Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

One of the best parts of growing up in Jersey for me was hanging out at the mall with my friends. My teenage metabolism allowed me to indulge in mall food on a weekly basis, this included Cinnabon. Granted I could never eat one on my own and always ended up sharing it with a few of my friends, it was the best part of my week with my girlfriends.

As usual,when I feel nostalgic, I started baking. I found this recipe on Joy the Baker, made a few tweaks and started baking. The rolls are super soft and airy and the lemon and walnuts really add a nice zest to the cinnamon roll which cuts the sweetness nicely. In addition with some chai masala spices ( obviously) this cinnamon roll sounds like the perfect breakfast!

Cinnamon Rolls

Cook Time: 4 hours

Yield: 20 rolls

Cinnamon Rolls


    • 2.5 tsp instant yeast
    • 1/2 cup bread flour
    • 2/3 cup whole milk, cold
    • 4 tsp honey
Final dough
    • 1 cup bread flour
    • 1.5 cup all-purpose flour
    • ¾ tsp salt
    • 6 tbsp. butter, cold
    • 1 tsp espresso powder
    • 2 tsp lemon zest
    • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
    • 2 eggs, room temperature
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
    • 1/4 tsp clove powder
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
    • 3 tbsp. butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp milk
  • 1/8 tsp orange zest
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped


  1. In a large bowl, mix the ingredients for the sponge together. Now sprinkle the all-purpose flour, bread flour, and salt on top so that all the starter is covered. Let this sit for 20 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the cinnamon sugar filling with a fork and set aside.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, cream butter (final dough) with a paddle attachment until it’s light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon zest, cinnamon, espresso, and brown sugar and cream for another 2 minutes on medium high. Now add eggs one at a time, mixing in between and scraping down the sides of the bowl. According to Joy the Baker, this will not mix well, it will look coagulated this is ok because there is more egg than butter.
  4. Now add your sponge mixture from Step 1 into the mixer with the butter and mix with the paddle attachment for 1 minute on medium high. Then swap out the paddle attachment with the dough hook and mix at low-speed for 5 minutes. Take the dough off the hook and put it in a greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, tucking in the sides so that no air can get to the dough. Let this rest for 1.5 hours.
  5. Take the dough and flatten the dough out into a rectangle. Fold it in half three times and put it back in the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let this rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Take the dough out and roll out into a 12×15 inch rectangle. Spread the cinnamon sugar filling on top. Now starting with the long side, tightly roll up the dough. Pinch the edges together when your done to seal the roll. Let this sit for 5 minutes and start pre-heating your oven at 375 F
  7. Slice the roll in 1 inch segments and place them in a greased 9×13 pan so that they are touching each other. Sprinkle chopped walnuts on top. Cover this with plastic wrap again and rest for 40 minutes or until the rolls double in size.
  8. Bake the rolls for 20 minutes until the edges are nice and golden brown. While the rolls are cooling, whisk together the milk, orange zest, powdered sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Drizzle this on top of the rolls and enjoy!


Adapted from Joy the Baker



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I'm Hetal! Welcome to my blog, Milk & Cardamom! I'm a past MasterChef (Season 6) contestant currently living in sunny San Francisco where I cook up a storm in my tiny kitchen for my hubby and baby!


  1. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen

    This has to be my secret crush! I haven’t bought one for years because once I start… But baking my own? That would be even better!

    1. prettypolymath

      I’m with you! Cinnabon is a my guilty go-to but these will blow your mind! Let me know how they come out!

  2. Bonnie Eng

    Love the addition of chai masala….so clever! 😉

  3. Duke Stewart

    Yum. Seriously, I miss having an oven. Thanks for making me miss home as well. I can enjoy the pictures at least!

  4. cups + spoonfuls

    Looks delicious! Nice photos too!

  5. Aimee

    I found this via Google after watching you make those fantastic looking cinnamon rolls on MasterChef! Are these the same, or did you make a few tweaks (other than having to make them in 45 minutes!)?

    1. prettypolymath

      Hey Aimee! The dough used on the show doesn’t use yeast bc there wouldn’t be enough time for it to proof. But I personally love yeasted cinnamon rolls because their much fluffier and lighter! Also the addition of orange zest is special to this recipe 🙂

  6. Ana Estephan

    Hello Hetal! Thank you for your lovely recipe for this cinnamon rolls. I tried so much to make them before using other recipes but never came good enough. Too plain or too hard. I wanted flavours i like orange and honey and walnuts. And I wanted melting soft dough. I was dreaming and then I found you. I’m happy to have your cinnamon rolls on my today’s morning table. So soft! From the first bite i feel orange and then comes cinnamon and swetness and walnuts. Really great. I feel you put your heart Hetal that’s why it’s so delicious!

    1. prettypolymath

      ahh i’m glad you enjoyed them! cinnamon rolls should always be fluffy! 🙂

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