I basically live my life in moderation. A little coffee, a short break, a bit of dessert. There’s pockets of time with my kids, little bursts of energy, and the full spectrum of emotions- joy, impatience, excitement, loneliness, peace, and fear- scattered in spurts throughout my day. Moderation is the essence of everything from my diet, my workout regimen, and even my my hair washing schedule. In this time where we’re just doing a little less- maybe less work, less planning, or fewer visits with friends- it seems fitting to share a similarly bitty recipe: these mini cinnamon rolls. These are bite-sized treats that work for this moderate period of life, and because they’re super yummy, you’re going to want to try them ASAP. Let’s chat about them.
This recipe for mini cinnamon rolls was adapted from my favorite overnight cinnamon rolls recipe. This has long been one of the more popular recipes on this site and for good reason- they’re phenomenal. These pastries are soft, lightly sweetened, crowd-pleasing, and near-impossible to screw up. This new recipe is smaller in size and uses half the dough, so it will work perfect during this time when we’re seeing fewer people and have less opportunity for sharing. Like the original recipe, they’re still delicious and totally worth the time, so let me tell you how to make them.
These mini cinnamon rolls start like any other sweetened yeast bread. Yeast dissolves in lukewarm milk and water before being combined with sugar, butter, and eggs. The dry ingredients come next, and the whole thing is kneaded until the dough comes together into a tacky, stretchy heap. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about an hour and a half.
Next comes the rolling. We roll an extra-long but narrow strip of dough and coat it with melted butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Roll the dough tightly and use a sharp knife to cut small spirals from the log. I baked my rolls in a mini muffin tin, but you could easily just plop them on a quarter sheet pan instead. Whatever works! After a second brief rise and a bake in the oven, these rolls are ready for icing.
These mini cinnamon rolls are cute, really yummy, and the perfect addition for these weird times. Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think! Oh! And if you happen to be making this recipe months or years later, when social distancing isn’t a thing, double the recipe and test it out for a party or a group brunch. It will be perfect for something like that. Happy hump day and happy baking!
If you like these mini cinnamon rolls you should try:Print
Mini Cinnamon Rolls
These mini cinnamon rolls have two filling and frosting options and can be made in advance or overnight to serve a crowd!
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 240
- Yield: 40
- Category: Pastry
For the dough:
- 1/2 cup (120 gm) milk, lukewarm
- 2 tablespoons water, lukewarm
- 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted but not too hot
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1–1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup bread flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
For the frosting (see notes for glaze alternative):
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup (55 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (115 gm) powdered sugar
- 2+ tablespoons of milk
To prepare the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine the milk and water and sprinkle the yeast over top of it. Allow the yeast to dissolve, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter, egg, and brown sugar, and sugar until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the flour, bread flour, and salt. Dump about half of the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Pour in the remaining dry ingredients and knead in the bowl using the dough hook attachment until smooth and slightly tacky, about 7 minutes. If you notice your dough isn’t pulling away from the sides of the bowl or it’s too wet, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a little dough “tornado” around the dough hook. Once done kneading, place the dough into a large lightly greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to double in size, about 1-1/2 hours.
- Once the dough has risen, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface and cut it in half. Use a rolling pin to roll one half into a large rectangle about 6”x22” in size. Pour the melted butter and spread it out over top. Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough. Starting with one of the long ends, tightly roll the dough from end to end and pinch the edges together to seal. Cut the dough into about 20- 1” sections and lay them out pop each on spiral up in a lightly greased mini muffin tin. Repeat this process with the remaining dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again, about 40 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once preheated, bake in the oven for about 15-17 minutes or until the edges are barely golden and the internal temp of a roll is 190 degrees. Remove from the oven and prepare your frosting.
To prepare the frosting:
- Cream the cream cheese and butter in large bowl at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar and milk and beat to combine. Add additional milk to thin out the frosting or more powdered sugar to thicken it. You can also gently warm the frosting to pour over the rolls as a glaze. Cinnamon rolls are best enjoyed warm.
- As an alternative to the, you can spread a thin layer of Nutella and proceed with the instructions.
- As an alternative to the thick frosting, you can make a glaze for the rolls by combining 2 cups confectioner’s sugar with ¼ cup milk and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Dip the tops of each warm roll into the glaze and allow to set up.
- You can make these overnight by putting the freshly spiraled cinnamon rolls into the fridge overnight and baking first thing in the morning!