Soft, fluffy Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing are hard to beat. The enriched brioche dough is light and pillowy filled with a sweet brown sugar and cinnamon mix. What makes these stand out from the crowd is the brown butter cream cheese icing that gets slathered onto these rolls when they're fresh out of the oven. Next level perfection for your breakfast, dessert, or snack.
Confession Time....I only started eating cinnamon this year. And only in these Cinnamon Rolls With Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing. My whole life I’ve veered away from ANYTHING with cinnamon. I could smell it a mile off in any dish and you’d only see the back of me as I ran.
However, with a family, sometimes you have to make a dish that you otherwise wouldn’t like to eat for yourself. My eldest daughter, Malia, loves cinnamon rolls and has begged me constantly to make them. After all my no’s I relented and said YES! She was as surprised as I was!
How to make Cinnamon Rolls With Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing
First things first. Let’s talk about the enriched dough that we use to make these Cinnamon Rolls With Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing. Luckily for you I have a whole post dedicated to making brioche dough and all the hints and tips that you need to succeed. My aim was to de-bunk the myth that its hard to make. I’m here to let you know that it really isn’t. Have a quick read if you like, for in-depth information on how to make such a beautiful dough.
For these rolls we use this traditional brioche dough and the quantity of butter makes for a supper rich, buttery bread. Proving the dough twice allows for it to become soft and pillory when baked. Totally dreamy!
What Makes These Rolls so Delicious?
As mentioned above, my whole life I haven’t been a fan of cinnamon. That is until I tested these out for my daughter who loves cinnamon rolls with all her being. Now - I couldn't post a recipe on here without testing it first could I. So with eyes closed and a grimace on my face, I took a bite. Man oh man did I shock myself- they are delicious. Truth be told, the cinnamon isn’t super strong. Maybe if you are a cinnamon aficionado then add an extra teaspoon. But for everyone in my family- these had the perfect hum of the spice.
There are two main reasons why I love these so much.
The brown sugar and the brown butter. Say what?!
The Brown Sugar. The filling is made up of three ingredients, butter, brown sugar and ground cinnamon. The butter has to be super soft so that you can smear it over the dough with out you accidentally tearing the enriched dough. Next we mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle it all over the butter layer. As brown sugar is packed full of molasses which in turn adds moistness, it lends richer, toffee like notes to the filling. The best bit is that as the scrolls bake, the sugar and butter melt seeping into the bottom of the pan so that you get this caramelised, sticky bottom once they are done. Bliss!
The Browned Butter. The cream cheese icing is taken to another level with the addition of browned butter. The browned butter introduces another layer of flavour which only improves on the depth of flavour. Win win! It has beautiful nutty notes to it which improve any bake. Have you tried brown butter in baking? If not, here’s how to make it.
How do I Brown Butter?
So how do you brown butter I hear you asking. It's a really easy process once you know how.
- Add your butter to a heavy based saucepan set over medium heat on your stove top. It's best to use a stainless steel saucepan, purely so that you can see when the butter is actually browning. This will stop you from accidentally burning it.
- Once the butter is melted, then continue to whisk occasionally whilst it bubbles until it turns translucent in colour. This tell us that the water and fat is separating.
- Carry on boiling the butter for 5 to 10 minutes and it will develop a foam on the top. The butter solids are separating during this process and the white milky solids will gradually sink to the base of the pan whilst the water evaporates, intensifying the flavour. They’ll then start to caramelise on the base of the pan and the butter will start to turn golden. It’ll start of as a pale yellowy colour and develop into a rich golden colour. Keep an eye on the colour as it's at this point that the butter can go from browned to burnt quite quickly.
- As soon as it's a lovely deep golden colour then transfer the butter to a heat proof bowl making sure to scrape all the brown bits from the base. This is where all the taste lies so you definitely want to keep those bits.
And there you have it, delicious browned butter. Store the butter in the refrigerator to re-solidify and use it in your baking as you would normal butter.
Note The water in the butter evaporates as it bubbles away so the quantity that you started off with won’t be the same that you end up with after browning. As a general rule of thumb, for a 230g (1 cup) block of butter, I add an extra 30g (2 tbsp) so that I can be sure to be left with 230g at the end of the process.
Tips For Making Cinnamon Rolls With Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing
- Knead the dough for long enough. Whilst making the dough, once the butter has been incorporated, you have to knead for a full ten minutes so that the dough itself has had time to develop its elasticity. You’ll know its ready when the dough is smooth and passes the window pane test. Pinch a ball of dough off and using your fingers stretch it out until it becomes translucent and you can see the light through it. Its perfect if you can and is ready for its first rise. If it tears quickly then it isn’t developed enough and requires more kneading.
- Chill the dough. After the first rise in the mixing bowl, punch the dough down to remove the air, turn it out onto your work surface and knead a couple of times, then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate. This is important so that the dough becomes easy to shape into the scroll later on. You’ll get much neater scrolls if you do this step - which if I’m going to the effort of making this dough, I want the end product to look good!
- Softened butter. When spreading the filling onto the rolled out dough, the butter needs to be extremely soft, but not melted. Too hard and you’ll end up tearing the dough when you try to stretch it. Melted and you’ll have an incredible mess on your hands!
- Use unflavoured dental floss to cut your rolls! Yes I know. Weird right, but hear me out. When you've rolled the dough up into a log and need to cut it into individual rolls, using a knife you’ll press down on the dough and the shape will lose its form. Instead, slide a length of dental floss under the roll and bring the floss up on either side and over and pull together until it slices seamlessly through the roll. This is the best hack for getting those neat cuts.
