A few months ago I made giant cinnamon rolls the size of my face. From that moment on, I’ve basically fallen in love with the buttery cinnamon sugar little swirls that make them incredibly special. I didn’t post the recipe on the blog because quite frankly, I was a little embarrassed by how much butter I used. Hehe.
Of course, everyone I served them to were in love and agreed that were they the absolute best brunch treat and that of course, I should put them on the blog.
Mmmm okay. I guess I can clog your arteries for a day (sorry). Plus now that it’s September I feel like I can throw ALL the pumpkin recipes in your face. You guys know how I feel about pumpkin, right?! Let’s put that on and in everything we can. Starting with cinnamon rollssssssssss.
It’s my guess that you’re probably going to need a mind-blowing roll recipe so you don’t have to go out and buy cans of weird dough with ingredients you can’t pronounce. I believe that baking cinnamon rolls from scratch is really something everyone should experience at least once.
Okay, let’s get to the good stuff.
You guys are going to LOVE these. There’s brown butter to add a touch of caramel flavor to the dough, spices and a lovely cream cheese frosting spiked with a little vanilla.Thankfully for your waistline, I cut back on the butter from my original recipes. I’m definitely not saying that these rolls are healthy, instead I consider them a special morning treat to share with family, friends and that sweet boyfriend (I’m making them for Tony!).
Now, I want you guys to pay close attention to the recipe. It’s very important to follow the instructions, but here are a few more tips:
Bread flour: You’re probably wondering why I used bread flour in this recipe and if you can use all purpose flour or whole wheat. The answer is yes, you can use those flours but the recipe will not taste the same. I use bread flour because it has a higher protein which means the cinnamon roll stay nice, soft and ooey-gooey in the middle. It’s also great to have on hand, so I advise picking up a bag. Life-changing!
Browning the butter: I give instructions below on browning the butter (or check out this step-by-step), however you definitely don’t have to do that. Instead you can just use melted butter. I recommend using brown butter though because it adds a wonderful flavor to baked goods.
Activating the yeast: This is a critical step and if you aren’t experienced in baking, I recommend that you pay close attention to my instructions. To activate the yeast, you want the milk to be warm but NOT hot. Usually if you can stick your finger in it and it’s on the very warm side, this is good. If the milk is too hot, it can kill the yeast. The yeast helps the dough to rise, so you need this to work in order to make the cinnamon rolls! You will be able to tell if the yeast is activated if it starts to make the milk foamy after 5 minutes or so. If it doesn’t appear to be foamy at all, you might want to start over as you may have killed the yeast by having the milk too hot, or perhaps the milk wasn’t warm enough. Yes, baking is precise sometimes!
I hope you guys enjoy these cinnamon rolls. See the notes in the recipe below for options on freezing for later or make-ahead rolls! xo.
More delicious brunch recipes to try:
Brown Butter Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast (1 packet)
- ¾ cup Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk, warmed to 110 degrees F
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- For filling:
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- Extra flour for dusting
- For the frosting:
- 4 oz light plain cream cheese
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk
Place butter in small sauce pan over medium high heat. Butter will begin to melt, foam, and crackle. Whisk continuously until butter begins to brown and smell similar to caramel. Immediately remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool for a few minutes while you make the dough. If you aren’t sure how to brown butter, check out my step by step photo instructions here.
In bowl of an electric mixture, add warm milk, yeast, and 1/3 teaspoon granulated sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. While the yeast is activating, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together in a large bowl.
Once the milk is a bit foamy from the yeast add in ½ of the flour mixture, along with the pumpkin puree, egg, and cooled brown butter; stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Then add in the rest of the flour and stir again until just combined. Place dough hook on your mixer and run on medium-low speed for about 8 minutes. Alternatively you can knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes.
Grease a large bowl with oil or cooking spray. Add dough and turn over, making sure to coat it all with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel, then place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients: ¼ cup softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Once dough is doubled in size, place onto a large surface dusted with flour. Punch dough down and roll into a 15x9 inch rectangle. Spread butter and cinnamon sugar mixture over the dough leaving a ½ inch border. Beginning at the 15 inch side, roll up tightly and pinch edges together to seal. Using a serrated knife, gently cut into 12 slices.
Grease the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan or 8x11 with butter or cooking spray (don’t skimp). Place cinnamon roll slices in pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rise again for 30-45 minutes or until dough doubles in size. At this point you can decide if you want to bake them now or later. If later, you can stick them in the refrigerator overnight (covered well). When you are ready to bake the rolls, simply take them out of the 30 minutes prior to baking and bring to room temperature.
To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until barely golden brown. Cool for 5-10 minutes. While cooling, make the frosting by combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Spread evenly over warm rolls. Enjoy!
If you want to make these ahead of time, make them up until the point that you would have them rise a second time. Stick unbaked rolls in the refrigerator overnight (covered well). When you are ready to bake the rolls, simply take them out of the 30 minutes prior to baking and bring to room temperature, then bake according to directions.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Almond Breeze. As always, all opinions are my own. I love baking with their almond milk. Thank you for continuing to support Ambitious Kitchen!