Cinnamon Roll Donuts

Cinnamon Rolls or Donuts? Now you don’t have to pick! These donuts are a twist (HA!) on the traditionally breakfast cinnamon roll.

Let’s talk about food hybrids and how amazing they can be.

Cronuts? Amazing. Brookies? Pure genius. And now, donuts and cinnamon rolls got together and made tasty, tender little sweet and spicy little pastry babies.

Ew. Sorry.

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But don’t let my poor analogy skills frighten you away. Last weekend, I mentioned on Instagram that we’ve been dealing with the stomach flu, fevers, and the chicken pox (no idea where that came from), so I promise I could be talking about much worse things, you know? But thankfully, that all seems to be behind us (I’m praying hard on that one.).

Instead, let’s talk about these Cinnamon Roll Donuts as just a pastry. They really are the most amazing donut, and I think I can safely say that they’re pretty much at the top of my list for any I’ve ever made. And that’s saying something, because I’ve made a few. But there’s something about these that makes me really love them—maybe it’s the uniqueness of the twist, or the hint of spice from cinnamon. Or maybe it’s just that they’re pretty huge, and I was swooning from the sugar rush. We’ll never know.

All I know is that you should probably make them, and very, very soon.

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Baker’s (and Frier’s) Notes:

  • Keep your frying oil between 350 and 375. If it gets much cooler, they will cook slowly and absorb a lot of oil. If it gets hotter, the donuts will cook on the outside very quickly and be doughy on the inside.

  • Don’t be afraid to twist the donuts fairly tightly, as they will unwind a bit between rising and frying. Also, they’re still delicious, even if not as twistly

  • I beg, beseech, and implore you to be very careful when frying. Oil burns are no joke.

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Cinnamon Roll Donuts

Recipe by Rebecca Neidhart
Yields 9 donut twists
Active Time: about an hour || Rising Time: 2-3 hours.

For the Glaze

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

For the Drizzle

  • 2 Tbsp. milk

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Prepare the yeast donuts according to the directions. Once the dough has completed it’s first rise, roll it out on a floured surface until it is in a rectangle 12”x18,” stretching it gently as you roll to make it have straight sides and fairly square corners. The dough will be soft, so be sure to flour your bench and rolling pin as needed to prevent sticking.

After the dough has been rolled out, allow it to sit for about 5 minutes so that the gluten can relax. Use a pastry brush to spread the 3 Tbsp. of melted butter over the whole surface. Stir together the white sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle it in an even layer over the entire surface.

Using a bench knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 9 rectangles (3x3) that are 4” tall and 6” wide. Roll each rectangle into a swirl along the long side, pinching the dough to seal it when you’ve reached the edge. You should end up with nine 6” long tubes of dough. Take each one and roll it along a surface, pressing down gently with flat hands to lengthen it to about 12 inches. Place one index finger on the side of the dough roll at the mid point and twist both ends around it. Make sure to maintain a gentle tension on the twist with the stationary index finger, and twist fairly tightly. It will loosen up and possibly untwist a little as the donut fries.

Once all of the donuts are shaped, set them on a lined baking sheet and cover gently with plastic wrap. Allow them to rise in a warm area for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until the dough has softened and gotten puffy.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed pan, heat at least 2" of oil to 350°.  Carefully drop 1 or 2 donuts in and fry for about 2 minutes on each side, or until each side is golden brown.  Remove from the oil to a cooling rack and repeat with the rest of the donuts. Monitor the oil to keep the temperature around 350°.

For the glaze: Combine the milk and vanilla in a small saucepan and heat over low until warm.  Sift the powdered sugar into the pan, then whisk until smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat, then dip both sides of the donuts in and allow it to set for about five minutes.

For the Drizzle: Repeat the method for the glaze, but with the different proportions. Immediately pour or spoon the drizzle over the donuts.

These are best served immediately, but will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days.