Biscuit-Style Cinnamon Rolls
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsps granulated sugar
- 4 tsps baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup cold butter + 1/3 cup softened butter
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- 1/3 cup raisins (optional)
- 1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces (optional)
DirectionsPreheat oven to 400ºF/205ºC Blend the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the 1/4 cup cold butter. Add the milk and stir until just combined. Let sit in fridge while making the filling. Mix together the 1/3 cup softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until formed into a paste. Take the dough out of the fridge, roll out on a floured surface to a rectangle approximately 12″/30cm by 18″/46cm. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin well. Place approximately 1/2-1 tsp of the filling into the base of each cup of the muffin tin. Spread the remaining filling over the rectangle of dough. If using, sprinkle raisins and pecans over the topping. Roll the dough from the long edge up, so you end up with a 18″/46cm roll. Cut the roll into 12. Place the rolls, with a cut side down, into the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown. Let cool 5 minutes, then remove from tin. Serve.
And now for the details…
Howdy folks! Admittedly, this one is not my recipe. It’s a recipe I had gotten from my mom, and she has been making it since I was a kid. My parents were in to visit this past weekend and I asked her the origin of the recipe, since all I have is a recipe card I diligently copied years ago from hers when I moved away. Turns out, this is a recipe from Canadian Living magazine that my mom found years ago (it was when I was a kid, so I’m not going to talk about just how long ago… just… it’s been awhile.)
Do you have cinnamon bun fanatics in your home? These rolls are not quite the same as a cinnamon bun, since the leavening agent here is baking powder instead of yeast, and you won’t get that same fluffy texture. But to be honest, I prefer these rolls over yeast cinnamon buns any day. Yeast cinnamon buns remind a little bit of the texture of pancakes or French toast. Particularly the middle of the bun, where it’s kinda doughy and if it’s had time to sit in the moist filling, it almost gets a little soggy… no thank you, no thank you! Biscuit cinnamon rolls are still a little soft in the middle, but they’ve got this crispiness going on around the edges, and the filling caramelizes a bit since the rolls are cooked apart in separate baking tin cups. MmmmmmmmMMMMmmmmm…
So let’s get to cooking, shall we? First off? Preheat that oven to 400ºF/205ºC!
We start with the dough. Mix/sift together the dry ingredients for the dough (flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, kosher salt). You can use regular salt here, in fact, I think that’s what the original recipe calls for, but I liked the idea of using kosher salt so you would get occasional bites of the salty bits, giving the buns an almost salted caramel type flavour. Once the dry ingredients are mixed together, cut the cold butter (1/4 cup worth) in, using a pastry blender or knives. You can do all of this in a food processor too, which will make it even easier! Cut the butter in until its down to about pea-sized pieces. Next, we add the milk. Mix it in just until the dough has formed up. We don’t want to mix too long or the dough will get tough. Set the dough aside, maybe even sticking it into the fridge, while you get the filling ready.
To get the filling ready, we are going to smush together the softened butter (1/3 cup), brown sugar, and cinnamon. Get it mixed all nicely together so it’s a smooth paste. Before it makes its way into the cinnamon rolls, we’re going to prep the muffin tins by greasing them well (or not at all if you’re using silicone tins; man, I love this muffin tin!) and then dropping about 1/2-1 teaspoon of the filling into the bottom of each cup. This is going to give us that gooey, but crispy bottom for each roll.
Next step is to get those rolls ready! Flour the surface of your kitchen counter quite well so the dough does not stick. Roll out the dough so it becomes a rectangle about 12″/30cm by 18″/46cm. It does not need to be perfect, just an approximation of a rectangle of that size. The dough should be about 1/2″/1cm thick. I just used my fingers to pat and flatten out the dough, but you could also use a rolling pin if you’d like. As you flatten it out, lift each corner occasionally to make sure there is enough flour underneath that the dough will not end up sticking to the counter.
Once the dough is the right size/shape, smear the topping over the dough, trying to get close to the edges and corners. If you are using them, add the raisins and pecans by sprinkling them over the topping. I polled on the Instagram to see what the consensus was on raisins vs. none, and wow, I was not expecting so many folks to be anti-raisin! I was assuming 50/50, but it ended up being closer to 70% of folks who would prefer no raisins! Since I was making these primarily for my dad while he was visiting, the raisins stayed 😉
Next, we roll these up and get them ready for baking! Roll the dough from the long edge up, so that the roll ends up being about 18″/46cm long. If parts of it are sticking, pull them up lightly, and if there is a LOT of flour as you roll, dust it off onto the counter as you roll. Once rolled, let the seam come to the bottom, and then cut the roll into 12 pieces. I find the easiest way to get a somewhat consistent set of pieces is to cut the roll in half first, cut each of the halves in three, then cut each of those pieces in two.
Finally, place each of the pieces into cups of the muffin tins, with the cut sides facing down and up, and bake for 15-25 minutes, or until the rolls are a nice golden brown.
Once they are done, let them cool for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the tins while they are still warm. If you leave them too long, and they cool completely, the bottom, caramel-like middles will harden, and they will be very hard to remove from the tin.