Cinnamon Buns

Thursday, June 21, 2018

cinnamon rolls

I’ve had a lot of people asking about these cinnamon buns on Instagram, and so I’m finally delivering with a recipe. This cinnamon roll recipe is adapted from my book but made a bit different: I’ve baked them in mini soufflé pans from Mauviel. I am really happy with how they turned out – the pans held the dough’s shape nicely, and pushed the buns up to be extra tall. The soufflé pans also help caramelize the sides of the buns while keeping the center tender, and this, in my humble opinion, makes them absolutely perfect. I have a few other recipes coming that involve these pans, and will try to get them up this next week.


You have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
-Warsan Shire, Home

I read Warsan Shire‘s poem, Home this week. I think it is an important read, and you can read it in full here. I also just discovered the work of Joya Logue, and love her watercolors. This particular picture strikes a chord with me, and I have seen it paired with Shire’s poem quite a few times on Instagram the last day or two. As my children are home for summer break and we have the leisure to spend our days together reading and swimming and baking and being, I find my mind drawn constantly to those families that have been separated from one another. I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to not know where my children were, and not sure if I would ever find them again. People are not statistics. Families Belong Together.

If you are concerned about what is currently happening at our borders, or if you are confused about what exactly is happening and why so many people are highlighting it, I have some links here for you. First of all, knowing exactly what asylum is and why people are seeking it is important. The American Immigration Council has a page detailing everything you need to know, and explains the process people go through once they reach our borders. You can read about that here. If you are curious about how the process has changed in the last few months (it has become harder to seek asylum), American Voice has an overview on the policies that have shifted. You can read about that here. Also, read this NPR piece on where the children go once they are taken from their parents. The New York Times has a great piece on Fact-Checking the Trump Administration’s Case For Child Separation at the Border. A google search of “who is speaking out against border policies” will bring up hundreds of hits – CEO’s, evangelical pastors, first ladies, the Pope, celebrities… so many people. I don’t bring this up to name drop, simply to say many people who often disagree on other issues are speaking up to say this policy is wrong.

My overall advice to you here is to read, fact check, and learn about what is going on.  People are not statistics.

If you’d like to contact your representatives about what is happening, you can find phone numbers and contact here. Resistbot is another great way to contact your local representatives, and you can find their webpage here. Don’t be afraid to use your voice, for this issue or any that is important to you! I’ve found the more I call, the easier it is each time. This website also has scripts that can help with calling.

If you’d like to give, here is a list of organizations mobilizing to help.

Also, I know that this is a food blog and many of my readers have different political opinions. I think what is currently happening to families at my own country’s borders is inhumane, and important enough to bring attention to here. To quote the late Anthony Bourdain, “People are not statistics. There’s nothing more political than food…who eats? Who doesn’t? Why do people cook what they cook? It is always the end or a part of a long story, often a painful one.”

People are not a means to an end, people are the end.
Love your neighbor as yourself.

I choose to raise my voice to help reunite families.

cinnamon rolls

A few other things (that seem trite after the above):

*My site got a little make over! I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I have to give a shout out to Alex from A Couple Cooks for all his help (and if you are looking for someone to help with your site, I highly recommend him!).

*A few months ago my site got hacked and someone signed thousands of people up for my email newsletter. My mailing list now should reflect those who want to be on there, but if you find you are not getting my emails anymore and would like to be, you can sign up on the side bar.

*Last week I spoke about my chocolate chip cookie recipe going viral at the Cherry Bombe Radio event here in Minneapolis. Mpls. St. Paul Magazine reprinted what I had to say on their website, if you want to read it.

*Molly’s new show starts this weekend on the Food Network! I can’t wait to watch.

cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe adapted from my book, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book.

I also have a recipe for brioche cinnamon rolls here if that is more up your alley.

