Yield: 8 coffee cinnamon rolls // Total Time: 2 hr. 45 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
Why you’ll love these coffee cinnamon rolls
Have your coffee, and eat it too! I love coffee which is why I am always trying to not only drink it, but incorporate it into my bakes as well. If you are also a fellow coffee lover, I think you will love these coffee cinnamon rolls, and here’s why:
1. They’re super light and fluffy. The dough is super light and fluffy thanks to it being super enriched with milk, butter, and egg.
2. They’re PACKED with coffee flavor. A combination of coffee grounds in the cinnamon sugar filling and a coffee glaze gives these the perfect amount of delicious coffee flavor.
3. They’re easy to make. A lot of people are put off by baking with yeast because it seems difficult. I assure you the most difficult part of yeast breads is waiting! In this blog post I have a lot of tips and tricks that (I hope) are helpful for breezing through this recipe.
I’ve partnered again with my all-time favorite coffee brand: papanicholas coffee for these coffee cinnamon rolls. I use their coffee beans every day and am so happy to be able to partner with them to spread the love of their coffee. In this recipe I used their cinnamon bun coffee grounds, which has flavor notes of cinnamon with a sweet, toasted finish. I definitely highly recommend trying some of their coffee, they have so many delicious flavors and are always the coffee I use in my recipes (and for my daily caffeine dose!). You can find their website by clicking here. Also, if you do end up purchasing their coffee be sure to use code FRESH20 for 20% off your coffee order!
Weigh your ingredients
- Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient and can easily throw off a recipe. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
Kneading the dough
- Kneading this dough will take a longer time than you are probably used to. This dough is enriched with eggs and butter which makes it take longer for the proper amount of gluten to develop. Kneading in the mixer can take me anywhere from 10-20 minutes. The dough is ready to be used when it passes the windowpane test and has pulled away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. If you are weighing your ingredients, just trust the process! If you are using cup measurements and the dough just is not coming together after 15 minutes, try adding in 1 tbsp. of flour at a time.
Room temperature ingredients
- It is important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. Take out the butter and egg at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe. To bring an egg to room temperature quickly, you can place it under hot water for 1 minute. To bring butter to room temperature quickly, slice it, place it on a plate, and microwave it in 5 second intervals!
Heating the milk
- Heating the milk is important for bringing the yeast to an optimal temperature for rising. The milk should be heated to ~100°F / 38°C but it does not have to be exact. As long as the milk is between 95°F – 110°F, it is good to be used. If the temperature exceeds 110°F, wait for it to cool down before using so that you do not kill the yeast!
Dough rising environment
- For the first rise, I recommend letting the dough rise in the fridge overnight simply because it’s much easier to work with when it’s cold, and then you don’t have to worry about doing everything in one day. For the second rise (and if you do choose to do both rises in one day) – you’re going to want to make sure your dough is in a warm environment for it to rise faster. If the room is cold, the dough will take longer to rise. I like to place my bowl of dough on top of my oven, preheat the oven to the lowest temperature it will go, and then turn the oven off and let it continue to rise there.
The windowpane test
- The windowpane test is (in my opinion) the best way to tell that your dough has been properly kneaded. Once the dough starts to pull away from the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl, it is most likely ready. However, just to be sure that it’s good to go I check if it passes the windowpane test. To do that, take some of the dough in your hands and start to slowly stretch it out. If it can get thin enough to where light passes through it before tearing, then it’s good to go! If not, keep kneading until it does!
Ingredients and substitutions
For the dough:
All purpose flour: for structure and chewiness.
Active dry yeast: for making the dough rise. You can easily substitute in instant yeast if that is what you have on hand. You will just skip the step of combining the warm milk, sugar, and yeast!
Salt: for balancing and bringing out the sweetness of the brioche. Salt also “controls” the yeast to make sure that it does not overly expand.
Light brown sugar: for sweetening the brioche and for helping the yeast with rising.
Egg: for binding and adding moisture.
