Sunday, September 4, 2011

Busy Cooking: Cinnabon Knock-offs (cinnamon rolls to knock your socks off)

I posted about the cinnamon rolls I used to make here (they're still good- but these take it up a notch).  I found a recipe for Cinnabon Knock offs at Sweet as Sugar Cookies blog- tried them like that minute, and have been hooked ever since.  I actually made them before leaving Japan, but never got around to putting them on the blog.

My motivation to get them on here is my cousin.  She got married two weeks ago and we all stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, which when you are making a reservation and on hold, they have a whole message about how they have "world famous cinnamon rolls"- kind of like the "world's best coffee" in Elf.  My brother and I were chuckling about how we couldn't wait to get there to eat the cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  My cousin was actually up early the morning after her wedding because her husband was hungry and she was saying how he was looking forward to the cinnamon rolls. While they were good (for a hotel)- I told her I had a terrific recipe and that I'd share it.  What better way to share it than on here?

OVEN:  350'

Cinnamon Rolls:
1 cup warm milk (~110'F)
2 eggs
1/3 cup butter (melted, cooled)
4 1/2 cup flour (bread if you have it, I've used all purpose)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 tsp yeast (1 packet)

1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 TBSP cinnamon
1/3 cup butter (melted/cooled)

3 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

1) Put warm milk in a small bowl, add yeast and  a tsp or 2 of the sugar (it helps activate the yeast).  Let sit about 5 minutes until foamy.

2) Melt butter, add egg and whisk together.  Add milk mixture to egg mixture.

3) Put 2 cups flour, the sugar, and salt in mixer bowl with dough hook attached.  Slowly add milk mixture.  Add 1 more cup of flour, mix to incorporate.  Add another cup of flour, mix to incorporate.  You can keep adding the flour (about another 1/2 cup) until the dough forms a ball and may have a small portion slightly sticking to the bottom of the mixing bowl.

4) Place dough in a greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap.  You can either leave in fridge overnight (yes, it will rise) or put it in a warm spot to let rise until doubled (about 1.5 to 2 hours).

5) Meanwhile, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon, set aside.

6) Once dough is done rising, punch ball down, place on well floured surface and roll out into a rectangle, approximately 15-18 inches wide and 20-24 inches long.  The thicker the dough is, the fatter your cinnamon roll.

7) Melt the butter for the filling and spread it all over the dough- about 1/2 inch away from the edges.  Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture all over the butter.

8) Along the long side, begin rolling up the dough into a big spiral log.  Using a serrated knife, cut out your cinnamon rolls and place on a piece of stoneware, or greased (or parchment papered) metal baking sheet.  I usually get 12-18 rolls depending how thick I cut them, I try to do about 1 inch cuts.  My other cinnamon roll recipe linked at the top has pictures, if you need a visual. (**in the photos below, you will see I had them all close together.  In my husband's tiny apartment, that pizza stone was all I had to bake on :(- Usually I evenly space them out like cookies.  If you arrange them like I did on the stone, bake a little longer to let the inside ones cook)
9) Cover and let rise another 30 minutes (sometimes I get impatient and skip this step, let's be honest, sometimes you just can't wait).  Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until tops are starting to brown.
10) Mix together all the icing ingredients (I thought it was weird there's no liquid involved-but wait).  As soon as the rolls come out of the oven, plop a dollop of icing on top and it will melt on.

I made these for my kids on their very first day of school in the US!


  1. this is the exact recipe i have been using for years! crazy coincidence! we make them all the time for holidays, but color the icing for whatever holiday it is:)

  2. sooo good! why don't you have a blog corey?

  3. can you make Liz and I some and send to Southie?