I’ve made the rolls in individual soufflé molds, specifically, these 3 x 2-inch copper mini molds from Mauviel. If you do not have soufflé molds, you could use ramekins instead, just make sure they are roughly the same size. The molds I used have straight 2-inch sides, which helps give the rolls their tall shape. The sides of the pans are buttered and then dusted with sugar, which caramelizes the sides of the buns, making for an incredible roll. As much as I like soft, gooey cinnamon buns, this version is currently my favorite way to partake.

The one downside to the copper molds is that they are crazy hot when they come out of the oven, which can make it a little tricky to get them out. I use a kitchen towel and wrap it around the base of the copper mold, then run a knife carefully around each roll, and flip them onto a wire rack. Make sure to line the bottom of each mold with parchment paper as noted in the instructions, or the buns will stick to the bottom and it will be extra hard to get them out.

4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, warm (100-110F)
1/4 cup honey
4 cups (568g) all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks | 142g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 cup (149g) brown sugar
1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 ounces cream cheese
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons water
2 cups (226g) confectioner’s sugar

For the dough
Grease a large bowl.

In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the eggs, milk, and honey.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, yeast, and salt and stir on low to combine. Add the egg mixture and mix on low to combine. With the mixer on low, add the butter, one piece at a time. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat the butter into the dough, until all the little butter pieces are incorporated, 1 minute. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl. The dough will be very sticky and you will need a spatula to scrape the dough into the bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Place your fingers or a spatula underneath the dough and gently pull the dough up and fold it back over itself. Turn the bowl and repeat this folding again. Continue 6 to 8 more times, until all the dough has been folded over on itself. Re-cover the bowl with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat this series of folding 3 more times, for a rise time of 2 hours and a total of 4 foldings. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours.

For the filling
In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

To assemble
Butter ten 3 x 2-inch soufflé molds (see note above about soufflé mold specifics). Line the bottom of each mold with parchment paper, and then generously coat with granulated sugar, tapping out any excess. Place the molds on a baking sheet.

Roll the dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the top, pressing it lightly into the butter so it adheres. Starting at the long side, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam gently to seal it and position the dough seam side down. Use a scissors or a sharp knife to cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. Transfer the pieces to the prepared pans and place them cut side up. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Adjust the oven rack to the middle lower position. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove the plastic and bake 22 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the rolls are golden brown. While the rolls are baking prepare the icing.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls cool for a few minutes. Use a kitchen towel or oven mitts to pick up each soufflé mold, then run a knife carefully around the edges of the pan, and flip the roll onto a wire rack. Carefully put the roll right side up, and repeat with the remaining rolls. Let cool for 5 minutes, then place a piece of parchment paper under the wire rack. Pour the icing over each roll. Serve warm.

For the icing
Place the cream cheese in a small bowl. Add the salt, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water and mix until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix until combined, adding more water if needed, until the desired consistency is reached.

The copper soufflé molds were sent to me by Mauviel, but all opinions about them are my own.


  • Reply
    Friday, June 22, 2018 at 7:15 am

    your buns look fabulous! I will have to give the recipe a try. Those molds are gorgeous, but they are $65.00 each! I will have to come up with a more economical solution for baking mine.

    • Reply
      Friday, June 22, 2018 at 10:27 am

      Patty – I know they are expensive! I do mention in the blog post that you can use ramekins instead, as long as they have 2-inch sides.
      Large muffin tins will work, too, but you won’t get the same height on the buns.

  • Reply
    Friday, June 22, 2018 at 9:14 am

    This is your blog. You obviously have the right to post whatever suits your fancy. Certainly, I support your right to voice your opinion. But, I come here to read great recipe ideas not be preached to. Humans are NOT statistics but this border situation has been going on for years. Have you felt compelled to care and offer so many links before or is this somehow something like a bandwagon where every famous person with an audience feels they HAVE to voice their opinion? I find it dishonest that people are “finding their voice” on this issue now but weren’t educated enough about this story to care back in 2014 when the circumstances were the same except for the person holding the office of President.

    Here are a few links if intellectual honesty is something that matters. If not, then just admit it’s politics as usual.

    God bless!

