Is it Cinnamon Scrolls or Cinnamon Rolls? I think it’s one of those things where different countries have varied names but you know what I mean when I talk about it.
The more shocking thing we need to talk about is Cinnamon scrolls for breakfast! It’s been over 5 years now since we began our Live cooking show and I’ve been introduced to a lot of new (and wacky!) cooking/eating trends. As an Aussie, we grew up with pastries like Cinnamon (Sc)rolls for a snack or dessert. Little did I know, our North American friends are having them for brekky! I’d love to know if you’re a fan of this trend!
This recipe is my take on the humble cinnamon Scroll (or Roll!). Apple and pecans pair so well with the spiced filling and big fat, soft buns. Slather it with glaze or frosting and enjoy any time of the day.
Why this recipe is amazing
Flavour & texture: Soft and pillowy yeasted bread with a slightly chewy texture. A Warm and comforting brown sugar filling with cinnamon that adds a warm, spicy flavour that is balanced by the sweetness of the brown sugar.
Difficulty & Time: 2/5. This recipe can take some time and effort to make but the end result is definitely worth it. You’ll need to make a yeast-based dough, roll it out and spread the filling over before rolling and cutting the dough. The longest delay is proofing time but that’s easy!
Versatility: These can be made without apple and nuts, just simple cinnamon scrolls. Top with a plain glaze or a flavoured cream cheese. Why not add chocolate chips too? You could even swap out the filling and use a chocolate spread like Nutella!
What ingredients are needed
- Milk: I prefer to use dairy milk in this recipe however you may substitute depending on personal preference and dietary needs.
- Instant yeast: Instant yeast has a long shelf life and can be stored in the pantry for several months, making it a convenient ingredient to have on hand. Finally, instant yeast produces consistent and reliable results, which is important when making delicate baked goods like cinnamon scrolls.
- White Sugar: A commonly used in baked goods because it not only provides sweetness, gives the yeast energy to grow but also helps to tenderise and moisten the texture of the final product. Additionally, the caramelization of the sugar during baking creates a golden brown colour on the exterior.
- Bread flour: Bread flour has a higher protein content compared to all-purpose flour, which creates a stronger gluten structure in the dough. This results in a dough that is more elastic, with a chewy texture and a good rise. The extra gluten strength is useful when working with enriched doughs like cinnamon scrolls, which contain added fat, sugar, and eggs, all of which can weigh down the dough and make it more difficult to rise.
- Salt: Salt is used in baked goods to enhance the flavour of the dough by balancing out the sweetness and adding a savoury depth. Salt helps to strengthen the gluten structure of the dough, improve the texture of the final product, and control the rate of fermentation by slowing down the activity of the yeast.
- Large egg: Eggs help to bind the dough together, adding richness and flavour to the final product. The yolks contain fat, which tenderises the dough and creates a soft crumb, while the whites provide structure and help to create a light and airy texture. The size of the eggs affects the overall moisture content of the dough, so using large eggs helps to ensure that the dough has the correct consistency and avoids having an ‘eggy’ taste.
- Lightly salted butter: Yes, I’m a salted butter fan. I opt for a grass-fed, higher fat-content butter that is lightly salted to enhance the flavours of the butter itself. Butter is often used to provide richness and flavour to the dough and filling. The salt in the butter also helps to enhance the overall flavour of the rolls. Using lightly salted butter ensures that the dough and filling do not become too salty, as the recipe already calls for salt. However, some bakers prefer to use unsalted butter in their cinnamon scrolls and adjust the amount of salt in the recipe accordingly. You may use unsalted butter but you must then add 1/2 tsp salt.
make cinnamon scrolls ahead of time
Here are a few different methods you can use to prepare cinnamon scrolls in advance:
- Refrigerate the unbaked dough (Fresh Scrolls for Breakfast!)
- After you have prepared the dough, instead of letting it rise at room temperature, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before rolling and cutting it into scrolls. This method works well if you want to have fresh-baked cinnamon scrolls in the morning without having to wake up early to make the dough.
- Freeze the unbaked scrolls:
- After you have rolled and cut the dough into scrolls, place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and freeze for 1-2 hours until firm. Once they are frozen, you can transfer the scrolls to a container or freezer bag and store them for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to bake the scrolls, take them out of the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.
- Freeze the baked scrolls:
- Once the cinnamon scrolls have been baked and cooled, you can wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze them for up to 3 months. To reheat, simply take the scrolls out of the freezer and let them thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes. You can also reheat them in the oven at 180°C (350°F) for 5-10 minutes until they are warmed through.
By using these methods, you can prepare cinnamon scrolls ahead of time and enjoy them whenever you like, whether it’s for breakfast, dessert, or a sweet snack.
Setting you up for success – Tips & Tricks for amazing scrolls
- Activate The Yeast Properly: Before adding yeast to the dough, make sure it is activated properly. This means dissolving the yeast in warm milk and letting it sit for a few minutes until it becomes frothy.
- Knead the Dough Well: Kneading the dough properly is important to develop the gluten in the dough. This gives the scrolls their soft and fluffy texture. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth, elastic and you can complete the ‘window pane test’.
- Roll Out the Dough Evenly: This will help ensure that the scrolls bake evenly and look great.
- Roll it out larger than 35x25cm (14×9 inch) = with many thin layers and possibly less soft.
- Roll the dough out smaller than 35x25cm (14×9 inch) = less layers but they will be thicker and more doughy.