Unsalted butter: for tenderizing the brioche and giving it a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth feel. I would not recommend substituting in salted butter since salt is important to controlling yeast growth and the amount of salt in salted butter is quite variable.
Whole milk: for tenderizing and hydrating the dough. Whole milk will provide the softest donuts because the extra fat helps tenderize the dough. You can however swap in 1%, 2% or your favorite non dairy milk alternative! Just note that the dough may be a little less soft and fluffy due to the varying fat content.
For the cinnamon coffee filling:
Unsalted butter & light brown sugar & cinnamon: your classic cinnamon roll fillings.
Coffee grounds: a little unconventional, but I promise these are delicious and perfectly safe to eat (think: chocolate covered espresso beans). I used papnicholas cinnamon bun coffee grounds for some extra cinnamon bun flavor goodness.
For the coffee glaze:
Powdered sugar: the base of the glaze.
Salt: a pinch of salt helps balance and bring out the sweetness and flavor of the glaze.
Freshly brewed coffee: to thin out the frosting, and yes I used papanicholas cinnamon bun coffee grounds for some extra flavor!
How to make coffee cinnamon rolls
Here are the basic steps to follow to make these buttermilk cinnamon rolls. You can find the complete recipe (which is printable!) at the end of this blog post.
1. Make the dough. Mix together the warm milk, sugar, and yeast and leave to rest until the mixture begins to foam. Then, combine all of the dough ingredients in a stand mixer and knead. You will know the dough is ready when it passes the windowpane test (more details earlier in this post!)
2. Let the dough rise. At this point, you could set the dough in the fridge to rise overnight or continue to do this in one day. If doing in one day, set the dough in a warm area and wait for it to double in size (~1 hour.)
3. Make the filling. Cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and coffee grounds.
4. Shape the rolls. Once the dough has finished rising (either overnight or same-day), punch it down to remove any excess air in it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and roll it out to a 12″ x 14″ (30 x 36 cm) rectangle. Roll up the rolls from the longer (14″) side, cut into 8 even slices and place in a buttered 9″ pie or cake pan,
5. Let the rolls rise. Lightly cover the pan with a towel, and let the rolls rise in a warm environment until doubled in size (~30-45 minutes).
6. Bake. Brush the tops of the rolls with heavy cream. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops of the rolls are golden brown and the internal temperature of the rolls has reached 190°F / 88°C.
7. Make the icing. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, salt, and freshly brewed coffee.
8. Serve and enjoy! Spread the icing over the warm rolls, then serve and enjoy!
Coffee cinnamon rolls Q & A
Can I double this recipe?
- Yes! I can’t emphasize using a kitchen scale enough for especially this recipe already, but if you are going to double or half the ingredients it is even more important that you weigh your ingredients. The dough is very hydrated and slight alterations can change the texture of the dough.
Is it okay to use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?
- Yes of course! You’ll do everything the same except you can just add all the ingredients to the bowl, knead, and the first rise of the dough just needs 10 minutes before you proceed with shaping the rolls.
Can I make the dough ahead of time?
- Yes, and I recommend it! Simply knead the dough together, cover it, and leave it to rise in the fridge overnight. When ready to make the rolls simply take it out of the fridge and then proceed with the recipe.
How should I store these rolls?
- The rolls can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If you don’t plan on eating all of the rolls be sure to only frost them as you want to eat them. When you want to eat a cinnamon roll, pop it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds then frost it and enjoy!
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is a more accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements. Here is my favorite kitchen scale, and here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!
A note on oven temperature.
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you. I use this one.
Coffee cinnamon rolls troubleshooting
My dough just isn’t coming together
- I can’t recommend the use of a kitchen scale enough, especially for this super hydrated dough. If you’ve been kneading and kneading and the dough still won’t come together, add 1 tbsp. of flour at a time and knead for 2 minutes until the dough comes together.
Tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
Did you make these coffee cinnamon rolls?
If you made these coffee cinnamon rolls I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!