Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls with Orange Cream Cheese Glaze

3 eggs
2 TB sugar
¾ cup buttermilk
6 TBS unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ½ to 4 cups of flour
1 envelope instant dry yeast
1 tsp salt

1 cup brown sugar
1 TB Vietnamese cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 TB unsalted butter, softened

Orange Cream Cheese Glaze
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 TB unsalted butter, softened
1 TB Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
Zest and juice (about 3 TBs) from ½ orange

Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls

*Vietnamese Cinnamon (often also called Saigon Cinnamon): related to the good ole’ regular cinnamon you can buy at any grocery store, but significantly higher in the essential oils that give this spice its distinct flavor. VC costs more, but I think you will find the aroma and flavor much more intense and worth the price. For cinnamophiles, this is the way to go!


1. Place the 3 eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer with the sugar and buttermilk. Whisk to combine and then stream in the melted butter.

2. Add the salt, cinnamon, yeast, and two cups of the flour. Whisk slowly to combine.

3. Replace the whisk with the dough hook and add another 1 ½ cups of flour. Mix for 5 minutes or so, and then check the consistency. You want the dough to be soft, but not sticky. Add more flour if needed, but no more than ½ cup. Knead for about 5 more minutes, or until the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

4. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead by hand 1 more minute. Very lightly oil a large bowl. Put the dough in the bowl and lightly oil the top. Cover and place in a warm location to rise for at least 2 hours or until roughly doubled in volume.

5. In the meantime, make the filling: combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside, along with the softened butter.

6. After the dough has risen, place it again on a lightly floured surface. Push and pull until it’s roughly rectangular in shape, and then roll it out into a rectangle about 16 X 12 inches.

7. Gently spread the softened butter over the entire surface, leaving a ½-inch border on one of the 16-inch sides. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the butter, leaving the same border. Beginning with the 16-inch side without the border, roll the dough up as tightly as you can. Pinch the dough together at the end to seal and the position the dough seam side down.

8. Cut into 8 cinnamon rolls, each about 2” thick. Place into a buttered 9 X 13 baking dish. I place the two end pieces cut side up. (At this point, you could cover the rolls with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.)

9. Cover and place rolls in a warm spot for 30 minutes to an hour, allowing them to rise again and fill the baking dish.

10. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Place rolls on the center rack for about 30 minutes. If you think they are browning too fast on the outside, turn your oven down to 325. You want them to be golden brown but not dark brown. Ovens vary, so keep an eye on things.

11. As your rolls are cooling, make the glaze. Put all ingredients in a small bowl and, using your hand-held mixer, combine until smooth. Spread on top of the cinnamon rolls. Devour.

Improv: if you cinnamophiles crave still more cinnamon goodness, add ½ teaspoon to the dough. I like the Orange Cream Cheese Glaze for its citrusy zing and autumnal pop of color, but if that is not your thing, just omit the juice and zest, substituting 2 or 3 TBs of whole milk or light cream. The result is a deliciously vanilla-forward icing that complements the Vietnamese cinnamon really well. Finally, feel free to play with the spices in the filling. Cinnamon rolls should always taste like cinnamon, but adding a teaspoonful of nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger, or even cardamom to the filling will transform your cinnamon roll experience. Have fun!

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