For the past few weeks I’ve been working myself up to make real deal holyfield cinnamon buns.
And you know the type I mean – the super soft, ultra moist, pull-apart Cinnabun knock-offs that are slathered in an extra helping of icing because you were smart enough to be first in line when the oven timer went off.
The only problem?
Like all good things in life, those super rich cinnamon buns require some premeditation to prepare.
From what I read, you need to make the dough the night before so that it can chill in the fridge overnight.
Then only when morning comes can you finish your journey to pastry goodness.
This is where my grand scheme fails me, because while I’m bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning (yes, I’m one of “those” people) I’m more like an extra from The Walking Dead once the sun goes down.
Because no matter how much I really, truly want to wake up just a few minutes away from the delicious breakfast of my dreams, that all seems so very far away when it’s feeling more like get-in-bed-and-read-my-kindle o’clock instead of lets-prepare-more-food-because-clearly-I-haven’t-done-enough-of-that-already-today thirty.
So when faced with yet another Sunday going by with no homemade cinnamon buns, I did what I always do:
I improvised and found a shortcut. I took the recipe for Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies, adapted it to be a little more soft than chewy, and added some cinnamon swirl and frosting for good measure.
Voilà! I now have cinnamon buns, the super easy way.
And the end result?
These are some of the best sugary cinnamon cookies I’ve ever tasted.
And they look so much like little cinnamon buns, I think I might have tricked my mind into thinking they were the real deal – the ravenous cravings for cinnamon buns have quieted(for now), though I haven’t given up on the dream yet.
One day very soon I will make full-fledged cinnamon buns from scratch and it will be glorious.
But until then, these cookies will tide me over just fine.
Notes and tips for these cinnamon bun cookies
- If you’re doing a lot of baking, I highly recommend having some silicone baking mats or silicone baking mats on hand. Baking cookies takes enough time without having to cut or measure parchment paper. Or if you prefer using parchment paper, you can try using pre-cut parchment paper sheets instead.
- Plus, some quality baking sheets are a must for a cookie baking extravaganza!
- For this recipe, I highly recommend using a stand mixer or a hand mixer. This recipe would be difficult to make by hand with a whisk.
More fun cookie recipes
Cinnamon Bun Cookies
For the Sugar Cookies
In a large bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, and salt. Set aside.
- Drop speed to low and beat in eggs and vanilla extract.
- Keeping mixer speed on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until dough is firm but not too sticky.
For the Cinnamon Sugar Swirl
- In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
- On a floured surface, place a manageable piece of cookie dough (such as 1/2 or 1/4 of total dough) and flatten the dough into a rectangle shape roughly 1/4 inch thick. Tip: use your hands to square off the sides and top so it's an even rectangle - this will make rolling the dough easier in the next steps.
- Using a knife (or your fingers!) gently spread softened butter on the top of the cookie dough. Tip: use very small pieces of butter at first to avoid clumping. Butter will gradually become easier to spread as you work.
- Add a generous amount of cinnamon sugar mix on top of the butter, then press it into the dough. The cinnamon sugar mix should turn a little dark from the butter.
- Tightly roll the cookie dough into a log. You can either roll it lengthwise or widthwise. I rolled mine lengthwise. When dough is rolled, gently pull & press the end in place. This will make cutting the dough easier.
- Using a sharp knife or pizza roller, cut dough in 1/4 to 1/2 sized cookies.
- Place cookies on the baking sheet, swirl side down, roughly 2 inches apart. Make sure cookies are narrow and wrapped tight - they will spread out as they bake.
- Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes or until very edges of cookies are golden and centers are still a little soft.
Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Using a stand mixer (or a hand mixer + small bowl), add softened cream cheese, dash of milk, and vanilla extract. Beat on low until combined.
- Keeping speed on low, slowly add powdered sugar. Add more milk or powdered sugar 1 tsp at a time to get desired consistency.
- Store cookies in a cool place inside an air tight container for up to 5 days.
Recipe inspired and slightly adapted from Creme de la Crumb.