Honestly, it’s all about the simple things in life.
And today that means pull-apart brioche cinnamon roll bread.
It’s every kids dream breakfast and secretly every adult’s favorite too. Just admit it. You will never outgrow a good cinnamon roll. Or cinnamon roll bread in today’s case.
This happens to me every year at about this time, I crave cinnamon rolls. I think it comes with the cold weather, snow and talk of Christmas – I love it. I think I will always be able to find a semi-newish way to make cinnamon rolls, but still keep them simple because in my opinion, cinnamon rolls need to be kept simple (and extra soft and doughy). I’m not even big on adding things like caramel and chocolate because that’s just not a cinnamon roll in my mind. It’s not what I grew up loving.
Side note, how many times do you think I will say cinnamon rolls in this post? I’m thinking a lot. Way too many to count, that is for sure.
What I did grow up loving were the cinnamon rolls from my very favorite dough boy. Yup, the Pillsbury dough boy was always a family favorite come the holiday season. Those rolls were breakfast pretty much every morning at our cabin in Ripley, New York in the week following Christmas. Nothing like starting the day off with a sugar buzz. My cousins, my brothers and I loved those cinnamon rolls (although, they where never as good if they got overcooked). Those were some awesome times. That area of New York gets a ton of snow and it was great to all be together creating memories that will last our lifetime.
Sooo, I have had this idea to make a brioche style cinnamon roll bread for forever now. I knew the bread would be amazing because well, brioche itself is simply perfect. It’s the softest, doughiest and fluffiest bread around and it’s freaking easy to make. I am now thinking that from here on out, all my cinnamon rolls will be made using brioche dough. It’s the perfect combo.
The bread is a cinch to make, and if you don’t have a mixer, it can easily be mixed by hand. It does need to rise for about an hour before your roll it out, but other than that it’s super quick to throw together the night before a big breakfast (like Thanksgiving or Christmas!). Once the bread is all assembled you just cover it and leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake. It couldn’t be easier or more perfect for holiday entertaining.
I kind of have little secret though. The dough is spiked with eggnog. I know some people either love or hate eggnog, but I am somewhere in the middle. I would never drink it straight up, but I have found that adding it to baked goods does magical things. No joke. You’d never know there was any eggnog in this bread, but you’d know there was something special about it. The nog just keeps the bread crazy moist while also adding a subtle holiday flavor. Trust me on this one, buy some eggnog and start swapping out the milk in your baked good recipes with nog. The results are so awesome.
And that’s my little, not so secret, secret about this bread.
I made this bread two ways, one in a loaf pan and one as more of a log on a baking sheet. Both turned out awesome, both are easy and both are pretty. It’s really just about what you personally prefer. The bread baked in the pan is a tad gooeyer because none of the filling leaks out while baking, but the bread baked on a baking sheet is probably a little more show stopping. Like I said, either one is so good.
AND you get to prep everything the night before and then just bake in the morning. Couldn’t be more perfect.
You don’t technically have to make this as a bread, I mean you could totally make regular cinnamon rolls, BUT the bread is so fun and the whole pull-apart thing means finger food, which means easy eatin’, easy serving.
And you can’t deny that the loaf is kind of pretty.
OH! And I made some sugared cranberries to serve alongside for a festive holiday look and some added sweetness. Loving the sugared cranberries.
Double OH! The frosting it’s just a simple cream cheese vanilla bean frosting, but I will not lie, it’s so good. And when generously drizzled all over the bread? ADDICTING.
Ok and lastly, I just have to say that this is one of those recipes that everyone loves. I had all the boys (including a few extras from the US Snowboard Team) in the kitchen for this recipe. Taking photos was kind of hard. They never get this excited about anything I make. My food is normally too colorful for the brothers, but not this – this they loved!
That says something.
Overnight Pull-Apart Brioche Cinnamon Roll Bread.
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 3 teaspoons yeast
- 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup warm eggnog or warm whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 eggs
- 12 tablespoons butter melted
- 3 1/2 - 4 cups all-purpose flour
- the seeds of half a vanilla bean optional
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- the seeds of half a vanilla bean optional
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk or cream to thin
- teaspoon the seeds of half a vanilla bean or 1 vanilla extract
Combine warm water, yeast and sugar in a large mixer bowl and mix on low speed until incorporated. Allow the mixture to sit about 3 minutes or until poofy.
Add the warm eggnog, salt, eggs and melted butter and mix until combined. Gradually mix in the flour until the dough comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Kneed into a smooth ball. Grease a large bowl and add the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit 1-2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
To make the filling. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla beans (if using) and salt to a bowl and mix well.
Lightly dust a surface with flour. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough dough and roll the dough into a rectangle (about 9x24 inches). Spread about 6 tablespoons of the butter (softened almost to a melted stage) evenly over the dough. Spread the brown sugar + cinnamon evenly over the butter and lightly push the brown sugar into the butter. Starting with the long edge closest to you, pull the edge up and over the filling and carefully roll the dough into a log, keeping it fairly tight as you go. When you reach the edge, pinch along the edge to seal.
Place the log seam side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With a pair of sharp kitchen scissors cut diagonal slices almost to the bottom of the log. Arrange the cut sections so that they lean to alternating sides. Use your hand to gently push the dough together to help compress the log better. Alternately, you can bake the bread in two 9x5x3 bread pans to make two bread loafs. Cut and shape the dough as directed and then use your hands to push the dough together to almost the size of you bread pan. The dough will zigzag slightly. Using the parchment paper, lift the dough up and into the bread pan. Immediately cover the dough and place in the fridge overnight. Do not let the dough sit at room temperature long or it will start to get very big.
The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the dough from the fridge while the oven preheats and brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake the bread log for 20-25 minutes (the bread in the loaf pan needs about 45-50 minutes) or until lightly browned on top, do not over bake.
While the bread is baking, whisk the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Add milk until your desired consistency is reached.
Serve the bread hot with a drizzle of frosting.
So soft. So doughy, SO GOOEY. Gimme.
Below is how you want to cut the dough: