Cinnamon Roll Wreath
How did we get here? Less than 1 week until Thanksgiving and only 36 days until Christmas. Between the travel, the election, and overall daily business, Thanksgiving completely crept up on me. Are you feeling it too? I mean, realizing that we are deep into holiday season completely gives me the chills. Also kinda of whips me into shape because I haven’t even thought about Christmas yet… except for Christmas cookies. Of course we’ve all thought about Christmas cookies by now.
Like the cranberry cardamom muffins from earlier this week, hopefully today’s recipe can solve the “holiday breakfast” question– even if you’re super unprepared for everything else this holiday season. I shared this cinnamon roll wreath recipe on Red Star Yeast’s site earlier this week and am thrilled to have it here on Sally’s Baking Addiction too. You will DOMINATE breakfast with this one, promise.
This stunning brunch option is typically called a tea ring, but I think wreath sounds a little more festive– right?? I mean, we adorn our front doors with wreaths during the holiday season so why not decorate our breakfast tables too? In fact, make it this weekend. Some things in life are worth waiting for and this cinnamon roll wreath is not one of them.
I know it looks a little overwhelming, but the idea is straightforward– prepare a homemade dough, roll it up as you would cinnamon rolls, then cut into pieces. But– and here’s the trick– do not cut all the way through. You want the “wreath” to remain connected. Then, carefully, you’ll arrange the entire thing into a circle. If you’ve got an extra hand in the kitchen… great! A helping hand will definitely make it easier. However, it’s completely doable by yourself. Don’t worry, I have lots of pictures to show you the process.
I made this cinnamon roll wreath 3 times so I could make sure I get every step photographed for you. And also so I could test (1) different widths of the rolls and (2) different lengths for rolling the dough out. Thinner rolls (about 1 inch wide) made an overall more attractive ring. I found any larger than that just made the whole thing puff up too much.
Let’s get started. Step 1 is to start with a quality dough. I used this cinnamon roll dough, which gives us the option to begin the cinnamon roll wreath the night before if that’s easier on your already CRAZED holiday schedule. If you’d rather make it all in the morning, that’s fine too. Cinnamon roll wreaths aren’t picky like that. We’ll be using Red Star Yeast Platinum which gives the dough extra strength and makes for quicker rise times.
The dough will rise, you’ll punch it down, you’ll roll it out into a large rectangle just as you would if you’re making traditional cinnamon rolls. However, a suuuuuper big one this time– about 10×20 inches. Clear enough room on your counter!
Top the whole thing with lots of butter, sugar, and even more cinnamon. Are you asking for exercise clothes for Christmas? Because we all probably should.
Form the wreath around a heat-proof something. I simply used an oven safe ramekin. I learned this trick from The Kitchn, actually. The ramekin in the center makes it easier to shape and ensures those little rolls stay put.
Let it rise 1 more time for about 45 minutes or so. Remember when I mentioned this could be made overnight? This is when the entire shaped (and unbaked) wreath can go into your refrigerator and finished up the next morning. Otherwise, bake it after 45 minutes.
OHHHH MYYYYY GODDDDD (Janice voice).
Let’s talk toppings. A wreath always needs a little flair! There’s vanilla icing and cranberries, or you can choose a maple icing and raspberries. Or there’s nuts, raisins, cream cheese icing… no limits when it comes to wreaths of any kind.
The BEST part of all of this is that everyone around the wreath can begin tearing off pieces, making this a total serve-yourself kind of ordeal. Sort of like how you can pull apart monkey bread. That’s the whole fun of it! Or if you prefer a little more order at your morning table– just slice off pieces and serve.
These are the same ooey gooey cinnamon rolls we all know and love, simply served up in a completely different way. Small changes, big festive difference!
Cinnamon Roll Wreath
- 1 cup (240ml) whole milk
- 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Red Star Platinum yeast (2 standard size packets)
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 and 1/2 cups (558g) all-purpose flour, plus more for hands/work surface
- 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (120g) confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk
- Make the dough: Heat milk to about 95°F (35°C)-- use microwave or stovetop. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (OR you can use a handheld mixer OR no mixer, but a stand mixer is ideal). With a whisk, manually whisk in the sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes. If the yeast does not dissolve and foam, start over with fresh active yeast. On low speed, beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Next add the eggs, one at a time, and then the salt. The butter won't really be mixing into the mixture, so don't be alarmed if it stays in pieces. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 6 minutes longer. *If you do not have a stand-mixer with a hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands for 1 minute. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap, a paper towel, or aluminum foil and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours. Here's what I do: turn the oven on to 200°F (93°C). Once heated to that temperature, turn the oven off. Stick the covered dough inside the oven and allow it to rise in this warm environment.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly flour the parchment paper. Place the dough on top and, with floured hands, pat down to roughly form a 10x20-inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick.
- For the filling: Spread the softened butter all over the dough. In a small bowl, toss the cinnamon and sugar together until combined and then sprinkle evenly over the dough. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 20-inch long log. Cut into 20 1-inch rolls, only slicing ¾ of the way through so they are still connected at the bottom. Use kitchen shears if you need to.
- Shape the wreath: Turn one of the end cinnamon rolls on its side. Turn the next one so that it slightly overlaps the first. Repeat with each roll, forming into a circle and overlapping each. Again, kitchen shears help to cut any dough as you're shaping.
- Place a ramekin in the middle of the wreath. This will help it hold its shape.
- Cover the wreath loosely with plastic wrap and slide a baking sheet underneath the whole thing. Use a large one with no edges (like this one!), so it can slide under easily. Allow to rise again in a warm environment until puffy, about 45 minutes - 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Bake for about 25 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before topping with icing.
- Make the icing: Whisk all of the icing ingredients together in a medium bowl. Drizzle over wreath.
Overnight option: Prepare the rolls through step 6. Instead of allowing to rise in a warm environment in step 7, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow the wreath to rest for up to 14 hours before baking. When it’s time to bake the next day, allow the rolls to come to room temperature and rise for 1 hour on the counter, or until almost doubled in size. Then bake as directed.
Freezing instructions: Let the wreath cool completely on the parchment paper that you baked it on and transfer to a large Tupperware (along with the parchment). Then cover with a layer of aluminum foil and freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Transfer to a baking sheet and heat in a 350°F (177°C) oven until warmed throughout, about 20 minutes. Drizzle with icing and serve.
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