Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Last week for Christmas I made cream cheese cinnamon rolls. I thought it would be great for breakfast after having a wonderful Christmas eve dinner at Mo-Fo Duo's. I came across this recipe a few months ago at Joy the Baker and have been cooing over it ever since. Although it was a bit intimidating and complicated, her directions were very clear and easy to follow. The smell of the rolls baking Christmas morning was heavenly making it definitely worth the effort.

Here's her recipe with minimal adjustments from me...


For the Dough:
1 1/4 oz package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon, plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more kneading
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

For the Filling:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (I didn't use this because BigDaddy is allergic to it)
1/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (I substituted this with nutmeg)
2 tablespoons maple syrup (I substituted this with honey)
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the icing:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk

  • In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 cup water heated to 115F. Stir to combine and let sit until frothy and foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Add remaining sugar, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, egg and egg yolk. Beat with a wire whisk by hand until well combined. Fit the bowl onto the mixer, fitting with the dough hook attachment. Add the flour and salt and mix on medium speed until the dough just begins to come together. Turn the machine on medium-high and knead the dough for 4 minutes.
  • Add the butter and continue to knead for about 6 minutes. The dough will be wet and sticky. Place the dough on a well floured work surface, and knead about 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into the dough. Set the dough to rest in a large greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for about 2 hours, until doubled in size.
  • While the dough rises, make the filling. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, pecans, raisins, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in the honey. Set aside.
  • When the dough has doubled in size, dump it from the bowl onto a heavily floured work surface and gently knead the dough until it is no longer sticky (for a couple minutes), adding more flour (a couple tablespoons of flour) as needed. Once it's no longer sticky, place a kitchen towel over the dough and let rest for 5 minutes before rolling it out.
  • Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10x10-inch square.
  • In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with a knife or spoon with it's smooth and spreadable.
  • Spread the cream cheese evenly over the dough square and fold the square into thirds. Take the open ends of the rectangle and fold into thirds again, to make a smaller dough square.
  • Invert the dough so that the seam is face down and, using the rolling pin, gently roll it into a 10x20-inch rectangle. Some of the cream cheese might sneaks through so be gentle.
  • Turn the dough so that the short edge is near (or parallel) to you and brush the top of the dough with half of the melted butter.
  • Pour all of the filling onto the dough. Spread evenly, leaving a 1-inch boarder at one of the short edges of the dough so the roll can be properly sealed. Lightly press the filling into the dough.
  • Carefully lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder. Place dough cylinder seam side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp, thin knife, trim off the uneven edges and cut the cylinder into 8 equal slices.
  • Put the slices, cut side up and evenly spaced in a buttered 9x13-inch baking dish. Joy recommended light colored metal baking dish but I used a Pyrex baking dish instead. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let rise for 2 hours OR refrigerate rolls overnight.
  • Heat the oven to 375F and uncover the rolls. If you refrigerated the rolls, let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or so before baking. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  • While the rolls are baking, whisk together the confectioner sugar and buttermilk in a small bowl until smooth.
  • Transfer the pan of cinnamon rolls to a cooling rack. Brush with remaining butter and let cool for 5 minutes. Using a fork, drizzle the icing over the rolls.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy!


  1. This looks absolutely delicious! It is on my calendar for next weekend to try. :)

  2. I bookmarked these from Joy's site as well. yours look fantastic!

  3. These were so yummy! Thanks for making them for us and starting our Christmas Day off on a sweet note!

  4. These were so yummy! Thank you for making them for us and starting our Christmas Day off on a wonderfully sweet note!

  5. Samantha: Did you try it over the weekend? How did it turn out? Hopefully you enjoyed it.

    Joanne: You should make it too. Joy's recipe along step-by-step direction is super easy to follow.

    Mo-Fo: Glad you all like it. Yeay!

  6. I ate one a day for a week. Great way to start a morning!