Cinnamon Roll Cookies – A deliciously buttery, super soft cream cheese sugar cookie, swirled with mesmerizing cinnamon sugar and finished with a sweet vanilla glaze. These delectable cookies taste just like a cinnamon roll!
Soft Cake-Like Cinnamon Roll Cookies
I made many batches of these cookies until I finally perfected them and achieved that true cinnamon roll flavor and a similar soft texture to what you get from a real cinnamon roll. The secret was to add a whole brick of cream cheese into the cookie dough (rather than making a thick sticky frosting that only covers the pretty design of the cookies). It added great flavor and improved overall texture.
These super tender, melt-in-your-mouth cookies have a fluffy Lofthouse cookie style softness. And their flavor is light tangy, deeply cinnamony, richly buttery, and highlighted with vanilla.
The cookie dough itself isn’t very sweet but once you layer it with brown sugar and cinnamon and finish them with a sweet icing it has just the right level of sweetness you hope to get from a cookie.
Just plan ahead with these cookies. You’ll need some time for the dough to chill so it’s not overly sticky to work with and time to allow the icing to set. They’ll make a great weekend baking project.
And fortunate tasters will be smitten with their reminiscent cinnamon roll flavor!
Cinnamon Roll Cookie Recipe Ingredients
- All-purpose flour: Flour builds the structure of the cookie. Unbleached or bleached all-purpose flour works here.
- Baking powder and baking soda: These leavening agents help the cookies rise nice and puffy.
- Salt: This will balance the flavors in the cookie.
- Granulated sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar: Sugar is used in the dough, for rolling and for icing and each type adds different flavor and texture.
- Cinnamon: I recommend Saigon cinnamon for best flavor.
- Unsalted butter: Fat adds flavor and moisture. Is using salted butter simply omit salt in the recipe.
- Cream cheese: This add moisture, flavor and tenderizes the cookies. I don’t recommend using light cream cheese.
- Egg: Used to help bind ingredients in the cookie and add lift.
- Vanilla extract: An ingredient used to highlight the cookies. Real vanilla is best.
- Whole milk: This is used to thin the icing out. Half and half could also be used to make a rich icing.
How to Make Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Here’s a summary of the steps to making the dough (see below for full recipe).
- Mix dry ingredients then cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy.
- Blend in egg and vanilla.
- Mix in flour mixture.
- Divide dough into two portions and shape into squares. Chill until firm for rolling.
- Roll each portion into large rectangle on floured surface.
- Brush with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
- Snuggly roll into a log and then slice with dental floss.
- Bake until nearly set then let cool completely.
- Glaze with vanilla icing and let set.
Helpful Tips for the Best Cinnamon Roll Cookies
- Cream the fats (butter/cream cheese) and sugar until it’s light and fluffy to add more lift and fluffiness to the cookies.
- Don’t skip chilling the dough or it will be overly sticky and unmanageable to work with.
- Use a well floured surface to roll dough so it doesn’t stick.
- Use dental floss for slicing for cleaner cuts, and no sticking.
- Roll the cookie dough log up snuggly so cookies don’t have gaps and for cleaner appearance.
- Icing can be spread underneath cookies to leave their pretty swirl design uncovered atop. Or if drizzling it over the top just make it thinner to be a bit little more opaque.
How to Store the Cookies
- Let icing set completely before storing.
- Store cookies in an airtight container on parchment paper once iced.
- Store them in the fridge up to 5 days.
- Cookies can also be frozen up to 3 months. Ice after freezing and thawing for better results.
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Cinnamon Roll Cookies
- In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer cream together 1 cup softened butter, the cream cheese, and granulated sugar until combined. Increase to medium-high speed and beat for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl.
- Mix in egg until well combined then blend in vanilla extract. Scrape down bowl.
- Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Divide dough into two equal portions.
- Shape each portion into a square about 5-inches on each side (use a little flour if needed to reduce sticking). Cover with plastic wrap and chill until easier to manage, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Near the end of chilling preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 18 by 13-inch baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove one chilled dough from the fridge. Dust a clean works surface well with flour, place dough over flour and dust top of dough with flour. Roll out into a 12 by 10-inch rectangle while pinching cracked edges back together as you roll.
- In a mixing bowl using your fingertips mix together 1/3 cup brown sugar with 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon. Brush top of dough with 3 Tbsp of the melted butter, while leaving a 1/2-inch edge uncovered on one of the 12-inch long sides.
- Right away before butter re-solidifies evenly sprinkle with the cinnamon brown sugar mixture, spread sugar mixture out even while again leaving that 1/2-inch edge uncovered.
- Snuggly roll dough up starting on the opposite side to the uncovered edge (a 12-inch long side). If you find it's sticking a little in a few places use a bench scraper to ease it up from sticking and if there are any small cracks as you roll just pinch/smooth them back together.
- Seal the uncoated edge with a little water to keep the edge of the rolled log sealed together. Just use your fingertip or a pastry brush to brush a little water on the end before sealing shut.
- For clean cuts use dental floss to slice through dough, making each slice of dough just over 1/2-inch thick (you should get about 20 slices per roll). If you find the bottom isn't cutting all the way through with floss then just use a knife to finish cutting through.
- Transfer 12 slices to lined baking sheet, refrigerate remainder on parchment paper. Bake in preheated oven until nearly set, about 11 to 12 minutes. Let cool on pan 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Repeat process with remaining dough in fridge, brushing with butter, sprinkling with cinnamon sugar, rolling, slicing and baking. And also bake remaining slices that are refrigerated.
- For the icing in a mixing bowl whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract until well combined. Then depending on whether you want to drizzle icing over or spread over bottoms of cookies you may want to thicken or thin icing. To spread over bottoms of cookies you'll need to add about 1/3 cup more powdered sugar to get a consistency that is quite thick for spreading with an icing spatula.
- Either drizzle icing over cookies or using an icing spatula to spread a very thin layer over bottom side of the cookies. Return cookies to cooling rack or parchment paper, iced side facing up and allow it to set completely.
- *I recommend using Philedelphia cream cheese as it consistently seems to have a creamy texture that's not wet. A runny cream cheese wouldn't work well here as it would make a stickier dough.
- Store cookies in an airtight container (such as baking sheet with a lid) iced side facing up with parchment paper between layers.
- Store cookies in fridge and bring to room temperature before serving.