This is an adapted version of Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls, using cream cheese and maple in the cinnamon roll frosting. It’s like a cinnamon roll and maple doughnut had a baby.
Hey there! You may be wondering what this recipe for cinnamon rolls is doing on a paleo-ish food blog. Well…. it dates back to when I wasn’t a paleo-ish blogger, and it’s one of our favorites. And it’s apparently one of your favorites, too, because it’s been flying around Pinterest like crazy for the past few years.
Eventually I’d like to clean it up and make it (at least) gluten and dairy-free, but in the meantime it’ll stay and have a home here on my blog as totally-worth-it recipe we’d indulge in.
I tend to get dramatic when I talk about desserts around here, which is seldom. Really, have you noticed? This is only the 9th “dessert” post I’ve posted this year. A while ago I decided to cut back on baking. I love to bake, but let’s face it. . . baked treats aren’t good for you. And they’re dangerous to have sitting on the counter when you have little self control. (like me)
So I decided only to bake for special occasions. Like birthdays. Like when a 2-week cookie craving won’t go away. Like when someone in my family comes to visit. (That doesn’t happen much. We do most of the traveling.) The latter is why I made these cinnamon rolls for the second time this year. (I made them back in January, but didn’t get a photo because I was too busy stuffing them in my mouth. True story. I ate six in one day.)
I’ve tried a lot of cinnamon roll recipes in my years of baking and occasionally find a new “favorite”. Well, people, this one just rose to the top and clobbered the rest with its gooey, sticky goodness. Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls are, like, an institution.
According to Pioneer Woman (and I completely agree), the problem with most cinnamon rolls is that there’s too much bread and not enough goo. People fight over the center of the roll, but with these, there’ no need for that because . . .
THE WHOLE THING TASTES LIKE THE MIDDLE.
If you don’t like gooey-sticky cinnamon rolls, then you would absolutely hate these. For the rest of you, . . . at least try them once in your life. Life-changing? Absolutely.
By the way, this recipe makes about 50. I did the whole thing back in January and filled two rimmed cookie sheets. This last time I halved the recipe and made them in those little disposable foil baking pans and froze them. Pre-frozen or fresh, they turn out amazing. And I love that you can just make the dough and stick it in the fridge for a couple of days until you find a few minutes to finish them.
I tweaked Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll frosting because I don’t use coffee in anything I bake (or cook). So I added some cream cheese and maple flavoring to the frosting instead. Holy cow — they taste like maple bar doughnut frosting. Absolutely incredible.
I also use avocado oil instead of vegetable oil and usually swap out the milk for almond milk. It’s still super tasty. I’d love to make a gluten-free version of these, but honestly, I’d just rather have the real thing.
If you make one of my recipes, be sure to post it on social media and tag me at @perrysplate or #perrysplate so I can send you some love!
Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
This is, hands-down, the best recipe for cinnamon rolls in the entire internet. Truly. The entire roll has the taste and texture of the MIDDLE. How's that for amazing? And the cinnamon roll frosting is to die for -- maple + cream cheese is a match made in heaven.
For the rolls:
- 1 quart whole milk (almond milk is ok)
- 1 cup avocado oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 packages active dry yeast (I used instant yeast that I store in the freezer)
- 9 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (scant) baking soda
- 1 tablespoon (heaping) salt
- 1 1/2 cups butter (yep, 3 sticks)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cinnamon
he maple frosting:
- 1 2-pound bag of powdered sugar
- 8 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 Tablespoon maple flavoring
- 1/2 cup milk
- pinch of salt
- Mix the milk, avocado oil and sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
- After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down.)
- When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape.
- Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
- Starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.
- Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans. (At this point you can cover them and put them in the freezer. When you're ready to make them, just pull them out and stick them on the counter for a few hours until they thaw and rise, which happened quicker than I though.)
- Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.
- For the frosting, cream the powdered sugar, butter, and cream cheese together very well. The mixture will be very thick. Add the maple flavoring, half of the milk, and a pinch of salt. Beat until the frosting thins out and there aren't any lumps. Add the rest of the milk if you want the frosting to be thinner.
- Frost the cinnamon rolls while they're still warm so the frosting melts into the rolls.
- Try not to eat the entire pan.
Note: Adapted from The Pioneer Woman's recipe
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Friday 22nd of December 2017
I have made these the last 2 years and LOVE them!! I thought that vegetable oil was used instead of avocado oil? Does this change the taste?
Wednesday 27th of December 2017
Aren't they amazing?! Yes, the original recipe had vegetable oil, but I've been going back and editing my recipes to better reflect how we eat. I stopped using vegetable oil years ago and found that avocado oil is a really good replacement. It's flavorless and you can use it in any recipe that calls for vegetable oil.
Sunday 4th of December 2016
Think these would work at all with an all purpose gluten free flour? And could I still freeze them? My family wants gluten free cinnamon rolls for Christmas but I learned my lesson about trying to be all gourmet at 5 am. ;))
Thursday 8th of December 2016
Oh man. I have no idea, but I want to try it now! I've heard that if you use some xantham gum with the GF flour, then it helps it to hold together better. It may depend on the GF flour, too. Baking is so finicky. Let me know if you try it!
Tuesday 29th of December 2015
I make these every year for Christmas and people beg for them. They are that amazing. A few issues it seems people have. 1) I don't drink coffee either. I have made these using a glorious cream cheese maple frosting that uses real maple syrup and it's amazing. I have frozen these to cook later with frosting packets inserted and it works really well. I have also purchased instant coffee that comes in individual 1 cup servings and the same package has been in my cupboard for 3 years. I only use it for this recipe and the frosting is awesome. It's a toss up which one is better and my kids all agree. 2) for those having problems rolling them. It takes a bit of practice but it's a matter of pulling the dough slightly and then rolling them. Pull roll, pull roll, and so on. The dough snaps back and makes a nice and tight roll. It just takes a gental pull. Just a bit of stretch for that snapping to happen. At the end, I pull the end up and over with that same pull. It works every time. Cut with a sharp knife. These are the best.
Tuesday 29th of December 2015
Thanks for the tips, Laura!
Monday 27th of July 2015
Hello, I've made 2 batches of these and each time I roll the dough out it is just a story mess. I refrigerate the dough over night and take it out just as I roll the half and I place it out on floured parchment (did just counter top too) . As I roll it up it just becomes too soft to stay in the roll form. I've only used only 1/2 c butter to a cup of butter and still have the same results. Right now I rolled it as tightly as I could in parchment and stuck it in the freezer to firm before cutting in hopes that they will stay together! Help any suggestions are welcomed!!
Tuesday 28th of July 2015
I'm sorry to hear that, Jen! Unless I'm standing in the kitchen with you, it's hard to say what went wrong. I've never had any problems like you described.
Sunday 28th of December 2014
I make these for family and friends when I need an excuse to make them.. They are the BOMB! Everyone loves them! Hmmm...New Year's Eve party is coming!
Monday 29th of December 2014
Perfect excuse! :)