Ah! The smell of cinnamon!

“Great to come across your blog and find these amazing recipes. I’m always on the look out for middle Eastern recipes and I seem to have hit the jackpot with your blog. And the icing on the cake is the fab giveaways. Will definitely take part in it.” 

– Mehnaz’s Comment on Sfeeha post

I don’t need to open this post with a line about how fabulous the house smells when you bake anything with cinnamon! I don’t even need to say how delicious these Cinnamon Rolls are. I bet you can already smell and taste these indulgent succulent aromatic dough rolls, just as you look at the picture! But what I will tell you is, make more because they disappear in a second!! We all could not stop munching last night! I, my hubbs, the kids and our nanny have spent all night convincing ourselves this is the last one I will have! A thought that never materialised!! These are not the phyllo dough equivalent of cinnamon rolls. These are the cinnamon rolls. They are fluffy, moist, aromatic, sweet and packed full with cinnamon!

A few reminders before I jump to the recipe

  • Just like with any dough, the quantity of water is just a guide. You might have to use less, or more water depending the environmental condition of your location. You know: Too hot and/or humid = less water. Too dry = more water….etc. However that is just a minimal variation, nothing too major. Just to say do add or take out that 1/4 cup if needed.
  • When you add the yeast and sugar to the warm water, mix well and let stand for 5 minutes a reaction must happen, and bubbles must form. If that does not happen, then either the yeast is non-active or expired. In this case, discard buy a new one and start again. Otherwise your dough will not rise and therefore you won’t achieve the desired results.
  • The classic recipe instructs using only cinnamon and sugar as filling, but you can go for raisins as well, which I find to be a brilliant layer of flavour and texture for these rolls. I also like to add coarsely crushed pecans in the filling. The bite and flavour compliment the overall flavours. For variation you can add shredded coconut to some rolls, or more spices such as ginger, cloves and cardamom… But for the purist, I know you would want to stick to only cinnamon and brown sugar; That is why I have put down the classic recipe with no additions, and you can build on it adding flavours as you like.
  • I am using a cream cheese glaze here, but if you like the shiny look of the sugar glaze, then feel free to dip them in sugar glaze while they are still hot, then leave them on a wire rack to drip off excess and cool down.

I have also included for you the cinnabon cheat recipe video!! In case you wanted to give it a try and check if it turns out the same!


For Dough
  • 5 3/4 cups organic all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups water extra
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 100g butter, melted
For Filling
  • 500g brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Cinnamon
For Cream Cheese Glaze
  • 1 container condensed sweetened milk
  • 500g Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Start by making the dough. 30 minutes before you start, mix together 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 2 tsp yeast and 2 tsp sugar. Mix well and set aside for 30 minutes. In a short while a reaction must start, if not discard (read tip above).

In a large bowl, mix together the sifted flour, remaining sugar, and salt. Add the 1/3 cup of softened butter and rub together with the flour to incorporate until the mixture looks fluffy and the butter is fully incorporated.

Place the flour and butter mixture in the bowl of your stand mixer. Put on the dough hook attachment (for making bread, not the wire whisker). Add the yeast mixture and the vanilla and mix on low to medium speed to incorporate. Gradually, start adding the remaining water, mixing on medium speed together until all the ingredients are incorporated and a sticky dough starts to form. Add more water if needed.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead just until you a achieve a slightly sticky dough that is elastic. Do not over knead or overwork the dough or it will turn out tough and not fluffy. Sprinkle some flour in a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and sprinkle some more flour on top of the dough. Cover with Plastic wrap and leave to rise for 2 hours.

Once the dough doubles in size, you are ready to start rolling.

First make the filling

Sift 1/2 cup cinnamon over 500g of brown sugar and mix very well to combine. Set aside.


Melt 100g butter and keep close to you, ready for use.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with baking paper and set aside.

Remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface. Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, knead the dough slightly to prepare for rolling. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle. Brush the tops of the rolled out dough with melted butter. Sprinkle liberally with the cinnamon and sugar filling.

Start rolling the dough from the wide side up towards the opposite end. Simply roll up tightly into a large tube shape. Using a dough cutter or a sharp knife, cut the tube into equally sized pieces. Make sure the pieces are the same size. Different size pieces will bake differently. If you do end up with sizes that are very different, then use different sheets for each size.

Take each cut piece and place it vertically on your palm. Press with the other palm to achieve a short round shape. Place the shaped rolls on the lined baking sheet. Keep 1 inch apart to allow the rolls to expand in the oven.  


Repeat the rolling out, filling, rolling, cutting and shaping until all quantity is finished.

Brush the rolls with egg wash (darker browning result), or milk (lighter browning result) and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes for the large ones and 18-20 minutes for the small ones. The bottoms must be firm, and golden, not browned.

Make the Cream Cheese and/ or sugar glaze

Place the condensed milk, cream cheese and vanilla in a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on low-medium speed until all are well incorporated. You can add coarsely chopped pecans to this glaze or keep it plain. Set aside.

Once the cinnamon rolls are done baking, remove from the oven and place the rolls on a wire rack to cool.

Once the rolls are cooled down, drizzle with the cream cheese glaze. Sprinkle with chopped pecans if desired. You can also melt some chocolate and drizzle on top of the cream cheese glaze. Leave to cool completely before you store in an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days.


Thank you for dropping by, hope you liked today’s recipe and that you will come back again tomorrow for more. 

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