Brunch at Home: Part One
If you don’t love carbs… I don’t trust you. If you don’t want to fall in a pan of cinnamon rolls whenever you see them, I honestly think you need to see a doctor. I will take any excuse to have breakfast. Breakfast for breakfast, breakfast for lunch, breakfast for dinner – All day. Every day. For ease, let’s just categorize everything as “brunch”. Since we’re breakfast food maniacs, I thought I’d start a series on my go-to recipes. Check out my other breakfast recipes here.
First up on this Brunch at Home series, I’m sharing my No Fail Cinnamon Rolls (pull apart bread). This recipe is great. It’s super simple and can be evolved based on the crowd/how you want to serve. The base is a homemade pizza dough, but I’ve also used store bought (thank you Trader Joe’s) and it comes out almost as good. I love recipes that have little shortcuts or that can be evolved based on the setting, don’t you?!
I make this recipe a few times a year, and if calories didn’t count, I’d make it weekly! It’s a simple way to create something totally indulgent that doesn’t take all day to make. It’s beyond the cinnamon rolls out of a can and just a touch more difficult. A win-win in my opinion. If you’re short on time, try it as a pull-apart bread or if you’re feeling brave, try it as a split-top roll like what you see below. Honestly, it looks way more difficult than it is – all you have to do is roll it as you would a cinnamon roll, cut the long roll in half to create two pieces, take a knife and split the top of each piece, then twist the two pieces together, then coil to fit your pan.
Each method yields a slightly different result. Personally, I’m a traditionalist, but if you’re trying to impress someone, the slit-top coil is absolutely stunning. I typically don’t ice it if I go that route because the brown sugar and butter create a caramel of sorts because they’re exposed directly to the heat as opposed to being tucked in a velvety dough in the traditional method.
What’s your favorite breakfast food? I have to admit – while I LOVE a cinnamon something or other, I’m truly most happy with a savory take on breakfast. What’s your go-to breakfast/brunch order? What’s something you wish you knew how to make but are too afraid to try? Is there a recipe you love that’s your go-to? Share it with me in the comments below. If there’s something you’d like me to attempt, let me know! I’m always up for a challenge!
Okay, enough chit-chat. I know you’re here for the recipe. Let’s rock and ROLL. See what I did there?
No Fail Cinnamon Rolls (and Beyond)
FOR THE DOUGH:
store bought pizza dough or my basic homemade basic pizza dough
FOR THE FILLING:
1/2 stick + 1 tablespoon of butter (melted)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)
FOR THE TOPPING:
3 oz. softened cream cheese
3 tablespoons softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream (more if necessary)
pinch of salt
First up, make the pizza dough. If you are making the dough, make it a couple of days in advance and let it rest in your fridge. If you’re not making it, make sure you get the dough a few days in advance.
Remove your dough and let it rest and come to room temp. This will help it rise and make the finally product yeast-y and delicious. This takes a couple of hours, if you’re in a hurry, you turn your oven to the lowest temperature, take the dough and put it in a glass pyrex bowl with a wet towel covering it, place the dough in the oven with a cup of boiling water. This should keep your dough moist and allow it to come to “room temp”. The idea is that you don’t start with a cold dough.
Melt the butter.
Combine all the ingredients for the filling except the butter.
Butter 2 round baking dishes or 1 large rectangle pan. This makes about 12 cinnamon rolls (or 9 BIG rolls) for reference.
Divide your dough in half. While you’re working with one half, make sure and keep the other half covered.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. If it bounces back/isn’t rolling easily, let it sit / rest for a minute or two.
Once you roll out the dough, it should be a narrow rectangle about 11 inches by 5 inches, cover with 1/2 of the melted butter.
Cover the butter with 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Roll the dough tight, and then slice in to 6 even rolls.
Repeat the above with the remaining dough.
Once all the rolls are in your pan, let the cinnamon rolls rest, covered, for 30 minutes in a warm place. They should almost double in size.
Turn the oven to 350º F. Place the rolls in the COLD oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is golden.
While they’re baking, make the topping.
Once the rolls are done, let them cool for about 3 to 5 minutes or so in the pan. Then top with the topping and serve.
Conversely, if you don’t want to make the rolls, just make the logs, cut a slit, and braid them. I typically don’t top the braided version with the cream cheese topping. Honestly, there’s no rhyme or reason to why I don’t top them, I just don’t…normally. 🤷🏼♀️