Can I turn these into Overnight Rolls?
Absolutely! Once you've cut your scrolls and placed them in your baking pan ready for their second rise...this is your chance to refrigerate them. Wrap the baking pan tightly in plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge over night. The next morning, take the dish out of the fridge and let it stand at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour and then bake as per the recipe instructions. There’s nothing like waking up to warm scrolls for breakfast!
More Brioche Enriched Dough Recipes
I love this dough and am slowly amassing quite a few recipes using it. Take a look and save them for later.
BRIOCHE LOAF In this post I provide all my hints and tips in how to make brioche dough.
RHUBARB SCROLLS WITH CRÈME FRAÎCHE GLAZE Brioche scrolls filled with a home-made rhubarb jam and slather in a tangy, sweet crème fraîche glaze
STRAWBERRY DONUT BRIOCHE SCROLLS These are so fun. Individual scrolls are filled with strawberry jam, baked and then tossed in a strawberry sugar. Fun to make for the kids, these taste just like strawberry jam filled donuts without the hassle of frying.
FIG, CARAMEL AND PECAN BABKA One of my first forays into enriched dough. I used my friend, Erin from Cloudy Kitchen enriched dough recipe and added in my own delicious filling of caramel, pecans and figs.
How do I store Cinnamon Rolls With Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing?
Cinnamon Rolls are definitely best eaten fresh and warm straight out of the oven. If you do need to store them then place the rolls in an airtight container and store at room temperature for a 2-3 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Microwave for 10-20 seconds to freshen them up as they will dry out the longer you keep them.
I cut these into seven large rolls to go into my 9 inch pie dish. The quantity of dough used in this recipe is the same quantity of dough used for 12 rolls as shown in my Rhubarb Scrolls here.
When you've layered the dough with the filling and rolled it up into a log, using the dental floss trick, trim the ends off each end and then slice the log into 12 even pieces. Lay the rolls into a 9 x 13inch baking pan and bake as per the recipe below.
For more Autumn recipes check out the following:
Or for a Seasonal Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll then my baking friend Tessa has a fabulous Overnight recipe here.
Cinnamon Rolls With Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing
Enriched brioche dough
- 10 g active dry yeast
- 210 ml whole milk, luke-warm
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 500 g plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or extract
- 115 g unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
- 1 tsp vegetable oil (or canola oil), for greasing
- 60 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 140 g brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
- ¼ fine salt
Brown butter glaze
- 60 g unsalted butter
- 60 g cream cheese, softened
- 180 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp fine salt
- 30 ml whole milk, as needed
Enriched brioche dough
- Add the yeast, milk, and 1 tablespoon (15 g) sugar into the bowl of an electric stand mixer and mix well. Set to one side for 15 minutes until foamy. Into that mixture add the flour, remaining sugar, salt, eggs and vanilla bean paste and using the dough hook, mix on low for 5 minutes until the dough comes together.
- Whilst the mixer is running at a low speed, add the butter gradually, and once incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium speed and knead for 10 minutes. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl and have formed a ‘tornado’ around the dough hook. Do the windowpane test on the dough - grab a small piece of dough between your fingers and thumbs and stretch it out. If it tears quickly, the dough requires more kneading. If it stretches thinly and you can see the light through it, then it’s perfect!
- Tip the dough onto a greased worktop and pull the corners into the centre. Turn over so that the seams are underneath and place the dough ball in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for approximately 1½ hours. Once doubled in size, gently punch down the dough, form it into a rectangle and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for 45 minutes (my preferred option). This step is optional, but chilling the dough now makes it much easier to roll and shape later.
- Grease with butter a 23 cm (9-inch) round pie dish or cake pan. Line the dish with parchment paper if you want to lift the rolls out of the dish once baked. Once the dough is cold, on a lightly floured countertop, roll the dough into a rectangle measuring approximately 30 x 48cm (12 x 18-inches). Dollop the softened butter all over the rectangle and gently smooth out to the edges using an offset spatula. (The butter has to be super soft, so as not to tear the dough. If necessary, place in the microwave for ten seconds to soften. But don’t melt it!). In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly all over the butter.
- On the long side of the rectangle, roll the dough tightly into a long log and then pinch the seam closed with your fingers. Using unflavoured dental floss or a sharp knife, cut the ends off the roll as they won’t be as filled as the rest of the log. Cut the log into 7 even pieces and place the cinnamon rolls on their sides with scroll facing up in the cake pan. Leave room around each roll. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes until they have expanded by about half of their original volume.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Remove plastic wrap and bake the cinnamon rolls for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Half-way through, cover with foil so as not to brown too much.
Brown butter glaze
- While the cinnamon rolls are baking, make the browned butter glaze. In a medium saucepan placed over medium heat on your stovetop, heat the butter until bubbling whilst whisking continuously. Continue to whisk and heat the butter until a foam appears on the top, and the butter develops from a pale yellow to a rich golden brown, and it smells nutty. At this point, remove the butter from the heat and pour into a separate bowl, scraping the browned bits off the bottom, as this is where the flavour lies. Set aside for 20-30 minutes to cool down to room temperature.
- In a separate bowl, using electric hand-held beaters (or a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment), cream together the brown butter and cream cheese for about 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Mix in the powdered icing sugar, vanilla, salt and 1 tablespoon of milk until smooth. Add in an extra tablespoon of milk for a runnier consistency. The brown butter glaze should be a smooth, spreadable consistency.
- When the cinnamon rolls are finished baking, let them cool for about 10 minutes. Spoon the glaze over the cinnamon rolls, using the back of a spoon to spread if desired.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.