Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon buns have been a constant, comforting presence in every stage of my life. Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls are the latest chapter.
Buttery, flakey biscuit dough wrapped around a gooey cinnamon sugar filling and topped with buttermilk glaze, these pinwheels of sweet breakfast bliss will brighten even the grayest of days. After the divisiveness I’ve encountered in my Facebook feed, on the news, and even in passing conversations this past week, I think we are all due for a moment of quiet reserve. And carbs. I’ll take mine in the form of Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls, pretty please.
My relationship with cinnamon buns (assuming one can have a relationship with a baked good, which I happen to believe is quite possible) began early. Growing up, my Grandma Dorothy made the most ethereal cinnamon buns from scratch. To this day, I will never bake or eat one without first thinking of her and the dozens of pans of fluffy homemade cinnamon rolls she baked every Christmas and at her grandchildren’s request.
When I wasn’t at Grandma’s, Pillsbury had my cinnamon roll needs covered. My mom always kept a can in the refrigerator, and from the age of eight, I knew how to pop it open and put the rolls in the oven. My sisters and I even had a strict rotation for who had the privilege of eating the coveted middle cinnamon roll.
Now, as an adult with a penchant for solving the world’s problems with a whisk in one hand and a bag of flour in the other, I’ve enjoyed creating different versions of cinnamon rolls, many of which you’ll find on this site, including Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls, Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls, and Yukon Gold Cinnamon Rolls. Although I may never be the classic cinnamon roll master that my Grandma Dorothy was, I am confident that she would have applauded my efforts.
Of course, she also applauded my efforts for tying my shoes, but truly these Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls are fabulous. Even the pickiest of bakers and eaters will approve. Because the Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls are made without yeast, they’re approachable for more novice cooks too.
In place of the classic yeast dough called for in most cinnamon roll recipes, Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls use a classic buttermilk biscuit dough, which is made by cutting butter into the dry ingredients, then adding buttermilk. The specs of butter expand in the oven, creating layer upon layer of fluffy, flakey dough. Since there isn’t any yeast in the recipe, you don’t need to wait for the cinnamon roll dough to rise or stress about accidentally killing the yeast.
Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls = less waiting and more butter. SOLD!
While I’ll always have a soft spot for classic cinnamon roll recipes (my first love), these Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls are making a serious pitch for my heart. They fuse the delightfully buttery, cloud-like texture of buttermilk biscuits with the iconic ooey-gooey factor of a Cinnabon.
The final flourish — a drizzle of buttermilk glaze — adds the perfect amount of sweetness. It’s enough to be satisfying, but not soooooooo much that you feel obligated to stop at just one, a very good (if dangerous) quality. It’s appropriate, as Grandma Dorothy always approved of second helpings. After your first bite of Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls, I suspect that you will too.
Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 2 cups all purpose flour — plus additional for dusting the counter
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour — or substitute all purpose flour—see recipe notes
- 4 teaspoons baking powder — I recommend aluminum free
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups cold low-fat buttermilk — plus 2-3 tablespoons
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter — melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar — light or dark
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans — divided
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons low fat buttermilk — or substitute regular milk
For the dough: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Cut the butter into small pieces, then place the pieces in the freezer while you prepare the dry ingredients.
In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups all purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Scatter the butter pieces over the top, then cut in the butter using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. The butter does not need to be uniform—some of the pieces may be the size of pebbles while others can be as large as your thumbnail. Pour 1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk over the top and gently mix with a rubber spatula until the mixture just begins to come together. If the dough seems overly dry, add 1 additional tablespoon of buttermilk. It should be moist, but not sticky.
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it flat. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle that is about 1/4-inch thick.
For the filling: Brush the surface of the dough with the 3 tablespoons melted butter. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Scatter the mixture evenly over the butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the chopped pecans on top.
Starting with the short (12-inch) side, roll the dough up tightly into a log, patting it as you go to help seal it. Trim 1/4-inch of dough off of each end so that they are even. With a very sharp knife, cut the log into 8 equal pieces. Arrange the rolls in the prepared baking dish, spacing them evenly (they will expand when baked). Bake until puffed, golden brown, and flakey, about 25 to 35 minutes.
While the rolls bake, prepare the glaze: in a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons buttermilk. If you desire a thinner glaze, add a little more buttermilk, until your desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over the warm rolls, then sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chopped pecans on top. Enjoy!
- *If using all purpose flour in place of the whole wheat flour, reduce buttermilk to 1 1/2 cups, adding 1 additional tablespoon if the dough seems too dry)
- Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls taste best the day they are made but will last at room temperature for up to 2 days. Rewarm gently in the microwave. Rolls can be frozen for up to 2 months.
- Make them ahead: The biscuit dough can be prepared through Step 3 up to 1 day in advance. Store it in the refrigerator, then when you are ready to bake, start at Step 4 (rolling the dough), then bake as directed.
- You could also form the rolls all the way up until they go in the oven and store them in the refrigerator in the baking pan for a few hours. Let the rolls stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes, then bake as directed.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 roll if all frosting is used) — Calories: 548, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 59mg, Sodium: 391mg, Carbohydrates: 72g, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 26g, Protein: 9g
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