Filed under: Rolls
December 9, 2022

Croissant Cinnamon Rolls

A hybrid between a croissant and a cinnamon roll: everything you love about cinnamon rolls but instead of a purely plush bread roll, you’ll get flaky buttery croissant layers. 

Yield: 12 large rolls
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A hybrid between a croissant and a cinnamon roll: everything you love about cinnamon rolls but instead of a purely plush bread roll, you’ll get flaky buttery croissant layers. 

 

 

Oh boy have I got a good one for you. The idea for this was penned down sometime in the spring and I’ve been working on it on and off for a few months now, tinkering with the shaping and the chilling periods, and at this point, well they are fire

This one is more involved than my usual cinnamon rolls, although you’ll note the base dough is quite similar to my brown butter cinnamon rolls. There are only two folds to do before you start shaping the rolls themselves and one beauty of this recipe is that it sits overnight in the fridge post shaping – which means you can wake up, take them out, and by the time the oven is done preheating (30 minutes) they are ready to bake. This puts you at having fresh bakery-like croissant cinnamon rolls roughly one hour after you’ve woken up! 

The first thing I want you to know is that these are not difficult to make but there are a few steps. The only part you will curse me for (err, hopefully) is the rolling of the dough which will take some arm muscle as it resists stretching, but have patience. You can do this. 

 

Recipe Ingredient Info 

 

Butter: You can use salted or unsalted butter here, for the filling if you are using unsalted I’d add a pinch of salt. It doesn’t matter if you use european or american style butter (I actually prefer the latter for laminating because it won’t melt as quickly). 

 

Oil: I realize it’s fussy to ask you to use two different types of fat. I use oil here because the dough recipe is based on my original cinnamon roll recipe but you can also use melted butter instead. If you don’t mind using oil, make it something flavorless like grapeseed, avocado, canola or vegetable. 

 

Yeast: I use instant yeast but you can also use active dry, add an additional ¼ tsp of active dry. 

 

How to make the croissant cinnamon rolls, in simple steps

 

  1. Make the dough (all in the stand mixer, very hands off), let rise 
  2. Spread the butter to make the ‘block’ then chill it 
  3. First fold: roll out, book fold, letter fold, last fold 
  4. Second fold: roll out, vertical letter fold, last fold 
  5. Roll out, spread filling, roll up, slice 
  6. Cover and chill overnight 
  7. Bake & glaze 

The butter block 

 

This is as simple as slightly softening some butter, then pressing it into a rectangle between two sheets of parchment (to save on parchment you could probably cut one in half). Then you’ll place it in the fridge to chill. 

 

Keeping that butter cold is *key* to laminating successfully (laminating is a fancy word for folding butter into dough). It should never melt when you’re handling the dough and if you see it getting over soft, set the dough in the fridge for a bit then come back to it. 

Folding the Croissant Cinnamon Roll dough 

This is where things get a little more complicated than your average cinnamon roll, because before we roll out the dough to spread the filling, we’re going to do some laminating, ie. getting that butter into very, very thin layers between many layers of dough. 

 

I have photos in the recipe below that are going to take you through every step. But basically we’re doing some book folds (so folding in half) and some letter folds (thirds). 

 

After every “fold”, which is actually 3-4 mini folds, you’ll chill the dough. This is partially to allow the gluten in the dough to rest but also to keep that butter cold. 

 

Cold butter = flaky layers. If the butter melts before it gets into the oven, it won’t release the gas necessary to separate the layers to give you that crispy, flaky croissant texture. Instead it’ll pool at the bottom and the rolls will be quite, well, sad. 

 

Rising Times for the Rolls 

 

The first rise: an easy one, you’ve done it before: wait until it’s doubled in size. It’ll take between 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen. 

 

Dough didn’t rise the first time? Something probably went wrong with the yeast, it could’ve been expired (you’ll notice this if it didn’t foam when you mixed it with the water) or the water added was too hot and killed the yeast. I wouldn’t worry about the water being too cold, the dough is warmed up by the addition of the roux. 

 

The second rise: we’re going to be pretty hands off with this one and let it do most, or all, of its rising in the fridge. When you go to bed at night, take a picture or a mental photo of the rolls, in the morning they should have grown at least 30% and you’ll see some bubbles (pics below for reference). Then leave them at room temperature to warm up a bit before baking. 

 

Let’s say you are in a time pinch and can’t do the overnight bedtime for the rolls, in this case I’d leave them at room temperature for just half an hour before baking. It’s *super* important that the butter doesn’t melt before the tray goes into the oven so keep them in a cool area. 

