Baking Recipes,  Bread-making,  Yeasted breads

Simple Cinnamon Rolls [a little something for Lala]

I’ve been thinking about what would constitute a perfect cinnamon bun for me. I’ve never been much of a Cinnabon girl, because I find the bread part of their buns a bit too thin, with their filling and glaze just a tad too sweet. I like breads that have a fuller chewy body, not too sugary, not too frilly, and definitely not drowned with glazes or toppings that are too sticky they make a mess when you attempt a bite. To make a long story short, I suppose I’m looking for the kind that you would probably find fresh from a home-baker’s oven.

It wasn’t even particularly difficult to find the recipe that seemed to fall within my requirements, thanks to the number of bloggers out there that continue to inspire with the things that come out of their home kitchens. I actually got this recipe at the start of the year, but despite my excitement at the procedure of making this particular pastry, I kept putting off. It stayed in my to-bake pile for quite some time, but rest assured, it was constantly at the back of my mind.

I guess back then I was still quite daunted by this object called yeast, so I slowly made my way from pretzels and pretzel buns, luckily enjoying much success, until I practically just fell in love with making yeast breads. And you know what I realised? I’ve put off making these cinnamon buns for too long. Way, way too long.

Admittedly, the best part of making this was the cutting of the rolls, involving this mighty kitchen tool called dental floss. It works like a charm and cuts the most perfect looking rolls! I wasn’t so sure about it until I actually tried it. My baby brother and I took turns cutting the dough and I ended up letting him cut as much as he wanted because he enjoyed it so much. He’s never done anything like that before. Well, much to my disappointment, he managed to get away with slicing up most of the dough, so I have decided I am not inviting him into the kitchen the next time I make rolls so I can do the whole log of dough all by myself. Kidding!

I made some modifications with the filling and the glaze, but other than that, I feel very pleased with this recipe, especially how the bread itself turned out. It was fluffy and soft, and beautifully golden with a slight crunch on the outside. The cream cheese glaze should definitely not be left out as I think it adds a little bit of savoriness to what would otherwise have just been a sweet treat.

I cut down the amount of sugar from the original glaze recipe because I wanted the cream cheese flavour to be more pronounced. I also thought dividing the rolled dough into just 12 produced massive rolls, the size of which was already good for sharing, by my standards anyway. So I’m going to do 24 smaller rolls the next time I bake this, dividing the dough into two before rolling it flat and scattering the filling.

Simple Cinnamon Rolls

These cinnamon rolls are fluffy and soft, and beautifully golden with a slight crunch on the outside. The cream cheese glaze should definitely not be left out as it adds a bit of salty-savoriness to what would otherwise have just been a sweet treat.

Makes 12-14 large or about 24 mini rolls


For the dough

  • 1 cup warm milk, about 115°F
  • 1 large egg, room temperature, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

For the filling

  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, according to preference

For the glaze

  • 85 grams 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk


Make the dough

  • 1. In the bowl of a mixer, add milk, egg, melted butter, oil, sugar, and salt. Add flour on top of all the liquid mixture, sprinkling yeast on top.
  • 2. Using the dough hook, knead bread mixture on medium speen until dough is smooth and elastic, adding additional flour by tablespoons as needed to manage the stickiness of the dough*. Knead for approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
  • 3. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour, in a warm area.

Make the filling

  • 4. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

To assemble

  • 5. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle slightly larger than a rectangular 9×13 pan. Spread the surface of the dough evenly with melted butter, then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top.
  • 6. Use your hands to spread the filling, making sure the entire surface is evenly coated. Beginning with the long side, roll the dough tightly to the other side, pinching the seam to seal.
  • 7. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • 8. To cut, gently slide a string of dental floss under your log of dough and wrap it evenly around, pulling at each end of the string tightly until it goes cleanly through the dough. Divide the log into equal slices and place them in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze

  • 9. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together using a fork until it is smooth and fully combined. Add the milk, adjusting the amount to how runny you want your glaze to be. Set aside.
  • 10. Once the rolls have doubled and filled up the baking pan, bake them for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Brush or scoop a heaping tablespoon of the glaze over each roll and serve warm.


* The dough will be sticky, but add only enough (mine took about 5 tablespoons more) until it is still slightly sticky but already manageable. Note that adding too much flour will affect the outcome of your bread once it's baked. The less flour you add, the softer your bread will be. Also, remember that you will be rolling the bread later on on a floured surface, and the dough will likewise absorb flour from there.
** I don't smother my rolls with the glaze because I don't want it overpowering the rest of the bread, so I prefer just spooning a tablespoon or two over the top of the rolls and letting them drip down the sides. If you would prefer your rolls to be completely covered with glaze, that's perfectly fine. Just follow the original recipe.
Adapted from Savory Sweet Life blog
Why the title you ask? You see, I remember a friend of mine mentioning a few months ago that cinnamon rolls are one of her favourite treats. I met her during my college years and back then, she and I weren’t particularly close, but oddly enough, after graduation we got to talking more over Twitter and our blogs.

Our topics range from our favourite TV shows, the sexiness of Ian Somerhalder and Adam Levine, the enormous number of books and movies on our to-read and to-watch lists, the German National Football Team, and occasionally, talks about our hopes and dreams for the future… Quite a mix of things, isn’t it? It’s been a blast for me, and I am truly grateful for her support (a.k.a. for being my first subscriber for both my blogs). She’s been feeling slightly melancholic lately, so I just wanted to dedicate this post to her, with high hopes that if she does decide to make this, she would cheer up and enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂


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