• February 8, 2009

    Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

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    I just finished devouring a cinnamon bun hot from the oven. A swirl of soft dough, oozing with buttery brown sugar and cinnamon and thickly gobbed with cream cheese frosting. Actually, for the sake of truthfulness, I just finished devouring two. Oops.

    (Don’t worry – I ate a carrot straight after to make up for it).

    This is what I do when I am supposed to be studying “Advanced Topics in Clinical Nutrition”. With midterms next week, I should probably feel ashamed at being covered in flour when I should be covered in something studious like post-it notes. But really – what would you do if the thought of warm cinnamon buns kept floating into your mind in place of something like Chapter 18: Diseases of the Hepatobiliary. Hmm? Would you think about bile? Or would you think about the cinnamon buns? Come on, you know you’re on my side.

    This recipe is from Molly Wizenberg, written for Bon Appetit magazine. It is the best cinnamon bun recipe I have ever tasted. Ever. Since I found it, I ceased my faithful pilgrimage to the local jewish bakery. I like mine better.

    Watch a little video my very talented bf made while I was baking:

    Done exactly as written, they turn out heavenly every time. I’ve tried making the dough in the breadmaker, and they’re just not the same. I have also tried making the dough and forming the buns a day in advance and refrigerating them overnight to be baked fresh in the morning, but was disappointed. I think they are aware of how good they are, and think themselves superior enough to make demands about how they are treated. However, one trick they will do is freeze. Make a batch, devour a few while warm and gooey, (consume a compensatory carrot), then freeze the rest. Pop one in the microwave for 20 second intervals until warm, and delight in a warm cinnamon bun for breakfast on a Wednesday.


    Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

    This cinnamon roll recipe is the best. A swirl of sweet bread, oozing with buttery brown sugar and cinnamon, thickly topped with cream cheese frosting. 

    Course Breakfast
    Cuisine Swedish
    Prep Time 3 hours
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
    Servings 18
    Author Jennifer Pallian


    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 3 1/2 cups or more unbleached all purpose flour, divided
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons rapid-rise yeast from 1 envelope
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • Nonstick vegetable oil spray

    For Filling:

    • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup butter softened

    For Frosting:

    • 4 ounces 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
    • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
    • 1/4 cup butter softened
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


    1. Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.

      Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl.

      Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.

      Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

      Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.

      Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15x11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide).

      Spray two 9-inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.

      Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.

      Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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