Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cinnabons™: Not Just at the Mall Anymore!

Mmm, Cinnabon™.

A few weeks ago, I got an invite from Lis -- did I want to join her and several other food bloggers in a live baking project?

Um, yes!

Lis purchased a "Top Secret" recipe for Cinnabon's™ cinnamon rolls to compare with the results of our recent DB cinnamon roll/sticky roll challenge. After negotiating a convenient day and time for us to start, Lis, Marce, Helene, Sara, Kelly, Chris, Mary , and I got to baking.

The recipe came together quite easily, the only issue being that my dough didn't double in size in an hour. (It's November and my kitchen is cold.) The dough did get a bit bigger, but I probably should have waited for it to grow before proceeding. If I had, I think my final product would have been closer in appearance to the originals! (Well, that and I improvised on the icing as I'd run out of cream cheese. Sigh. )

Still, everyone preferred these cinnamon rolls to the ones from the DB challenge; the texture is much closer to that gooey ideal for a cinnamon bun. So, the next time I need to make cinnamon rolls, I'll go with this recipe, but if I want a sticky bun -- and they were fabulous -- I'd turn to our DB recipe.

Cinnabon™ Knock-off Cinnamon Rolls

NOTE: The very savvy Breadchick points out that yeast rise time varies based upon temperature & humidity. She writes, "Here are the rise times I use in the kitchen when I’m working with [Active] yeast: two to two and a half hours for dough to double. Add 1/2 an hour for every 5 degrees below 75F that the temperature is in the place where your dough is rising [...] Add 1/2 an hour to an hour to the expected rise time for humidity over 60%." Please read the rest of her extremely informative post here.


1 pkg. active dry yeast (1/4 oz. size)
1 c. warm milk (105- to 110-degrees F.)
½ c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
4 c. all-purpose flour


1 c. packed brown sugar
2 ½ TBS. cinnamon
1/3 c. butter, softened


¼ c. (1/2 stick) butter, softened
¼ c. (2 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 ½ c. powdered sugar
1 TBS. whole milk
¼ tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. lemon extract

For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, butter, salt & eggs. Add flour and mix well.

Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands lightly dusted with flour. Put in a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. (See note about temperature and humidity affecting yeast, above.)

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough flat until it is approximately 21 inches long and 16 inches wide. It should be about ¼ inch thick.

For the filling, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Spread the softened butter evenly over the surface of the dough, and then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar evenly over the surface.

Working carefully from the top (a 21 inch side), roll the dough down to the bottom edge. Cut the rolled dough into 1 ¾ inch slices and place 6 at a time,evenly spaced, in a lightly greased baking pan. Let the rolls rise again until doubled in size, about 30 min. Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.

Once the oven is ready, bake rolls for 10 minutes, or until golden on top. While the rolls bake, make the icing by mixing the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, then add the milk and flavorings. Mix on high speed again until the icing is smooth and fluffy.

When the rolls come out of the oven, let them cool for about 10 minutes, then coat generously with the icing.


Helene said...

They look great! I agree about using the sticky buns recipe from the challemge. A sure winner. We love this one too even with my butter snafu on the frosting!

Lis said...

Fantabulous, Laura! And I totally agree.. this is definitely the recipe for cinnamon buns. Oh yeah baby! :D

I had so much fun.. what's next?? :D


Anonymous said...

Now I'm hungry for cinnabons. These look wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Great job on the buns, Laura! And yep, for a simple cinnamon bun, these ones are better, but the sticky buns were awesome... it´s all about the butter, can´t do without it (and the big amount of cinnamon, it is a cinnamon bun, after all.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post, Laura!! I have been trying to find a great cinnabons* recipe for Christmas morning (as they don't have Pillsbury over in France)and I think this recipe is just what I was looking for. :)

breadchick said...

Your buns looks so luscious especially first thing in the morning. I agree about using Reinhart's recipe for sticky buns!

It was a blast baking with you and can't wait to do it again!

Sara said...

My dough didn't double in the hour either, but wow, were they good buns.

kellypea said...

Wow. I'd swear that bun was the exact twin of one of mine. And weren't they tasty? Mmmmm....Next time I hope to be able to actually chat with you. What a concept, huh?

Chris said...

Yummo! My batter..I left it for a long time...I finally just rolled.... It rose...just not like I was thinking it should have. These were the bomb, though!

christina said...

those look fantastic!
we'll have to try that recipie at home soon.

Peabody said...

You picture make them look so perfect!

Jenny said...

Looks good!

Deborah said...

You had me at Cinnabon.

Ms Muffin said...


I just tried this yesterday and really liked it. But since I live in Germany we have other baking utensils. Could you tell me what size of baking pan you are referring to in the recipe. The usually baking sheets we have are too big. But the round ones we have for cake baking are to small. If you could tell me the measurments I could go hunting for the perfect size pan ... or adjust the quantity of the recipe according to the pans I own.
I worte about trying your recipe and put a link to your post on my blog

Thanks for sharing this nice recipe!!!

Miss Muffin