I have a MAJOR weakness for coffee-house style baked goods. Big, fat, fluffy, over-sized pillows of baked goodness. YES. These cinnamon roll donuts are exactly that. They are the kind of impressive treat you’d happily shell out $4.95 for at your neighborhood cafe.
I based the recipe on my blackberry sticky buns which were based on a Cooks Illustrated article I read a zillion years ago, which basically assures THE BEST brioche dough imaginable.<<<-- run on sentence of the century
Anyway. It’s totally versatile. I used the same dough base some time ago to make what I call “sweetheart rolls”. They are orange-scented, and filled with cream cheese and strawberries. It’s good stuff, ya’ll. BUT. With these cinnamon roll donuts, I went a different direction with the filling and then used the technique from my favorite apple walnut Danish recipe. That post has a step by step tutorial with photos if you start on these donuts and aren’t sure how to twist.
I baked the twisted rolls in two standard donut pans. I considered going full-fried-donut with this one for a minute -- like I was almost there. But if you follow me on a regular basis, then you know that it has only been about a week since I very nearly caught my kitchen on fire while all my dogs barked at me. I was looking forward to eating donuts and having no fire alarms in my future.
If you decide to fry things up, PLEASE TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT. That said though, a donut pan will totally suffice. Bake ‘em up and frost away!
If cronuts are croissants + donuts then are these rollnuts? Cinnuts? I feel like this conversation is taking a turn for the worse awfully fast here, so I’m going to bow out of creative naming for now and tell you that if you need something a little simpler, you might want to try this strawberry cheese Danish recipe (made with crescent rolls!).
If you want to try your hand at something a little more pro I have spied this AMAZING cranberry bagels with cinnamon recipe from one of my fellow Food Fanatic contributors. Those bagels are so pretty I can’t even believe she made them at home!
Cinnamon Roll Donuts Recipe
For the Donut Dough:
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast, 1 package
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 4-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (as needed)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
For the Filling:
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
For the Icing:
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. You won’t need it just yet, but it will assist in the rise of your dough. (If you are making these in a warm or humid environment, you can wait to preheat until the 2nd rise).
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and heat the milk to about 110°F. (Check your yeast for a more specific temperature) Pour it into a large bowl with the warm water. Add the yeast and granulated sugar. Stir and let it sit for about 2 minutes.
Stir in the egg, egg yolks, and 2 cups of the flour.
Once the flour is all incorporated, add 2 more cups of flour and the salt. Only add the last 1/2 cup of flour if the dough is too sticky and you can’t work with it.
Knead the dough in the bowl for about 10 minutes. It will be shiny and smooth. Oil the bowl and form a ball with the dough.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it on the preheating stove to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Punch the dough down and lightly flour a clean work surface. Stretch the dough evenly into a 9 X 13 rectangle with the short side closest to you.
Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon, and scatter it evenly across the dough, pressing it in a little as you go.
Cut the sheet of dough in half horizontally. Then cut each half into 6 strips. Twist the strips and wind them into a lightly greased donut pan. You’ll lose a fair amount of the filling when you twist. Scoop it up and sprinkle it over the tops. Cover with plastic wrap and place the donuts back on the preheating stove for the second rise which will take about 45 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 20 - 25 mins. While the rolls are baking, whip together the icing ingredients in a stand mixer (or use the whisk attachment on your hand mixer).
Spread the frosting on the hot donuts.
Cuisinart Stand Mixer
KitchenAid Stand Mixer
Le Creuset Revolution Spatula