The world is messy and complicated. The U.S. has certainly been feeling that these last few weeks in the wake of a rancorous election. Lucky for us, these brioche cinnamon rolls are not.
They make use of my favorite no-knead brioche recipe, which is just about the simplest, most butter-wonderful treat I know.
The last time I made it, I used half of the dough to make a loaf of brioche, and the other half went into the freezer for later. And “later” turned into last weekend and these simple, gooey, unrepentantly rich and buttery cinnamon rolls.
The dough gets patted into a rectangle and smeared with a nub of butter then sprinkled with a generous amount of brown sugar and cinnamon.
Then it gets rolled up into a fat log.
And then sliced into rounds and nestled into a cast iron pan or other baking dish.
And then they get slipped, ever so gently, into the oven, where they rise and expand into lovely swirling golden mounds.
I like to top them with a simple cream cheese icing that comes together in a few minutes while the cinnamon rolls are baking.
They are incredible when they are still warm from the oven, but unlike cinnamon rolls made with leaner doughs that tend to turn dry and rock-like in a few hours, these brioche cinnamon rolls are still tender and lovely the next day. (Dan says they have the texture of cold butter, which might be pushing it…)
They would make a spectacular breakfast for a holiday morning. You could even assemble them the night before, refrigerate overnight and bake them in the morning if you want to make the morning hassle free.
I cannot promise that they will do anything about this messy world, but I can tell you if anything tastes like comfort, these do.
Brioche Cinnamon Rolls
For the cinnamon rolls
- 1/2 recipe no-knead brioche
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened (28 grams)
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (100 grams)
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
For the cream cheese icing
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened (113 grams)
- 2 ounces unsalted butter softened (1/2 stick, 57 grams)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar sifted (110 grams)
- Preheat oven to 375° F.
- Pat the dough into a rectangle, about 15-inches by 12-inches (I like to do this on parchment paper or wax paper) and then spread the butter over the dough.
- Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar together in a small bowl and sprinkle it over the dough in an even layer.
- Starting from the long edge, roll up the dough into a tight log and pinch the seams together to seal (don't worry too much about it).
- Slice the log into 12 even pieces with a sharp knife and arrange cut-side-up in a 10-inch round baking dish (or cast iron skillet). They can be touching each other but there should be a little breathing room in spots so they have somewhere to expand. (You can cover and refrigerate overnight at this point and bake the next day.)
- Bake until golden and the center feels firm, about 25-28 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the cream cheese icing. Add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and sifted confectioners' sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Let the cinnamon rolls cool for about 5 minutes, then add the icing. Serve warm.