Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

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There about a thousand and one things that I want to bake. Honestly, 1001 things. But recently, I’ve just been baking quite randomly – whatever the heart wants. Friday night doughnuts, Sunday morning cinnamon roll, Sunday afternoon granola, Sunday evening pizza wheels.


The latter was so good, I am grateful I made extra for dinner tonight. So good. I might share the recipe once I master making the wheels to look like a… wheel rather than a blob of mess. A blob of cheesy mess. Uhm YUM! I might need to reduce the amount of pepperoni to get less messy slices. But what am I talking about? Pizzas are not worth eating without obscene amount of pepperoni.

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But what I am here to talk about right now is the CREAM CHEESE CINNAMON ROLL. I’m sorry, I’m not yelling. It is just seriously the most epic cinnamon roll I have ever had. I mean, I know croissant is such a buttery goodness because you roll a block, literally, of butter into the dough. But who knew rolling cream cheese into dough would create such soft, moist and AWESOME cinnamon roll?!

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Honestly – not yelling. I am just so excited thinking and talking about it.

The roll was so good on its own it can definitely do without the glaze – if you run out of icing sugar like I did ,because I used it all making espresso glaze for my doughnuts, don’t fret cause it is fine! However, I did have leftover cream cheese and it is not to be wasted. I added a few tablespoon of milk into the melted cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Perfect glaze for the perfect cinnamon roll.

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So, please, let me share this amazeball recipe because sharing is caring. Also, when you finally try out this recipe, you owe me a cinnamon roll from your freshly baked tray. That is all – thank you.

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Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe adapted from Joy The Baker

For the Dough:

2 1/4 teaspoon package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon, plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for kneading
3/4 teaspoon salt
120g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

For the Filling:

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/4 cup sultanas

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
120g unsalted butter, melted

For the Glaze:

2 oz cream cheese, melted
4 tablespoon milk

Making the Dough:

In a mixer bowl, combine yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 cup warm water (warm to touch but not burning – 45°C. Whisk lightly and set aside for 10 minutes, the mixture should be frothy and foamy.

Once the mixture is ready, add remaining sugar, milk, sugar, vanilla, egg and egg yolk. Whisk until mixture is well combined; add the flour and salt. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on medium speed until the dough begins to come together. Increase the speed to medium-high and knead dough for 4 minutes.

Add the butter and continue to knead for another 5 minutes. The dough will be wet and sticky. Add about 1/3 cup all purpose flour into the dough and continue kneading for an extra minute or until the flour has incorporated into the dough. Set the dough to rest in a large greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Make the Filling:

In a large bowl, add the sugars, pecans, walnuts, sultanas, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Stir to combine. Add in the maple syrup and stir. Set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, place it on a heavily floured work surface. Gently knead the dough until it is no longer stick, add more flour (by the tablespoon) if required. Knead for 1 or 2 minutes until it is 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 10 x 10-inch square.

Spread cream cheese evenly over the dough square. Fold the square into thirds and 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 gently roll it into a 10 x 20-inch rectangle with a rolling pin. Be as gentle as possible with the dough, you make find cream cheese sneaking through, but keep calm and keep rolling until it reaches the required size.

Move the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you – we will be rolling from the short sides of the dough. Generously brush the top of the rolled out dough with half of the melted butter. The rest of the butter will saved for later when the rolls are baked.

Pour all the filling onto the dough and gently spread evenly – leave 1-inch border at one of the short edges of the dough. This is so the roll can be properly sealed. Lightly press the filling into the dough.

Gently lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight log. Place log seam side down on a cutting board. Trim off the uneven edges.

Cut the log into 8 equal slices. Place the slices, cut side up in a buttered (lined) 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Ensure the slices are evenly spaced. Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise for another 2 hours. You may refrigerate the rolls overnight like I did.

Pre-heat oven to 190°C.

If you refrigerated the rolls, allow them to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking. Bake until golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 30 minutes.

Make the glaze:

While the rolls are baking, whisk together the melted cream cheese and milk in a small bowl until smooth.

Transfer the pan of cinnamon rolls to a cooling rack.  Brush generously with remaining butter.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Drizzle glaze all over the rolls.

Serve immediately.


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