These cinnamon rolls are fluffy and tender with a soft, gooey middle loaded with cinnamon sugar. Topped with a maple cream cheese frosting, they’re the perfect breakfast treat for Autumn. If you love ultra soft iced cinnamon rolls, these are meant for you! This recipe calls for pecan flour which pairs beautifully with the maple cream cheese frosting, but you can substitute with your nut flour of choice for a twist.
Two types of flour
This recipe for cinnamon rolls calls for both pecan flour and bread flour. The bread flour gives the rolls the structure they need to be super fluffy and soft as an enriched dough. The addition of pecan flour not only gives these cinnamon rolls a fantastically seasonal flavor, but it also contributes to the moist texture that’s so necessary for the perfect cinnamon roll. If you can’t find pecan flour, you can substitute with any nut flour or meal, or omit it entirely in the case of an allergy.
In a seasonal twist on the traditional cream cheese frosting, this recipe calls for maple syrup to flavor the frosting. The maple pairs beautifully with the cinnamon and pecan in the rolls.
The secret to the perfect cinnamon roll
Nothing is more disappointing than biting into a big cinnamon roll and finding a dry center. Many recipes suggest under baking to ensure a tender middle, but that can still be difficult to judge. These cinnamon rolls have perfectly gooey middles (without under baking!) but what’s the secret? Cream!
My favorite way to get perfectly gooey rolls every time is to pour 1/2 cup of room temperature cream all over the rolls right before they hit the oven. This ensures that they bake properly, while leaving the middle perfectly sticky with cinnamon and sugar. While this step is optional, I highly recommend it. Trust me, you’ll never bake cinnamon rolls without this step again!
One of the best parts about making cinnamon rolls is that you don’t need any fancy equipment. They’re very easy to adapt to whatever tools you have on hand. While this recipe calls for using a stand mixer to knead the dough, you can absolutely do it by hand on a floured surface. Just be aware that it will take 5-10 minutes longer for the dough to be ready when kneaded by hand.
You can bake these rolls in several types of pans. I like to make mine in a round cast iron skillet (at least 9″ in diameter), but you can also use a 9″ cake pan, or a 9″x13″ rectangular baking pan. Just make sure that whatever pan you choose has at least 1.5″ sides, as these buns get very fluffy when baked!
How to make these cinnamon rolls
The first step of making these rolls is to proof the yeast. Because this recipe calls for dry active yeast, this is a necessary step to get the yeast activated and ready for baking. Simply heat up your milk until it’s warm (about 100-110 degrees F) but not hot (or you’ll kill the yeast). Next, add the yeast along with a sprinkle of sugar, stir gently, and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. The yeast is ready when it’s frothy and bubbly on top.
Once your yeast is proofed and ready, it’s time to mix the dough. Add all the dough ingredients except for the bread flour and salt to your stand mixer (or a large bowl if mixing by hand), and mix them until roughly combined. Then add the bread flour and the salt until a shaggy dough forms.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, knead the dough for 8-10 minutes or until it is smooth, elastic, and the sides of the bowl are clean. If the dough is too sticky (meaning it sticks to sides of the bowl), add flour, 1 tbsp at a time as needed. Be careful not to add too much or the rolls will turn out bready.
If you prefer to knead by hand, do so on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10-15 mins or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place the kneaded dough in a clean and lightly oiled bowl in a warm, draft free place and allow to rise, covered, until doubled, about 1-1.5 hrs. This time may be more or less depending on the temperature of your home.
How to assemble the rolls
When the dough has finished proofing, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and the cinnamon. If you like extra cinnamon flavor, feel free to add more!
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a rectangle that is 12″x18″. Use a ruler or straight edged tool to square up the corners nicely for neater rolling.
Using an offset spatula, spread the very soft butter all over the dough, leaving about a 1/4″ margin.
Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly over the rolls, and rub it into the butter gently with your fingertips.
Starting with the long side, tightly roll the dough into a log, pinching the seam closed on the bottom. Trim the ends, and using a serrated knife or twine, cut into 12 even rolls. Grease and line your baking vessel of choice (9″x13″ pan or large cast iron skillet works best, but a cake pan will also work), add the buns, and cover and allow to proof for 30-45 mins until puffy.
Just before baking, pour the cream over the proofed rolls, taking care to get in all the gaps. This step is optional but HIGHLY recommended. The cream makes the rolls so perfectly tender in the middle, and gives an extra richness in flavor!
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the buns are lightly golden on the tops. If you prefer your buns extra gooey, you can aim for under-baking, though the cream makes them very tender.
Making the frosting is simple: just beat all the frosting ingredients using a hand held mixer or stand mixer until creamy and smooth. Feel free to add extra maple syrup if you prefer stronger flavor! I recommend using cream cheese that comes in a brick form and has full fat. The brick form gives a better texture and taste than the tub kind.
The buns are ready when they’re golden on the tops, but not too dark. Allow the cinnamon buns to cool for 10 minutes before frosting and serving.
How to store
These cinnamon rolls are best eaten same day, but can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days (if they last that long!)
I hope you give these cinnamon rolls a try! Be sure to tag me on instagram so I can see your bakes, and leave me a comment below! Your feedback helps other bakers who are giving this recipe a try, and I love hearing about your bakes!