One of my favorite memories growing up was going to Cinnabon for cinnamon rolls. As an Asian American kid, no one in my family knew how to bake let alone make yeasted dough. So getting cinnamon rolls was a real treat for me. I remember biting into that fluffy cinnamon roll with that gooey glaze. It was seriously one of the best things ever. I really wanted to recreate that memory this week with these cinnamon rolls. It has a little matcha twist with a homemade matcha glaze.
Ingredients, Substitutions & Adjustments
- Whole milk – Adds moisture to these cinnamon rolls. I used full fat whole milk for this recipe, but 2% works as well.
- Active dry yeast – This helps the dough rise and gives it its fluffy texture. Make sure to dissolve it in warm water (about 110 degrees F) before using.
- Granulated sugar – Adds sweetness to this recipe. You can also use brown sugar for this recipe, but it will add more moisture to this dough. You might need to add more flour if you use brown sugar.
- Unsalted butter – Make sure to use unsalted butter, so you can control the salt in your dough.
- Egg – Provides richness to the dough.
- Salt – Brings out the flavor of the other ingredients.
- All purpose flour – This is the main dry ingredient in this dough.
I used the most common filling for cinnamon rolls – light brown sugar, unsalted butter, and ground cinnamon. Nothing beats this combination! You can use dark brown sugar as a substitute for light brown sugar. Dark brown sugar is sweeter than its light counterpart because it has more molasses. In terms of spices, you can play around with different warm spices like cardamom, nutmeg, or cloves in addition to cinnamon.
This glaze is a simple mixture of whole milk, matcha powder, and powdered sugar.
- Whole milk – This is the main liquid in this glaze. A good vegan substitute for whole milk is full fat coconut milk.
- Matcha powder – Provides the color and matcha flavor to this glaze. The quality of the matcha powder determines how vibrant the color and intense the matcha flavor will be. I would highly recommend Aiya culinary grade matcha powder for that reason.
- Powdered sugar – Provides sweetness to the glaze and is also the main dry ingredient.
Making my cinnamon rolls
Making the dough
The first step is to make your dough. Warm up your milk on the stove or in the microwave. Aim for a temperature of 100-110 degrees F. Any higher and you risk killing the yeast. Once warm, combine with active dry yeast and granulated sugar. Mix and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it foams. Pour ingredients into a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add butter and whisk until the butter is broken down into small pieces. If you’re using a stand mixer, make sure you’re using the dough attachment.
Next add in your egg and salt and mix until combined. At this point, it’s okay if there are small pieces of butter still visible. Slowly add in your flour and whisk until a soft dough forms then knead for 6 minutes. If using a hand mixer, knead with your hands. Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl. Cover and let it rise for 1 hour until double in size.
Rolling and cutting the cinnamon rolls
After rising, transfer onto a flat surface. Flour the surface if needed. Roll out dough into a 12×12 square. Smear butter over the top and then top with brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Lastly, roll the dough into a tight, 12-inch long log. Trim off the ends and cut into 9 equal pieces. I like to do this by cutting the dough into 3 pieces and then dividing each piece into 3 pieces. This method helps produce even sized cinnamon rolls. Place cinnamon rolls onto an oiled baking dish or cast iron pan. I used a 10×10 baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and let them rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Baking and glazing the cinnamon rolls
While the cinnamon rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake cinnamon rolls covered for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, uncover them and bake for another 10 minutes to get that brown color. If after 10 minutes they are not brown enough for you, leave them in for 1-2 more minutes. You can take them as far as want. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, make your glaze. Mix together all the ingredients for the glaze and set aside. Glaze the cinnamon rolls once they are out of the oven. Serve right away for the best flavor!
Tips on how to make the perfect cinnamon rolls
- Use the correct technique to measure out your flour – One of the biggest mistakes I see when measuring flour is using the measure cup to scoop out the flour. This is a mistake because when you use your measuring cup as your scoop, you are actually compressing the flour into the measuring cup. Compressing the flour means you are using more flour than you intended to. The correct way to measure flour is using a spoon to scoop flour into the measuring cup and then leveling it off with a straight edge. This might sound a little crazy, but trust me it makes a difference. It’s little things like this that take your baking from good to great.
- Try not to use flour when kneading or rolling out your dough – When you first start kneading the dough, it may stick a bit, and it may be tempting to dust a little flour on top but try to resist the urge. As you knead the dough, it will stop sticking. Keeping the dough as moist as possible results in a fluffier cinnamon roll. So try not to use flour, but definitely do it if it’s sticking too much to the surface.
- The key to the perfect swirl – The real key to the perfect swirl is to roll out your dough into a perfect 12×12 square. No you don’t have to be absolutely perfect, but you do want it to be as close as possible.
- Use a sharp cerated knife to cut your cinnamon rolls – The other trick to getting a good swirl is using a nice, sharp cerated knife to cut your cinnamon rolls. Make sure to use nice, long strokes when cutting. The sharp knife and long strokes prevent you from squishing your cinnamon rolls and helps you get that nice swirl.
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Cinnamon Rolls with a Matcha Glaze
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 1 egg room temperature
- ¼ tsp salt
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter softened
- 5 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tsp matcha powder
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- Warm up the milk on the stove or in the microwave. Aim for 100 - 110 degrees F.
- Combine milk with active dry yeast and sugar. I like to do this in a liquid measuring cup because it’s easier to handle. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until it foams.
- Pour ingredients from step 2 into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter. Whisk with a stand mixer or hand mixer until the butter breaks down into small pieces. If using a stand mixer, make sure to use the dough attachment.
- Add the egg and salt. Whisk until incorporated. Don’t worry if the mixture has small lumps of butter still.
- Add the flour a little bit at a time and whisk until a soft dough forms. Knead for 6 minutes. If using a hand mixer, knead with your hands.
- Cover with aluminum foil and let dough rise in an oiled bowl for 1 hour until it doubles in size.
- Once the dough is done rising, transfer onto a flat surface. Flour surface if needed. Roll the dough into a 12x12 square. Spread the butter over the top. Then top with brown sugar and ground cinnamon.
- Roll the dough into a tight, 12-inch long log. Trim off the ends and cut into 9 even pieces. I like to do this by dividing the dough into 3 pieces and then dividing each piece into 3 pieces. This helps me get even sized cinnamon rolls.
- Place cinnamon rolls onto an oiled baking dish or cast iron pan. I used a 10x10 baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and let them rise in a warm place for 1 hour until they have doubled in size.
- While the cinnamon rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Bake cinnamon rolls covered for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the cover and bake for another 10 minutes to get that brown color. If after 10 minutes they’re not brown enough for you, you can leave them in for 1-2 more minutes. You can take them as far as you want.
- While the cinnamon rolls are baking, make your glaze. Mix together all the ingredients for the glaze and set aside.
- Glaze the cinnamon rolls once they are out of the oven. Serve right away for the best flavor!