These Tangzhong Cinnamon Rolls evoke glowing holiday cheer. A tangzhong paste makes this dough light, tender, and immensely fluffy. A gooey filling and brown butter frosting creates a supreme cinnamon roll that will become apart of your yearly holiday repertoire for life!
I’ve taken a long time to post, but I believe the wait is well worth it! Since July, I’ve been recipe testing cinnamon rolls after cinnamon rolls.
There are many varying qualities of cinnamon rolls, but for me, cinnamon rolls should have a tender and fluffy texture, a gooey cinnamon-sugar filling, and a silky cheese cheese frosting.
To get an airy texture, I used tangzhong—a gelled flour water-paste—in the dough. Once baked, the trapped water releases and provides moisture without sogginess. A combination of cake flour and all-purpose flour additionally creates a soft tender crumb. The levity of these Tangzhong Cinnamon Rolls surpasses the traditional heaviness of cinnamon rolls.
Combing the butter with the cinnamon sugar, ensures an even dispersal of cinnamon and sugar, a common technique used with mass produced cinnamon rolls. Browning the butter in the frosting carries over those warming wintery flavors.
Cinnamon, butter, and sugar—these are the flavors of the holidays. These rich scent of these Tangzhong Cinnamon Rolls cut through these dark, frigid days!
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- For the Tangzhong
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons bread flour
- For the Filling:
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- For Light and Fluffy Dough:
- 2 ¼ teaspoons rapid-rise yeast
- ¼ cup room temperature water
- 2 ¾ cups cake flour
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons butter, cubed and softened to room temperature
- For the Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter, browned, cooled, and refrigerated until mostly firm
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch fine salt
- Whisk water and bread flour in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 20-second intervals until it forms into a thick, smooth, gel-like paste. Let cool.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, sugars, cinnamon, and salt, stirring to combine. Pour into a container and let cool until ready to use.
- Combine yeast and water, let it activate, it will bubble and froth. In the meantime whisk cake flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat buttermilk and tangzhong mixture until well combined and smooth. Lower speed to low, add dry ingredients and yeast mixture. Beat in egg and vanilla. Once combined, switch to a dough hook and add butter, one cube at a time. Let the dough knead for 5 minutes. On a well floured surface, knead the dough by hand for another 5 to 7 minutes, this will yield an elastic, smooth and sheeny dough. Grease a large bowl and turn dough out into bowl. Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm place, about 1 hour.
- Grease a 9-inch cake pan with baking spray. Punch down dough. Roll out onto a well floured surface, rolling into a 13 by 9 inch rectangle, using a knife to square and shape the dough. Spread filling mixture evenly onto dough, leaving a 1/8-inch border empty. Roll dough tightly and stretch it out slightly. With seam side down, use a serrated knife to make 8 2 ½-inch cuts, producing 9 rolls. Place rolls into prepared pan, cover with towel, and let rise for 1 ½ hours until it has proofed and increased in size.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway. They should be slightly golden and not doughy. Let cool for 10 minutes before pour half of the frosting onto the rolls. Let cool completely before covering with remaining frosting.
- Beat butter and cream cheese until combined and smooth, about 2 minutes on a stand mixer’s medium speed. Gradually add powdered sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt. Use half of frosting on warm cinnamon rolls and wait to apply remaining frosting until cooled. Extra frosting can be refrigerated for up 1 week and goes well on cupcakes and cake too.