough with half of the melted butter. We’ll use the rest of the butter after the rolls are baked.

Pour all of the filling onto the dough. Spread evenly, leaving a 1-inch boarder at one of the short edges of the dough so the roll can be properly sealed. Lightly press the filling into the dough.

Using your hands, lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder. Place dough cylinder seam side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp, thin knife, trim off the uneven edges.

Cut cylinder into 8 equal slices. Nestle the slices, cut side up and evenly spaced in a buttered 13 x 9 baking dish. Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let rise for 2 hours. You may also refrigerate rolls overnight.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover the rolls. If you refrigerated the rolls, let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Make the icing: While the rolls are baking, whisk together the sugar and buttermilk in a small bowl until smooth.

Transfer the pan of cinnamon rolls to a cooling rack. Brush with remaining butter. Let cool for 5 minutes. Dip the tines of a fork into the icing and drizzle over the rolls. Serve immediately.

Recipe Adapted from: Joy the Baker


  1. Hands down the best cinnamon roll I have ever consumed. I got to eat the one in the picture :)

  2. SO jealous of Michael! I wish I was at work on Monday to have one (or four).

  3. I am reading this at work and my stomach made a seriously audible growl. Usually cinnamon rolls are just an excuse for me to eat icing but adding the cream cheese? Super yum.

  4. Wow, do those look good. I think you had me at cream. :)

  5. Unfortunately... These look way to freaking good!

  6. this looks incredible - my kids will BLESS you if I find the time to make it. I love how you knead in the cream cheese after the rising. Wow. Looks incredible.

  7. You make it look so easy! I'm so jealous!

  8. Thank you everyone!

    Pretty Good Food - it is SO not easy! It was very involved :)