 

Croissant Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Croissant Cinnamon Rolls

A hybrid between a croissant and a cinnamon roll: here’s everything you love about cinnamon rolls but instead of a purely plush bread roll, you’ll get flaky buttery croissant layers.
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 42 mins
Rest & Chill Time: 16 hrs
Yields: 12 large rolls
5 from 2 votes

Ingredients

Butter block

  • 113g or ½ cup g butter softened slightly

Dough

  • 240g or 1 cup milk
  • 40g or ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • 7g or 1 packet instant yeast
  • 60g or ¼ cup warm water
  • 500g or 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 105g or ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 60g or ¼ cup canola or flavorless oil
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt

Filling

  • 113g or ½ cup butter
  • 210g or 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Glaze

  • 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla paste or extract
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk

Method

  • In a pot, whisk together the ⅓ cup flour and the milk. Let cook until thickened, stirring as needed. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the yeast and warm water, sprinkle a pinch of sugar over it and stir. Leave it until it foams, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the flour, and remaining dough ingredients to the bowl then add the flour paste. Knead on medium for about 5-7 minutes until the dough comes together in a sticky ball. Set in an oiled bowl and cover to rise for about 2 hours (until doubled in size).

Meanwhile make the butter block:

  • Spread the butter into a thin layer between two sheets of parchment paper, do your best to get it to be about 9x12”. Set it in the fridge to chill for at least 20 minutes before you start folding.

First fold:

  • On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 13x18”. Place the butter about half an inch from one side of the dough. It might take some work to get it off the parchment, do your best. Use your fingers to smear it into an even layer.
  • Fold the dough in half, like you’re closing a book.
  • Use your fingers to press the edges so the butter stays sealed.
  • Now fold it like a letter, bring the bottom third up and over the middle.
  • Then the top over the middle as well.
  • Now fold the dough over itself like you’re closing a book again. Wrap in plastic wrap and set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to rest.

Second fold:

  • Roll out the dough again into a large rectangle, as thin as you can get it (aim for another 13x18 but it probably won’t go that far).
  • Fold it over from one of the shorter sides over the middle (like a letter but vertical).
  • Fold the other side over the middle.
  • Fold the bottom up so you have more of a square.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap and set in the fridge for about 45 minutes.

Filling & Shaping

  • Melt or brown the butter, then combine with the sugar and cinnamon.
  • Try rolling out the dough into a large rectangle again, if it is very tough and resists cover it with a tea towel and let it rest on the counter for 10-15 minutes. You can also try stretching it with your hands & knuckles like a pizza dough.
  • Grease a 9x13 cake pan (I like to use the back of the butter wrapper).
  • Spread the filling over the dough and roll it up into a log.
  • Use unwaxed dental floss to slice the dough into about 1” rounds. Place each round into the pan, leaving an inch between them.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for 12 hours.
  • In the morning, take the pan out of the fridge and leave it on the counter for about 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the rolls for about 40 minutes, until dark and golden.

To glaze

  • Whisk all the ingredients together then spoon and spread over the rolls.

Notes

Note: If you would like crispy layers all around and all the way through (not just on top and bottom) bake these on a cookie sheet and give them more room to spread. They will likely bake quicker, check them at 25 minutes. 

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  1. You’ll want to try out this recipe, it’s next level. I just made them for coffee hour and they were a smash hit. I think next time I might try grating frozen butter to make the butter layer, because it stuck horribly to my parchment when I went to use it and was just not an ideal way to do it for me. I also went for the spaced out approach, for extra crispy goodness, and baked them for about 35 minutes, so judging from the other comments the spacing doesn’t seem to affect the baking time. The filling melted out from the spiral a good deal, that might be my fault as I added some extra molasses. However, it caramelized onto the bottom so that might be a feature more than a bug, because it tastes amazing and gives the bottom an incredible appearance. These are so delicious and the golden flake is so beautiful I don’t think they need glaze at all, especially if you’re washing it down with a nice coffee. The contrast between crisp outside and fluffy, flakey inside is just perfection.

    Thank you Sam! Can’t wait to make these again.

  2. 5 stars
    Omg. These are phenomenal. I don’t know if I’ll ever make standard cinnamon rolls again! I followed the recipe to a T. The only difference was my rolls took about 35 minutes at 350 but all ovens vary. These are flakey perfection with tons of layers and just enough sweetness and they reheat beautifully in the oven for that just-baked texture and taste. Thanks for a great recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    These are so good, and really simpler to make than they look! The filling becomes a lovely texture when baked, and I think I might just prefer laminated dough in cinnamon rolls versus the convention. I did have a hard time rolling out the dough as thin, so I gave it some extra rest time before filling/rolling/cutting.