Sugar And Spice

…and everything nice.

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Christmas season is in full swing with the hustle and bustle of shopping and preparations for those perfect holiday family traditions. I prefer to steer clear of the holiday stress, and by that, I mean away from the shopping malls as much as I can. Everything else is quite enjoyable — the music, the lights, my favorite Christmas movies, and especially the food.

One of my favorites over the holidays, and extending into the new year, is cinnamon rolls, aka pinwheels, aka monkey tails. Even if I must face those chaotic shopping malls, there’s no better way to debrief when I get home than with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and a warm cinnamon roll covered in a fluffy cream cheese frosting.

As long as there’s plenty of cinnamon filling, then the only thing to figure out is what kind of dough to use. Though I love the fermented refrigerator doughs that develop lots of flavor, I do find a basic yeast doughnut dough is very effective. The doughnut dough I use gives the cinnamon roll lots of volume, or fluffiness, as well as moisture so it doesn’t dry out too quickly as a lot of homemade bread doughs tend to do. And the secret to that little extra yuletide taste in the dough, is cardamom.

Here’s my recipe for cinnamon rolls that will comfort you and get you through those stress-inducing holiday moments.


Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Servings: 12 Rolls
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus ½ cup more)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 75g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

1. Over medium heat, warm the butter and milk. It should be just warm enough to put your finger in without burning it.

2. Measure out 4 cups of flour, cardamom, yeast, sugar and salt. Make a well in the center and pour the milk-butter mixture. Lightly beat the eggs and pour them into the well.

3. Blend ingredients well with a spoon or dough hook. If necessary, add more flour (1 tbsp at a time) to keep the dough from sticking to the side of the bowl. Then knead for 10-15 minutes. Let rise for 90 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the cinnamon filling.

4. Punch dough down and scrape out onto work surface. Let rest for 10 minutes.

5. Roll the dough out into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle.

6. Spread filling over the dough, leaving about 1 inch (2.5cm) around the edges.

7. Roll the rectangle loosely, giving it room to proof.

8. With a sharp knife, cut the log in half, then each half into eight equal pieces.


9. Place cinnamon rolls in a greased pan and let rise for 45 minutes in a warm moist place, preferably in an oven at 50°C with steaming water.

10. Remove rolls from oven before preheating it to 200°C. Bake for 30-35 minutes.


11. Prepare cream cheese frosting.

12. Let cinnamon rolls cool for 10 minutes then drizzle with frosting.

Cinnamon Filling:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1½ tsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp cardamom

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Put cream cheese in a bowl and whisk until fluffy, then add icing sugar and vanilla and whisk well. Spread frosting evenly over the cinnamon rolls.




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