Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 6th May 2011
It’s Sunday morning and there’s a scrumptious, mouth-watering aroma wafting throughout the house. You follow your nose to the kitchen to find light, tasty dough; deliciously gooey cinnamon-sugar filled Cinnamon Rolls covered with umptuous cream cheese frosting. You enjoy these fresh, still warm out of the oven delights, in the comfort of your home. These aren’t just any Cinnamon Rolls, they’re Cinnabon-Style Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls. I ask you, “What could be better than this?”
Have I enticed you enough to try this recipe? I hope so! It’s one of the best recipes; no it is the best recipe I’ve found for Cinnamon Rolls. I know what you’re thinking, I too was skeptical when I first saw this recipe, but these rolls are out of this world yummy. Yes yummy! I know I’m breaking some cardinal rule in food writing by using that word, but frankly it’s the perfect way to describe these Cinnamon Buns.
And best of all – they actually taste like a Cinnabon’s Classic Cinnamon Roll. Thank you to the Gordon Family who spent years developing this clone recipe. After extensive research, careful testing, and a lot of experimenting (wish I was one of the taste testers) they developed a recipe that allows us to recreate the amazing Cinnabon experience at home.
Why do I refer to it as an “experience” rather than merely eating? Because that’s exactly what it is. This recipe appeals to all five senses. Obviously the sense of taste is number one. But have you ever noticed that the Cinnabon Bakery is always located in a shopping centre? The facility is designed to target the sense of sight.
We see the Cinnamon Roll from start to finish; preparing the dough, spreading the butter, sprinkling the cinnamon sugar, rolling and cutting, and baking. And of course the pièce de résistance is the slathering of the cream cheese frosting on the just removed from the oven rolls.
If that dripping frosting doesn’t do it for you, maybe the sense of smell will – the lingering aroma of cinnamon in the air evokes a feeling of comfort for all of us.
I’m sure you’ve heard all the oohs and aaghs from the diners that are indulging in their freshly baked roll. Who blames them? In fact, those tables are strategically placed at the entrance, close to the mall hall – so close that you could almost bump into them. That’s so you hear those patrons, see their happy faces, and smell the enticing aromas. And then, of course, there’s the hustle and bustle of a busy bakery, baking pans clanging, oven doors opening and closing, and the cash register ringing.
Let’s not forget the sense of touch. First we need to determine, are you a knife and fork cinnamon roll eater? Or do you dive in, hands first to pick up the roll and take a bite? I guess it really doesn’t matter – the fluffy soft texture and creamy frosting can be felt either way.
I vote for skipping the mall experience and creating all these sights, smells, touches, and tastes right in your own home. Trust me, you’ll be the hero of the house for days to come!
*Update - I forgot to share an important tidbit about the Cinnabon roll. The variety of cinnamon used in the rolls is Makara and it can be purchased at any of the Cinnabon locations. I use it in my rolls and the taste is amazing and truly gives you the Cinnabon experience at home.
Cinnabon-Style Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls
(Recipe adapted from the GordonFamily )
Makes 15 small rolls or 12 larger rolls
- Cinnamon Roll Yeast Dough
- Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Filling
- Cream Cheese Frosting
Cinnamon Roll Yeast Dough
**Special Equipment – 907-gram (2 pound) capacity bread machine
-If you do not have a bread machine, prepare the dough the old-fashioned way; kneading it by hand, making sure to use an appropriate yeast in your dough. Or prepare the dough using an electric stand mixer, using quick rise yeast.
-All ingredients should be at room temperature (remove ingredients from refrigerator 1 hour prior to beginning dough).
-Warm the butter gently (do no let it boil!). The butter, water, milk mixture should be between 24°C and 30°C (75° F and 85°F) before you continue – this is important to allow the yeast to activate and grow.
-Be sure your yeast is fresh. You may replace bread yeast for the quick rise yeast in the bread machine method.
-Add the ingredients to the bread machine in the order they are listed. Having said this, you should follow the instructions given for your specific bread machine if they are different.
-If you do not have butter and margarine on hand, you can substitute margarine for butter in the dough. If you substitute butter for margarine in the filling and frosting, you will almost get the same results, but the finished product won’t be as deliciously gooey (margarine has a lower melting point). It is best to use margarine in the filling and frosting, and real butter or margarine in the dough.
- 59 ml (¼-cup) water
- 237 ml (1 cup) whole milk
- 113.5 g (½-cup) unsalted butter
- 1¼ large eggs, room temperature, well beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (preferably alcohol free)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 112.5 g (½-cup) caster (superfine granules) sugar
- 572 g (4½-cups) unbleached white bread flour
- 7 g (1 envelope or 2½ teaspoons) Fleischmann’s quick rise yeast
- In a small-sized saucepan, gently melt the butter over low heat (do not let it boil!).
