Cream cheese cinnamon rolls . . . what a great thing to partake of on Christmas morning! This happens to be the second Christmas in a row that we have woken up and feasted on cinnamon rolls, last year it was after present opening and this year it took place before. The big difference is that this year I was prepared and decided to make up the rolls the night before so I could relax with my family on Christmas morning. Boy am I glad I did!
These particular rolls are amazing and have just the right combination of sweet bread, raisins, nuts, and icing. Although they are a bit of work on the front end they are definitely worth it! My husband is still talking about them a few days later and already has a request in for the next batch.
Stay tuned for the abbreviated step by step photos after the recipe. You can find many delectable treats at the site where I got this recipe. (Thanks for a great recipe, Joy!) Enjoy!
(Oh, by the way, if you like your icing drizzled you only need to make half a batch. If you like it coated heavily, stick with a full batch. Get it . . . “stick”.)
Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls
Source: Joy the Baker
1 -1/4 oz package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon, plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water, heated to 115 degrees
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for kneading
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
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 raisins
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 cup water heated to 115 degrees F. Stir to combine and let sit until frothy and foamy, about 10 minutes.
Add remaining sugar, milk, light brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Beat with a wire whisk until well combined. Fit the bowl onto the mixer, fitting with the dough hook attachment. Add the flour and salt and mix on medium speed until the dough just begins to come together. Turn the machine on medium-high and knead the dough for 4 minutes.
Add the butter and continue to knead for about 6 minutes. The dough will be wet and sticky. Place the dough on a well floured work surface, and knead about 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into the dough. Set the dough in a large greased bowl to rest. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
While the dough rises, make the filling. Combine the sugar, dark brown sugar, pecans, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, salt, and cloves into a large bowl. Stir to combine. Stir in the maple syrup. Set aside.
When the dough has doubled in size, dump it from the bowl onto a heavily floured work surface. Gently knead the dough until it is no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Work the dough for about 1 to 2 minutes. Once it’s no longer sticky, place a kitchen towel over the dough and let rest for 5 minutes before you roll it out. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese with a knife until it is smooth and spreadable.
Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10×10 inch square or circle. Spread the cream cheese evenly over the dough. Fold into thirds like you would fold a letter to fit into an envelope. Take the open ends of the rectangle and it into thirds again, to make a smaller dough square.
Invert the dough so that the seam is face down and use the rolling pin to gently roll it into a 10×20 inch rectangle. You may find that some cream cheese sneaks through. Turn the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you. You will roll from the short sides of the dough.
Brush the top of the dough with half of the melted butter. The rest of the butter will be for after the rolls are baked. Pour all of the filling onto the dough. Spread evenly, leaving a 1-inch border at one of the short edges of the dough so the roll can be properly sealed. Lightly press the filling into the dough.
Using your hands, lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder. Place dough cylinder seam side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp, thin knife (or dental floss), trim off the uneven edges (or keep them in for a few uneven slices). Cut cylinder into 8 equal slices.
Nestle slices, cut side up and evenly space in a buttered 9×13 metal baking dish. Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let rise for 2 hours. You may also refrigerate the rolls overnight.
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Uncover the rolls. If you refrigerated the rolls, let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before baking. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
While the rolls are baking, whisk together the sugar and buttermilk in a small bowl until smooth.
Transfer the pan of cinnamon rolls to a cooling rack. Brush with remaining melted butter. Let cool for 5 minutes. Dip the tines of a fork into the icing and drizzle over the rolls. Serve immediately.