It’s time to talk cinnamon rolls! So here is that follow-up recipe I promised using the other ball of “babka” dough that I made for the Braided Apple Sweet Bread with Cider Glaze. These are arguably the best cinnamon rolls I have ever eaten. Sometimes I feel like I’m “tooting my own horn” but when I start off with a dough as great as my aunt’s babka, it’s hard to go wrong. Fresh out of the oven and slathered with cream cheese frosting these are absolute heaven: soft, gooey, slightly spicy from the cinnamon, creamy and just melt-in-your-mouth perfection.
You will need to start off by making the babka dough and allowing it to progress through the second rise and then you can form it into these rolls. I chose to do all of that the night before and let the cinnamon rolls sit in the fridge overnight so that in the morning, I could just take them out, let them sit 30 minutes, and then pop into the oven. I even made the frosting the night before (which I also took out of the fridge when I removed the uncooked cinnamon rolls). The frosting is the perfect sweetness- it doesn’t need to be cloyingly sweet since there is so much flavor and sugar already going on in the cinnamon rolls. In fact, if you want to cut back the sweetness even a bit more you could a) decrease the amount of sugar you add or b) give it a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten it up. I have done this with cream cheese frosting before and it’s delicious (I have also added pineapple juice to it with mouth-watering results!).
If you wanted to make a cinnamon roll coffee cake, simply make the log and don’t cut it up. Simply form it into a circle shape and tuck one end of the roll into the other end and smush it a bit to seal it. “Smush”. Such a technical word. Well, you get the idea! You will need to cook it a bit longer in this form but it will still be as delicious! Don’t forget to cover it with cream cheese frosting afterwards. If you wanted to make the frosting a bit thinner and more glaze-like for a coffee cake, simply mix in a bit of whole milk or cream until it’s the consistency you desire.
I included more detailed directions for preparing the babka dough itself in the Apple Bread post so please refer to that for complete instruction. Below is the link to the printable version of the dough recipe for your reference.
Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients for the Cinnamon Rolls:
*This will make approximately 8 cinnamon rolls. Use full babka dough recipe and double filling ingredients for 16 rolls (and then use two cake pans or one large baking dish)
- ½ recipe BABKA DOUGH
- 1 cup. Packed brown sugar
- 1 cup seedless raisins
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup chopped roasted walnuts, optional
- 2 tbsp. melted butter
- Cooking spray
- Make the babka dough and follow instructions through the second rise
- Use one ball of babka dough for this recipe and save the other for another project (unless you want double the number of cinnamon rolls, as noted above*)
- Roll dough into a 10 X 6 rectangle
- Mix the brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon and walnuts (if using) in a medium bowl
- Use a pastry brush to generously brush the rectangle all over with melted butter
- Spread the brown sugar mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border without filling on the long edge of the dough nearest to you
- Roll up jelly-roll style, from the long side furthest from you, rolling towards you (towards the edge with the 1-inch border)
- Slice into 1” pieces using a bench scraper or large, sharp chef’s knife
- Grease a round cake dish with cooking spray
- Place the cinnamon rolls into the pan, spacing evenly apart from each other, with one in the center
- If baking the same day: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and allow rolls to rise for 20 minutes at room temperature before baking
- If baking the next day: cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking and preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until light golden brown (the internal temperature of the rolls should be approx. 200 degrees F)
- Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before frosting and serving. You may allow them to fully cool before frosting if desired.
- Frosted cinnamon rolls will store tightly wrapped at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the fridge (also tightly wrapped) for about a week. You may also freeze them.
Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 8 tbsp. (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of fine kosher or sea salt
- Juice of half a lemon, optional
- 1 tbsp. whole milk or heavy cream, optional
- Mix cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until fully blended and smooth
- Taste for seasoning, add more sugar if desired, lemon for a bit of a zing and heavy cream for a glaze consistency or thinner frosting (remember the frosting will thin as it melts onto your cinnamon rolls)