These fluffy brioche cinnamon rolls are the very best way to start your morning! Featuring a deliciously rich brioche dough, easy cinnamon sugar filling and decadent caramel cream cheese frosting, they’re the perfect treat for a holiday morning or special brunch!
Today we’re sharing our go-to breakfast for holiday mornings: soft and fluffy brioche cinnamon rolls with a super easy caramel cream cheese frosting! Making cinnamon rolls from scratch can seem a bit daunting, so we’ve included our favorite tips and trips and guarantee these warm and gooey treats are so worth the effort.
all about brioche
what is brioche dough?
Brioche is an enriched dough, meaning it contains a higher percentage of fat. The fat in enriched doughs generally comes from butter, eggs or milk (or in this case all three!). The dough is rich and buttery, yet the texture remains incredibly soft and airy.
Brioche dough is only lightly sweet, which makes it perfect for both sweet and savory bakes. We love it for cinnamon rolls as it balances out the sweetness of the cinnamon sugar filling and our decadent caramel cream cheese frosting!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Flour: A mixture of all purpose flour and bread flour gives brioche the perfect texture. You can also use just all purpose flour, but the texture will be slightly less chewy (although still delicious)!
- Yeast: While I tend to use instant yeast for this recipe, it works just as well with active dry yeast. You can find instructions for using active dry yeast in the recipe notes.
- Sugar: Using 1/4 cup (50 g) of sugar gives this bread just a touch of sweetness. The real sweetness in these rolls will come from the cinnamon sugar filling and frosting.
- Salt: About 1.5 teaspoons is the perfect amount for this recipe.
- Eggs: Five eggs help make this dough rich and contribute to the moisture content along with the milk.
- Milk: Milk contributes to the richness of the dough and helps give the crust a nice caramelization.
- Butter: This amount of butter (18 tbsp or 250 g) may seem like a lot, but you don’t want to skimp on this recipe! The butter needs to be very soft, but not melted. I generally cut the butter into chunks and heat in the microwave at 50% power in 10 second intervals.
making brioche dough
Step 1: Knead together all ingredients except the butter
Combine all ingredients except the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Mix for 10-15 minutes on low speed.
This first knead is important to start developing gluten. Once the butter is added, it will coat the flour and prevent gluten from easily forming.
Step 2: Add the butter
Next you can start adding the butter 2 tablespoons (30 g) at a time. The butter should be quite soft, but not melted. I like to microwave it at 50% power in 10 second intervals until I get the right consistency.
When adding the butter, make sure it’s fully mixed in before adding the next piece. Once all the butter has been incorporated, continue mixing until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Step 3: Refrigerate
Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least six hours or overnight (and no longer than 24 hours). This time not only improves the flavor and texture of your brioche, but also helps the dough to firm up a bit and makes it easier to shape.
forming the cinnamon rolls
cinnamon sugar filling
The filling is made with just three ingredients: butter, cinnamon and sugar! Simply mix together the softened butter, sugar and cinnamon until a paste forms. To make the mixture easier to spread, make sure the butter is a bit warmer than room temperature but not completely melted. A few seconds in the microwave should do the trick.
assembling the rolls
Now it’s time to assemble the rolls! Start by rolling the dough out into a rectangle approximately 18×14 inches (45×35 cm).
Next, spread the cinnamon sugar paste evenly over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges. This will make the rolling process a bit easier and ensure the filling doesn’t seep out the sides.
Finally, tightly roll up the dough starting at the long end and trim the edges. Use a knife to score 12 portions, then cut and immediately transfer to the baking pan.
tips + tricks
- Measure the flour using a kitchen scale when possible. Flour is prone to being mis-measured when using cups and getting the right amount of flour is essential to the success of your dough.
- If your dough is quite soft after rolling into a log, try placing it in the fridge for about 15 minutes. This will make it easier to cut into individual rolls.
- If you’re not sure whether or not the cinnamon rolls are fully baked you can check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer. It should be 190F (88 C).
plan ahead: baking schedule options
When it comes to preparing the cinnamon rolls you have a few options for planning your days:
Option 1 (as written in the recipe card)
Day 1: Prepare the brioche dough and refrigerate overnight.
Day 2: Make the cinnamon sugar filling, then roll out and assemble the cinnamon rolls. Bake and frost.
Option 2 (for minimal effort on day 2)
Day 1: Prepare the brioche dough in the morning and refrigerate for at least six hours. In the evening, make the cinnamon sugar filling, roll out and assemble the cinnamon rolls. Place in a pan, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Day 2: Allow the cinnamon rolls to proof at room temperature for two hours. Then bake and frost.
caramel cream cheese frosting
And the perfect topping for these cinnamon rolls? Our easy caramel cream cheese frosting! Here are a few tips before you get started:
- Make sure your cream cheese and butter are room temperature to ensure a smooth texture.
- Add more powdered sugar for a thicker consistency or use additional milk to thin as necessary.
- Frost the cinnamon rolls as soon as they come out of the oven. The warmth will help the frosting to really blend into the rolls.
brioche cinnamon rolls: FAQs
Yes! You’ll need to use a bit more active dry yeast than instant and make sure to “activate” it in warm liquid. I suggest heating the milk until warm and then sprinkling in 3 tsp (12 g) active dry yeast. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes before adding to the flour.
While it’s possible to make brioche without a stand mixer, I don’t recommend it. Because brioche is such a soft dough, the process will be long and quite messy. But if you’re up for a challenge, it’s definitely doable with a fair bit of effort (and patience)!
We love to freeze baked cinnamon rolls (even already frosted) for a quick breakfast. They can be frozen for up to 3 months and reheated in the microwave.
For more sweet breakfast ideas, make sure to check out these recipes:
- whole wheat blackberry muffins
- sumac strawberry scones
- chocolate-dipped almond biscotti
- almond flour pumpkin muffins
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