Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls with Poppy Seeds and Blueberry Glaze
I’ve been writing this recipe for these fluffy cinnamon rolls the whole day. Pauses in between of course, mostly to fulfill those responsibilities of that role of mine called being a mom. But in the general sense, yes, it took me the whole day. That got me thinking about how much a labor of love is baking. Especially yeasted dough, don’t you think? They are easy once you get the rhythm of it, but you need to plan a bit ahead, think about what are you going to be doing and get organized.
Now, I don't know about you guys, but that gives me a super adrenaline rush. Every time I’m going to make them I start to build the expectation, in my case since the night before (because I would never wake up before 6am to make breakfast so I leave my dough rising in the fridge) of warm buns with that sweet cinnamon smell. They sure make everyone around here very very happy!
If you have never made cinnamon rolls from scratch you should start now. There’s so much joy in working with well-behaved dough, you are going to be mesmerized! And this dough did just that, it’s so wonderful.
My dough for previous cinnamon rolls was a brioche-based dough, which means it has a lot of eggs and egg yolks. For this time dough (see what I just did), I wanted a lighter and fluffier dough so I knew I would need to decrease the amount of eggs. In my research I came across this cinnamon rolls recipe from Tastes of Lizzy T and I immediately got it. She also confirmed in her post what I‘ve been reading about soaking with some heavy cream the top of the buns before baking to make them extra gooey. And the tip just works! I used coconut milk instead of heavy cream and it was so fantastic.
To give them a pretty color I used my technique of painting glazes using fruits. The recipe for the glaze here is pretty straightforward but you can always check my Glaze Guide to learn more about how to make glazes and get creative with them.
Now it’s time to plan your next cinnamon rolls batch and this recipe is perfect for just that. Make them and, after licking your sticky fingers from all that glaze, let me know how it went!!
1. I’ve always proofed my dough by placing it in the warmest place of my home, but this method can take more time than expected and the results could be pretty inconsistent. This time I wanted to experiment with the popular method of proofing the dough inside a warm oven and let me tell you, it’s a game changer. I’m not going back!!!
2. The perfect way to approach this method is by preheating your oven to the lowest setting or temperature. Heat it for a few minutes and then turn the oven off. Wait until the oven has cooled down a bit before putting inside any dough. A good test is to touch the rack. It should be hot but you should be still able to touch it.
3. This is a moist dough so it’s normal if it’s a bit tacky, just handle it as little as you can.
4. I loved the idea of the poppy seeds here because they are so delicate but still add a crunch to each bite. If you don't have them around you may use any chopped nuts instead or leave them out completely.
Fluffy Cinnamon Rolls with Poppy Seeds and Blueberry Glaze
Coconut milk, lukewarm – 1 cup + ¼ cup to soak the buns before baking
Instant yeast – 1 envelope
Eggs, at room temperature – 2 large
Butter, melted - ⅓ cup + 1 TBSP to grease the pan
Fine sea salt – 1 Tsp
Raw sugar – ½ cup
Unbleached AP flour – 4 ½ cups
Poppy Seeds Cinnamon Filling
Butter, very softened – 8 TBSP
Brown sugar – 1 cup
Poppy seeds – 2 TBSP
Ground cinnamon – 2 Tsp
Blueberry Cream Cheese Glaze
Blueberries (or a mix of blueberries and blackberries) - ⅓ cup
Lemon juice – 1 Tsp
Cream cheese, softened – 2 boxes
Powdered sugar, sifted – 2 cups
Makes 10 to 12 rolls
Total time - 1 hour, overnight chilling time and another hour the next morning Active time - 1 hour divided
Equipment - Stand mixer with hook attachment, deep baking pan
To make the dough: Preheat oven to the lowest temperature setting (see notes). Attach paddle to stand mixer.
Pour the lukewarm coconut milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it soak for 2 minutes.
Add the eggs, melted butter, salt and sugar. Dump in the flour and mix until the ingredients are roughly combined. Change the paddle attachment for the hook attachment and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes to allow the flour to soak the wet ingredients.
Turn the oven off to let it cool down a bit.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes. Using a rubber spatula transfer the dough to a large greased bowl (see notes). Cover the bowl with a plastic paper or kitchen towel.
After checking that your oven is just warm (see notes), place inside the bowl with the dough. Let the dough rise for about 25 minutes. In the meantime prepare the filling.
To make the filling: Mix all the ingredients well in a bowl and set aside.
Putting everything together: Grease the bottom of your pan with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle a good amount of flour over a clean flat surface or counter. Sprinkle some flour on your rolling pin too and dust the palm of your hands as well.
Take the dough out of the oven and turn it onto the floured surface. Stretch the dough from the center out until you form a rectangle of about 12” x 15”. Spread all the poppy seed cinnamon filling over the dough. Starting on the long edge, lift gently the dough and gently roll it until the end, pressing the seam onto the dough to kind of seal it with your fingers. Cut 1 ½” rolls and place them in the greased pan. Place them in the fridge to chill overnight. (Alternatively, repeat the oven process and put the rolls to rise inside it for 20 to 25 minutes, until doubled in size and then continue with the baking process.)
The next morning, preheat again your oven to the lowest temperature setting and then turn it off (see notes). Take the rolls out of the fridge and put them in the oven to rise until doubled in thickness, about an hour.
In the meantime, prepare blueberry cream cheese glaze. (Recipe follows)
When they are ready, take them out and preheat oven to 375°. Using a pastry brush get the top of the buns wet with remaining ¼ cup of coconut milk. Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and cooked through the center. If the top is burning too fast during the last 5 minutes, cover the pan with aluminum foil for the rest of the baking time.
Retire from oven and let them cool a few minutes before spreading glaze on top. Sprinkle more poppy seeds on top and decorate with more blueberries if desired.
To make the cream cheese glaze: Place blueberries and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Cook just until the fruit start to break. Retire from heat and blend in a Nutri-Bullet or small blender. Pass the mixture through a sieve.
Place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a medium bowl to use with a handheld electric mixer. Beat the cheese until creamy and fluffy. Add the sugar, about ½ cup at a time and mix. Add some of the blueberry liquid to give the glaze that pretty lilac color. Add a bit more if you want a saturated color or add some sugar to get a thicker consistency.
Spread over cooled down buns.