Cinnabons™: Not Just at the Mall Anymore!

Mmm, Cinnabon™.

A few weeks ago, I got an invite from Lis — did I want to join her and several other food bloggers in a live baking project?

Um, yes!

Lis purchased a “Top Secret” recipe for Cinnabon’s™ cinnamon rolls to compare with the results of our recent DB cinnamon roll/sticky roll challenge. After negotiating a convenient day and time for us to start, Lis, Marce, Helene, Sara, Kelly, Chris, Mary , and I got to baking.

The recipe came together quite easily, the only issue being that my dough didn’t double in size in an hour. (It’s November and my kitchen is cold.) The dough did get a bit bigger, but I probably should have waited for it to grow before proceeding. If I had, I think my final product would have been closer in appearance to the originals! (Well, that and I improvised on the icing as I’d run out of cream cheese. Sigh. )

Still, everyone preferred these cinnamon rolls to the ones from the DB challenge; the texture is much closer to that gooey ideal for a cinnamon bun. So, the next time I need to make cinnamon rolls, I’ll go with this recipe, but if I want a sticky bun — and they were fabulous — I’d turn to our DB recipe.

Cinnabon™ Knock-off Cinnamon Rolls

NOTE: The very savvy Breadchick points out that yeast rise time varies based upon temperature & humidity. She writes, “Here are the rise times I use in the kitchen when I’m working with [Active] yeast: two to two and a half hours for dough to double. Add 1/2 an hour for every 5 degrees below 75F that the temperature is in the place where your dough is rising […] Add 1/2 an hour to an hour to the expected rise time for humidity over 60%.” Please read the rest of her extremely informative post here.


1 pkg. active dry yeast (1/4 oz. size)
1 c. warm milk (105- to 110-degrees F.)
½ c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
4 c. all-purpose flour


1 c. packed brown sugar
2 ½ TBS. cinnamon
1/3 c. butter, softened


¼ c. (1/2 stick) butter, softened
¼ c. (2 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 ½ c. powdered sugar
1 TBS. whole milk
¼ tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. lemon extract

For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, butter, salt & eggs. Add flour and mix well.

Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands lightly dusted with flour. Put in a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. (See note about temperature and humidity affecting yeast, above.)

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough flat until it is approximately 21 inches long and 16 inches wide. It should be about ¼ inch thick.

For the filling, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Spread the softened butter evenly over the surface of the dough, and then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar evenly over the surface.

Working carefully from the top (a 21 inch side), roll the dough down to the bottom edge. Cut the rolled dough into 1 ¾ inch slices and place 6 at a time,evenly spaced, in a lightly greased baking pan. Let the rolls rise again until doubled in size, about 30 min. Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.

Once the oven is ready, bake rolls for 10 minutes, or until golden on top. While the rolls bake, make the icing by mixing the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, then add the milk and flavorings. Mix on high speed again until the icing is smooth and fluffy.

When the rolls come out of the oven, let them cool for about 10 minutes, then coat generously with the icing.

Categories: Breads, Breakfasts, desserts, Grade Range: A- to A+


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