Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

Growing up, we never lived very close to our extended family. Come Christmas-time or any other time to visit family, this entailed a 24 hour drive or some very expensive flights. The older we got, the more often my parents opted for the plane rides rather than the ridiculously long drive.

I loved it when we flew. Mostly because we always had a layover at the Minneapolis airport. And the Minneapolis airport = Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. It never failed. Unless we had a crazy short layover requiring the "airport sprint", my sister and I always made a stop at the Cinnabon in the central shopping area. Always.

Nowadays, the Cinnabon is long gone, replaced by some taco or burrito joint. Seriously? Bitter, party of one, right here.

That said, I haven't had a Cinnabon cinnamon roll in years. But for some reason, out of the blue, I was craving them. For weeks, actually. So I finally broke down and poked around on the internet to see what I could find. Knowing full well that there are a ton of copy-cat recipes out there.

It took probably less than 5 minutes to come across this recipe which had 5 stars with over 4600 reviews. Okay, I'm sold.

Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from: Allrecipes.com

1 cup warm 1 % milk (105-115 degrees F)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour

1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until the top of the mixture is foamy. Mix in the eggs, melted butter, salt, and remaining sugar. Slowly add in the flour, one cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. If using a stand mixer, switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook, add any remaining flour, and knead on medium speed for 6-8 minutes. Otherwise, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, add any remaining flour, and knead for 8-10 minutes, or until dough is slightly tacky and elastic.

Coat a large bowl with cooking spray. Shape the dough into a ball, then transfer to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm, draft-free area and let dough rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.

While the dough is rising, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside. Once the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Punch down, then let cover and rest for 10 minutes.

Roll dough out into a 16 x 21 inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup butter evenly across the dough leaving a 1/4-inch margin on the shorter sides. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly across the butter. Starting from a short side, roll dough up, pressing the final 1/4-inch margin of dough gently into the roll to seal. Cut dough with a serrated knife into 12 slices. Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Transfer the rolls to the pan. Cover pan with a towel and let the rolls rise until they have about doubled, 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake rolls for 15 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes, then place a baking sheet face down over the pan. Holding the two pans together, flip over so the rolls are now on the baking sheet upside down.

Meanwhile, in the large work bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter until smooth. Add the vanilla. Slowly stir in the powdered sugar until fully incorporated. Spread frosting over warm rolls.

Serves: 12

Yes, I realize that flipping these bad boys over does not for a pretty picture make. However, flipping the rolls over almost right out of the oven allows all the molten brown sugar/cinnamon/butter gooey filling to flow back into the rolls, rather than running out of the bottom and sticking to the pan. And seriously, that's what we're here for.

I was literally almost sick with the amount and thickness of brown sugar that went in as the filling, but I honestly don't think in the end you can ever have too much. It's really the best part. Though if you're going to go true Cinnabon-style, you have to have the cream cheese frosting, and that's pretty darn good too.

Adam and I gave these two thumbs way up, and I think they are definitely close to the real thing. The problem is, unfortunately, that instead of curing my craving, it really only made me want more. Wait, is that really a problem?

Nutrition Facts - crust only
Serving Size 137g
Amount per serving
Calories 474Calories from fat 155
% Daily Value
Total Fat 17.2g26%
Saturated Fat 10.4g52%
Cholesterol 75mg25%
Sodium 346mg14%
Total Carbs 73.4g24%
Fiber 2.0g8%
Sugars 36.3g
Protein 7.6g
Vitamin A 12%Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 7%Iron 15%


  1. My extended family is also spread out all over the place, but usually we just stayed home for Christmas. But I can still appreciate the love for cinnabon from other airport travels!

  2. Yay for a homemade cinnamon rolll that's a Cinnabon knock off! These looks so huge and delicious!!

  3. What a great twist to cinnamon rolls! Definitely easier to glaze and looks gorgeous :D
    Great post!

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Microwave Fruity Syrup Oat Cake

  4. These look delicious! I totally craved them when I had morning sickness (too bad there isn't anywhere to buy them close... and cooking was out of the question!) I'm going to have to try this now!

  5. MMMmmmmm, I love Cinnabons but there is not a one near us. I've collected so many copy cat recipes it's pathetic but this is one I hadn't seen. I'll have to give it a try :-)

  6. haha I had that same experience as a kid! We'd only get cinnabon at the airport and it was always sooooo good! I don't know what I liked more - the vacation or the gooey cinnamon rolls :) I need to try a homemade version, yours look sooo good!

  7. Why is it that cinnabon only seems to be in airports? It's probably a good thing for me cause I would be there every day if they were more accessible.

    I love the homemade idea. They look awesome!

  8. Yes! I haven't had Cinnabon in years, but when I was younger my mom and I would share one when we'd take our back to school shopping trip to the mall. That cinnamon smell brings back good memories.


  9. I used to LOVE cinnabon, but haven't had one in years! It used to be in the mall where I grew up, but long ago it was replaced with something else :( These look gooey, and delicious!

  10. ....I am craving these right now.... and it's all your fault. I am normally pretty good at resisting too. These look stellar!

  11. Ok, so no one has posted back if they had tried this recipe and/or how it came out, so let me be the first to say that I have a very BEAUTIFUL batch of rolls just sitting on top of my oven rising away and getting ready to be baked... I think I will take the bloggers advice and refrigerate these before baking - perhaps not overnight, because I don't think I could wait that long to dive into them, lol, but I will be giving it a go tonight, and will report back with my experience with the biggest critic of all - my husband. :o) But before doing so, I would just like to say thank you for posting what appears to be an amazingly satisfying copy cat of one of my very fav high-calorie desserts. Was very easy to follow, and they already smell delicious. Can't wait to get these bad-boys in the oven!!!

    The Picture Perfect Baker

  12. Ok, so I am back to report that these were absolutley PHENOMENAL!!! They really do taste just like Cinnabon! The only difference was slightly less of the gooey cinnamon filling, making them only slightly less messy, but it does not lack for taste at all. These are nothing short of incredible and I plan to make them again and again!!! I did try the inversion trick to get the tops of the buns covered in the delicious cinnamon filling, but to be honest, very little dripped out...maybe I didn't do it quickly enough or for long enough? So I re-flipped them back into their original pan and coated them liberally with the entire bowl of sweet fluffy frosting... A-MA-ZING!!! THANK YOU SO SO SO SO MUCH for sharing such a wonderful recipe. It is worth every single one of it's 5 stars on Allrecipes.com based on the reviews... Oh, and by the by, they are actually up to 5,006 reviews ;o)

    Happy Baking!
    The Picture Perfect Baker

    1. So glad you enjoyed them! Since this post I have skipped the inversion part as well and they come out of the pan just fine. These are definitely some of my favorite!



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