- Add the water and milk. Before continuing to the next step, allow the butter mixture to cool so that it is between 24°C and 30°C (75° F and 85°F).
- Pour the butter mixture into the bread machine’s baking pan.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the baking pan in the order listed above.
- Prepare the dough using the dough setting, making sure the bread machine is set to a 907-gram (2 pounds) capacity. (Follow your bread machine instructions for dough preparation.)
**Follow the instructions below, to prepare dough using an electric stand mixer:
- In a small-sized saucepan, gently melt the butter over low heat (do not let the butter boil!).
- Add the water and milk. Before continuing to the next step, allow the butter mixture to cool so that it is between 49°C and 54°C (120° F and 130°F).
- Pour the butter mixture into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add the remaining ingredients, in the order listed above.
- Beat on low speed for 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl.
- Switch from paddle attachment to dough hook attachment and knead on medium speed until smooth, 8 to 9 minutes. Form a ball.
- Lightly oil a large bowl with vegetable oil or non-stick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and then a kitchen towel. Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Filling
- 200 g (1 cup) golden yellow sugar (light brown sugar), firmly packed
- 32g (5 tablespoons) cinnamon (preferably “Makara” cinnamon – available at some Cinnabon franchises)
- 108.5 g (½-cup) margarine, room temperature
- Once you’ve started the dough cycle, remove the margarine from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature (if using stand mixer to prepare dough, remove the margarine from the refrigerator once the dough is prepared and you have set it aside to rise).
- In a small-sized bowl, using a whisk, combine together the brown sugar and cinnamon (use clean hands to break up any clumps in the brown sugar), set-aside.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 125 g (4 ounces) cream cheese
- 108.5 g (½-cup) margarine
- 227 g (1¾-cups) sugar fondant or 10X powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, preferably alcohol free
- 1/8-teaspoon pure lemon extract, preferably alcohol free
- Prepare the frosting while the rolls are rising.
- Remove the cream cheese and margarine from the refrigerator. Place in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitter with the paddle attachment. Let come to room temperature, ½ hour.
- Beat the cream cheese and margarine together at low speed (setting 2 KitchenAid Stand Mixer or speed of 65 RPM) for 6 minutes.
- Switch to whip attachment and mix the cream cheese and margarine mixture for 10 minutes on medium speed (setting 6 KitchenAid or speed of 150 RPM).
- Add 125 g (1-cup) of the sugar fondant (or powdered sugar) and mix for 1 minute on low speed (setting 2 KitchenAid or speed of 65 RPM).
- Add the remaining sugar fondant (or powdered sugar) and mix on low speed for an additional minute.
- Add the vanilla and lemon extracts and mix for 1 minute at medium speed (setting 6 KitchenAid or speed of 150 RPM).
- Transfer cream cheese frosting to a container, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Assembling Gourmet Cinnamon Rolls
- Once the dough cycle has completed, remove the dough from the baking pan and place on a clean, lightly floured work surface. Let rest for 10 minutes. If using stand mixer preparation, punch down the dough, transfer dough to a clean, lightly floured work surface.
- Line 3 20-cm (8-inch) square baking tins with non-stick baking paper, set aside.
- Roll out dough to a 38 cm X 61 cm (15 inch X 24 inch) rectangle.
- Mark off a 2.54-cm (1-inch) border along the 61-cm (24-inch) edge of the dough, closest to you.
- Using a large offset spatula spread margarine over dough, making sure not to spread margarine on the 2.54-cm (1-inch) border edge (so that you can seal the roll).
- Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over margarine, making sure not to sprinkle on border edge, keep the border clean. Using your rolling pin, lightly roll the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Starting at the far edge of the dough, roll the dough (towards you) tightly into a log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up, stopping just shy of the border edge. Using a pastry brush, brush a bit of water or milk on the border edge and then continue to roll dough (helps to seal the log).
- Using a sharp knife, trim the left and right ends of the log (so you have a flush end at each end of the log). The result will be a 61-cm (24-inch) log.
- Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, mark the log every 3.8-cm (1½-inches) (for small rolls) or 5-cm (2-inches) (for larger rolls).
- With the seam side down, cut the log into 3.8-cm (1½-inch) long portions or 5-cm (2-inch) long portions with a sharp knife.
- Divide rolls between baking tins, arranging cut side up, spacing 1.27-cm (½-inch) to 2.54-cm (1-inch) apart.
- Cover baking tins with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour. After rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan. This is important for best results. This will give the rolls the soft, moist outer edge that is preferred.
- Prepare cream cheese frosting.
- Position rack in centre of oven; preheat oven to 170° C (335° F). Bake, one tin at-a-time (to obtain uniform results), until the rolls are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer baking tin to a wire rack.
- Frost the rolls while they’re still very warm and serve immediately.
- Buon Appetito!