Maple syrup cinnamon rolls

Baking cinnamon rolls is the perfect weekend morning activity. These indulgent soft rolls are made sweet with maple syrup substituting for regular sugar.

The Kitchen Paper
Soft cinnamon rolls with maple syrup replacing regular syrup for the dough and infused into the glaze.

I’m having a serious maple moment. As in, I frequently find myself thinking “What would this be like with maple syrup on it?” or “what would this taste like if I swapped ___ for maple syrup?” or “hey, nobody is here to judge me, I’m gonna drink that maple syrup straight from the bottle!” For real. I’m sure I’ve known this forever, but it’s really hitting home right now. It takes a lot of restraint to not glug down the entire jug (plus, that’s an expensive habit!). I literally poured maple syrup on my roasted veggies for dinner the other day: Please don’t judge me.

A few weeks ago, right before I went to Cindy’s to make the molasses scones, I thought “I must make cinnamon rolls with MAPLE!” So I did. I know this is nothing revolutionary, but I was thrilled! I realized, about halfway through baking them, that other people probably use maple extract or something to give a super mapley flavor — I was not that person. I just swapped out maple syrup for the sugar in the dough (hellooo sticky goodness!), and for the liquid in the glaze.

As we enter fall, I’m beginning to pawn more food off on my friends. I can’t eat all these cinnamon rolls! I just can’t. I can’t eat cookies all by myself! So I give them away. The case for roommates is seriously looking better and better, otherwise I’m gonna drastically change in size over the winter. 

Make these this weekend! These are the kind of lazy fall Saturday project I live for. Wake up, make coffee, make dough, read, chat, lounge: CINNAMON ROLL.

Maple syrup cinnamon rolls
Serves 12

For the dough:
3/4 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2-1/4 tsp yeast
3-1/2 cups (plus more) flour, divided
1/2 cup maple syrup (high quality, please!)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
butter for pans

For the filling:
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

For the glaze:
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Heat the milk and butter together until the butter has fully melted. Let cool to 115 degrees F., then sprinkle the yeast on top and let proof for 5 minutes.

2. When the yeast has proofed, pour the mixture into your mixing bowl and add 1 cup of flour, plus the maple syrup and egg.
Mix for a few minutes, until homogeneous, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the salt and 2 more cups of flour, and continue mixing with a dough hook, adding more flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl.

3. After a few minutes, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand until very smooth. The dough will be quite sticky, so you'll need to add more flour — just try to add as little as possible, while still getting the dough worked to a smooth ball.

4. When the dough is smooth, place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Let rise until doubled in size (about 2 hours).
Butter a 9- × 12-inch baking dish, or two 8- × 8-inch square pans.

5. When the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll out into a 11- x 18-inch rectangle. If it is pulling back too much, let it rest for 5 minutes before trying again.

6. Spread the 5 tablespoons of room temperature butter over the rectangle of dough, leaving 1/4 inch around the edges without butter. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon, and spread evenly over the buttered area, and gently press into the dough. Roll the dough tightly, from the longer side, into a log. Pinch the seam closed.

7. Mark the log at 1.5-inch intervals, and then cut the rolls. Place the rolls into your dish, evenly spaced with a little less than 1 inch between each other. Cover, and let rise for about 45 minutes.

8. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F., and when the rolls are ready, bake for 20 minutes. The tops should be just turning brown. Remove from the oven and, after 30 seconds, invert onto a rack. Let the rolls cool for 10 minutes inverted, then turn them back over to right-side-up.

9. To make the glaze, mix together the maple syrup and powdered sugar, adding more of either to reach your desired consistency. Pour over top of the rolls once they've cooled significantly!

Related post on The Kitchen Paper: Apple pecan cinnamon rolls

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