    • Reply
      Linda b
      Saturday, August 4, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Thank you Jennifer. So much dishonesty out there that is Agenda driven. One good thing is the list of organization listed, check who is funding these organization. I have a suspicion it is not good. Fact checking is now dishonest too. I trust your 3 articles. Not many around.

    • Reply
      olga deel
      Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 10:35 pm

      Indeed! Well spoken Jennifer.

  • Reply
    Heather Kinnaird
    Friday, June 22, 2018 at 11:31 am

    absolutely LOVE the new look! now off to find these molds

  • Reply
    Friday, June 22, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    I love cinnamon rolls and these look so delicious and perfect for weekend brunch!

  • Reply
    Linda L.
    Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at 2:08 am

    Thank you for that poem – it touched me deeply. And thank you also for straying from the usual post to include a reference to the world around us all. Cooking doesn’t happen outside of our surroundings and is often one of the threads that links a family, even when they are apart. Like you, I’ve wondered if I could cope with being separated from my children not knowing where they were or who they were with. This even without having survived what some of these families, especially the mothers, have just to bring their children out of unimaginable situations.
    It’s easy to be just a pair of hands producing recipes and advice for us. Much harder to show us your perception of the world you live in and are bringing your children up in. It took some courage to say what you did, knowing you’d probably get some negative feedback. I salute that courage!
    Oh, and the cinnamon buns look delicious 🙂

  • Reply
    Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Love your cookbook, blog and your writing! I second what Linda L. above said, kudos to you for this post! The previous comments from Jennifer came across extremely rude and judgmental to you and others and then goes on to say “ God Bless” Really? Keep doing what you’re doing and we know what you post are great recipes and a heart ?? behind them! These buns turned out beautiful!
    ?? f/a fellow MN!???

  • Reply
    On the List
    Saturday, June 30, 2018 at 2:02 am

    […] for dinner is always a good idea, so why not whip up a batch of these Cinnamon Buns from The Vanilla Bean […]

  • Reply
    Monday, October 1, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Can I assemble these the night before and then allow them to rise to room temp before baking? I need cinnamon rolls around 8:00 am and I’d prefer not to wake up at 3 am to assemble and bake. Love, love, love your book!

    • Reply
      Monday, November 12, 2018 at 7:49 am

      Did you receive a response? I’m wondering the same. Also curious if these rolls stay soft at room temperature or if they need to be warm to be soft.

  • Reply
    Friday, November 30, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    Did you receive a response? I’m wondering the same. Also curious if these rolls stay soft at room temperature or if they need to be warm to be soft.

  • Reply
    Best Cinnamon Roll Bake Off | The Pancake Princess
    Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    […] from Sarah’s cookbook and Sarah features a slightly different, individually baked version on her blog. Sarah’s recipe had one of the highest percentage of eggs (about 16% compared to an average […]

  • Reply
    Leah Arthur
    Tuesday, December 24, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    I guess I will be up at 6 am to finish these luscious lovelies. I came by the comments section to see if anyone had any special hints on how to time manage these bad boys. Oh well. Off to bed!

  • Reply
    Echo Gates
    Thursday, December 26, 2019 at 11:39 am

    I have been making cinnamon rolls for my family’s breakfast on Christmas morning for many years, but had become disenchanted with the recipe I was using. I found your blog and decided to make these rolls for Christmas without testing out the recipe first. I started the rolls on Christmas Eve and finished them Christmas morning. What a delight. These rolls are soft, and light with just the right amount of filling and icing. This will be my go-to cinnamon roll recipe from now own.

  • Reply
    Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at 7:42 am

    this looks really good!! can’t wait to try it:) but may I ask, which icing recipe for your cinnamon roll recipe is better or whats the difference in taste? because in this recipe you did not add any butter while in the original recipe there was butter in it!

  • Reply
    Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    The recipe sounds fabulous.
    If I use silver foil Ramkins that have a 2 1/2 side, how long do I bake the rolls?
    How many rolls will the batter make?

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