Twist this recipe into heart-shaped cinnamon rolls!
Take your cinnamon roll recipe and shape it for Valentine’s Day! All it takes is a couple of extra steps and a dusting of festive, fun icing.
Heather Thomas shares her tried and true cinnamon roll recipe and the technique behind the darling heart shape. She also gives extra pointers for ingredients that will make your heart-shaped cinnamon rolls more moist and tender.
Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Rolls
- 2 cups (454g) warm water (about 115°F)
- 1/4 cup (28g) nonfat powdered milk
- 1/2 cup (43g) boxed potato flakes
- 1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (12g) instant yeast *
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons (9g) salt
- 1/4 cup (56g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (92g) butter flavored shortening
- 2 large eggs
- 5–6 cups (600-720g) bread flour
- ¼ cup salted butter, melted
- ¾ cups dark brown sugar
- 4 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 cups (227g) powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2–4 Tablespoons milk, or enough to yield a thick glaze (use 2%, whole or cream)
- 1–3 drops pink gel food coloring
- Your favorite sprinkles or small candies, for an extra sweet touch!
Prepare the dough
- In a large bowl, combine warm water, powdered milk, potato flakes, sugar, yeast and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk. Pour into the mixer bowl and secure the dough hook attachment to your mixer.
- Add the butter, butter flavored shortening and eggs. Add 3 cups of the bread flour. Mix for about 30 seconds until ingredients are incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula.
- Turn mixer on low and add 2 more cups of the bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time. After adding the 2 cups of flour, let dough continue to mix for about 1 minute. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. If dough is not mostly cleaning sides of the bowl, add more flour 1/4 cup at a time until it cleans the sides of the bowl. Stop the mixer and check the dough by gently pressing your finger into it. The dough should feel soft but not wet or sticky. *When in doubt, it’s always best to go lighter on the flour. You can always add more flour, but you can’t take flour away. Too much flour in your dough will give you dry, dense rolls.
- Knead on low speed for 5 minutes.
- Remove dough from mixer and place in a greased bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes.
Prepare the filling
- Melt 1/4 cup salted butter and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
It’s time to roll
- Divide dough into two 28-30-ounce portions. If you don’t have a scale, you can eyeball it. Round each portion to an oval shaped piece of dough by pulling and tucking it under. This will make it easier to roll out into a rectangle.
- Flour your work surface and roll dough out to a rectangular shape, about 10 inches by 18 inches.
- Spread butter over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle about 1/3 cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the butter.
- Place a piece of floss in the center of the dough, lengthwise, creating a visual guide.
- Start with one corner and along the 18-inch side, begin to roll the dough up. You can tug and pull as you go which will tighten the roll and make more swirls. Roll towards the center where the floss. Stop rolling when you get to the center. Then repeat with the other 18-inch side towards the center – meeting them both in middle.
- Pull the floss out and use it to cut 9, 2-inch cinnamon rolls. Simply wrap each end of the floss around your index fingers, slide it under the dough, bring each end of the floss up, cross and tug. It will create a clean cut without smashing your cinnamon rolls. There should be two side-by side swirls connected at the bottom.
- Place the rolls on a baking pan lined with parchment paper, about 2 inches apart. With lightly floured fingers, gently flatten the rolls while pinching the bottom into a point, forming a heart. Once all of your cinnamon rolls are shaped, cover them with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise until doubled in size, depending on how warm your kitchen is, it should take about 45 – 60 minutes.
- Bake in a fully preheated 350°F oven for 18-22 minutes or until edges are just golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes on the pan before transferring them to a wire rack. Let them cool completely before icing.
Make the Pink Icing
- In a medium bowl, sift the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of milk at a time and mix with wire whisk. Continue to add just enough milk to get it to a thick glaze. Tint with pink gel food coloring.
- Drizzle over cooled cinnamon rolls. Add sprinkles before the icing sets. It should set up within 10-15 minutes. Using a thick glaze like this will prevent the icing from getting absorbed by the rolls.
- Serve and enjoy!