Sometimes you fall in love with a specific flavor combination, and it's hard to no think of using it in just about anything. Ever since I tried these amazing brown butter salted caramel snickerdoodles, I've been dreaming of the day I could try that beautiful brown butter and salted caramel in a cinnamon roll. Unfortunately, I could never find quite the right recipe to try it with. I've botched my fair share of cinnamon roll batches, and felt like I was almost destined to fail in the rising-the-rolls department. But as you can see... I struck gold. And I struck it hard core!
Darling Kelsey Nixon's cookbook has been on weekly rotation in our little family. We tried her Skillet Sausage Hash last week, and almost died it was so heavenly. We keep trying recipe after recipe from her amazing cookbook, and each one has worked perfectly without any effort at all, really. It's nice to have a cookbook that's sure-fire, tried-and-true, and guaranteed to be mouthwatering each time the food hits the plate.
It was then when I knew her cinnamon roll recipe was the perfect vessel to test my vision on. The recipe is pretty straight forward, however, at the beginning, before anything hits the fan, you brown that beautiful butter until all the rich amber flavors seep with each lovely drop. All those gorgeous flavors are soaked in the dough, and let me tell you: it's MONEY. I don't know how anyone could ever skip that little life-changing step for even a second in any batch of cinnamon rolls from here on out! It should be an essential :)
Next, I transformed the traditional cream cheese frosting/glaze. Stirring in a little caramel, and topping it all with a bit of sea salt seals the deal. These officially are our absolute #1 favorite cinnamon rolls. And trust, me. We've tasted what some call the best, and this puts them all to shame. Good news for you: the recipe is below, and it's shut-the-front-door easy.
Enjoy, my darlings! It's kitchen-hero time!
Brown Butter Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
makes one 9x13 pan, 12 cinnamon rolls
1/3 C unsalted butter
2 25oz packets active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 C warm whole milk (105-100 degrees F)
5-6 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C sugar
1 large egg
2 t kosher salt
1/3 C packed light brown sugar
1 T ground cinnamon
1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 C powdered sugar
4oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 C unsalted butter
1/8 C whole milk
1/8 C caramel sauce + more for drizzling
1/4 t vanilla extract
1/8 t almond extract
sprinkle of sea salt
1. Make the dough: Place butter in a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Stir with a whisk until foaming, and pull off the heat right when the butter smells nutty and starts to turn a golden brown. If you pull it off too late, it will burn, if you pull it off too soon, you won't get the full brown butter flavor. So watch it closely! Scrape brown butter and bits into a separate bowl to cool while preparing the other ingredients.
2. In the bowl f a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the yeast and warm milk. Let it stand for 5 minutes until bubbly, then turn the mixer on low. Add 1/2 C of flour, then the sugar and browned butter, egg and salt. Increase the speed to medium and mix about 2 minutes.
3. One cup at a time, add the dough until it's fully incorporated and the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft, but not stiff. Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour.
4. Punch the dough down and flip it out on a lightly floured surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 12x18 size rectangle.
5. Make the filling: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread the softened butter over the flattened dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the buttered surface.
6. Starting with the long side, roll up the dough tightly, pinching the ends. Cut dough into 12 1-inch thick slices using a sharp knife or string. Place slices cut-side-down in a greased 9x13 glass dish. Cover lightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, about a half hour.
7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, bake rolls until tops are light and golden, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan while preparing the frosting.
8. Make the frosting: Using a hand mixer, whip together the butter, cream cheese, extracts, sea salt, and caramel until thoroughly combined. Add in the powdered sugar, and then the milk slowly until the right consistency is reached.
9. Spread frosting over cooled cinnamon rolls, and drizzle with more caramel sauce.
recipe adapted from: Kelsey Nixon's Kitchen Confidence Cookbook "Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Glaze"