Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese and Orange Zest Frosting

I am definitely new to the baking world but with so many yummy treats out there to make I can’t help but get into it. Growing up, my grandmother has always been my baking inspiration and if I ever want to bake anything her recipe is the one I will ALWAYS ask for first. Whenever she had leftover pie dough she would use it to make cinnamon swirl pie bites which literally were mini cinnamon rolls. For this recipe, I pretty much did the same thing she would do with the leftover pie dough except made a larger batch of the dough and added a few extra things to give it my own special touch. I spruced up a traditional cinnamon roll recipe by adding some freshly squeezed orange juice and zest for the frosting. If orange isn’t your thing, just feel free to omit it! These are absolutely delicious either way you guys.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 3/4 cup warm whole milk
  • 2 1/4 tsp of dry active yeast (these come in already portioned packets, found at the grocery store)
  • 2 Tbs. dark brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Ingredients for the Filling:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs. orage zest
  • Pinch of salt

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese and Orange Frosting:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (room temp)
  • 2 Tbs. of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tbs. orage zest
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Steps for the dough:

Tip: If you do not have a stand mixer or a kitchen aid with a dough hook attachment, you can  buy already made dough which is still just as delicious. You can also knead the dough by hand as another option. Both work well. If making the dough homemade with this recipe, it needs to rise overnight so be sure to make it the day before you want to eat/serve the cinnamon rolls. 

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (my kitchen aid is my hero) mix together the warm milk, active yeast, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of the flour
  2. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes until yeast starts to bubble slightly
  3. Fitted with the dough hook attachment add the egg and the butter mixing throughly until each is well combined
  4. Add the remaining cups of flour and salt, knead dough for 5 minutes on slow until slightly tacky
  5. Flour surface and knead dough by had for 1 more minute
  6. Form dough into a ball and place in a well greased bowl with plastic wrap over
  7. Let the dough rise in the fridge overnight

Steps for the filling:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a using a handheld mixture, combine the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, and orange zest until well beaten and creamy
  2. Set aside until your dough is ready. Feel free to make the night before as well or do it the morning of!

Steps for the Orange and Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the cream cheese, orange juice, orange zest, and the powdered sugar
  2. Set aside until you are ready to frost the cinnamon rolls

After the dough has raised, remove from fridge and roll out on a well flour surface into a 14″ x 12″ rectangle. Spread out the filling all over the rectangle and begin to roll the dough into a long tube starting with the edge closest to yourself. Slice the dough in approximately 1″ rounds, I used unflavored dental floss to slice mine and it works amazing. Put the dental floss underneath where you want to slice, wrap around once and pull tight. If you don’t want to use that method a sharp knife works just fine! Place the rounds in a well greased skillet as shown above or a casserole dish. Let the rounds rise in the skillet or dish for another 30 minutes until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place rolls in oven and bake for about 20 minutes util rolls are golden brown. When rolls are finished frost immediately and serve warm!

Should make about 10-12 cinnamon rolls.

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