- Use Room Temperature Butter for the Filling: Use softened butter because it is easier to mix with other ingredients and will spread evenly. If cold butter is used it may not combine well with the sugar and cinnamon. This results in clumps or pockets of butter that don’t melt properly. This means uneven distribution and some parts of the cinnamon roll too dry or too sweet. Melted butter may also cause the filling to leak out of the roll during baking.
- Use Enough Filling: Make sure you use enough cinnamon filling in the scrolls. The filling is what gives the scrolls their flavour so be generous and spread a thick layer.
- Use Dental Floss to cut the Scrolls: Using dental floss to cut cinnamon scrolls can be a handy trick because it allows you to make clean, even cuts without squishing the dough. Simply slide a long piece of floss underneath the rolled dough. Bring the two ends up and cross them over the top of the dough, and then pull the ends in opposite directions to slice through the dough.
- Let them Cool Before Serving: Once the scrolls are finished baking, let them cool for a few minutes before serving. This will allow the filling to set and prevent them from falling apart when you try to eat them.
- Choose your Topping: Glaze or cream cheese frosting. A good glaze can take your cinnamon scrolls to the next level. I have attached both recipes. I think I like cream cheese but the glaze is so good too!
Frequently asked questions
Once the cinnamon scrolls have cooled completely, store them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. They can be stored at room temperature for up to 2-3 days but will start to lose their freshness after the first day. If you want to keep them for longer, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Certainly! To freeze cinnamon scrolls, let them cool completely first. Place them in a single layer in a freezer-safe container or Ziplock bag. If you are stacking them, place a sheet of baking paper in between each layer to prevent them from sticking together. Cinnamon scrolls can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
To thaw cinnamon scrolls, take them out of the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours. Alternatively, you can microwave them for 20-30 seconds or heat them in a 180°C/350°F oven for 5-10 minutes until they are warmed through. Once they are thawed, you can store them at room temperature or in the refrigerator, depending on how soon you plan to eat them.
Yes, you can make cinnamon scrolls without yeast by using a recipe that utilises baking powder. This recipe has not been tested without using yeast. Be aware that the texture and taste will be different from traditional yeast-based cinnamon scrolls.
Soft Apple Cinnamon Scrolls
- stand Mixer
- casserole dish or baking tray
- dental floss
- 200 g (¾ cup) milk warmed
- 7.5 g (2¼ tsp) instant yeast
- 50 g (¼ cup) white sugar
- 375 g (2½ cups) bread flour
- 8 g (2 tsps) salt
- 1 large egg
- 20 g (1½ tbsp) lightly salted butter
- 315 g (1 cup) brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp (1½ tsps) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp (½ tsp) ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp (¼ tsp) ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup (½ cup) butter
- 3-4 granny smith apples peeled, cored and chopped small
- ⅓-½ cup pecans or walnuts finely chopped
Vanilla Glaze (optional)
- 120 g (1 cup) powdered icing sugar
- 15-30 g (1-2 tbsp) milk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)
- 250 g (8 oz) cream cheese block not spreadable
- 60 g (2 tbsp) salted butter softened
- 150-200 g (1-1½ cups) powdered icing sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- ½-1 tsp lime or lemon juice optional
- 1 tbsp lime or lemon zest optional
Make the Dough
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, add yeast on top of the milk with sugar and gently stir. Set aside for 5 minutes to ensure it is active and bubbly.
- Add egg and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Next stir in flour and salt until a dough begins to form.
- Transfer to workbench if you don’t have an electric mixer, knead the dough by hand for 8-10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Mixer: Place dough hook on stand mixer and knead dough on medium speed for 8-9 minutes. Dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky.If you notice the dough is still sticky (meaning it's sticking to the hands or the bottom of the bowl) add in a tablespoon or so more flour. Just don't add too much or your rolls will be very dense!
- Spray a large bowl (reuse previously used) with oil and transfer dough ball, cover with plastic wrap. Place into a warm area (I like to use my microwave, turned off with a mug of warm water).Allow dough to rise for 1 hour to 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size. This may more or less time depending the humidity and temperature in your home.
Make the Filling
- In a small bowl, mix together all the filling ingredients until well combined.
- After the dough has doubled in size, transfer the dough to a surface and roll it out into a roughly 35x25cm (14×9 inch) rectangle. Spread the butter mixture over the dough evenly. Leave a 1cm / ½ inch strip without filling along one short edge to help stick when rolled up.
- Tightly roll up the dough, moving towards the area with no butter mixture. Pinch to seal the edges of the dough. Wrap the floss around and cut the dough into 12 thick pieces.(Dental floss helps make amazing round shapes without flattening the dough).
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Place scrolls in a lined 23cm/9 inch baking pan or round cake pan. Place back into microwave if it fits or you can use a warm dish towel and let rise again for 30-45 minutes.
- Place dish uncovered into oven and bake until lightly golden (around 20 to 30 mins).
Prepare the Frosting or Glaze (or Both)
- Glaze: In a small bowl, mix all ingredients until smooth. Cream Cheese Frosting: Combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract In a large bowl. Use a whisk or electric mixer to whip until smooth and fluffy.
- Spread or drizzle over semi-cooled cinnamon rolls and top with chopped pecans and serve!
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Hey, we are Molly & Exceede
Former operating room Nurse and self-taught home cook + IT Engineer passionate about Approachable, No-Nonsense recipes to help you level up in the kitchen. We create simplified dishes for busy people with easy-to-find ingredients!
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