Chai Spiced Cinnamon Rolls

Chai lovers rejoice! These cinnamon buns have all the flavor of Cinnabon plus a triple dose of chai.

August 12, 2020

Author:

Ashley Fungone

Chai Spiced Cinnamon Rolls

Ok, confession time… I hated cinnamon rolls growing up. Now before I go and get myself cancelled, let me explain. I don’t think I ever had a good cinnamon roll growing up. Certainly never a homemade one. It wasn’t until I discovered this overnight cinnamon roll recipe from A Cozy Kitchen that I really understood what a great, homemade cinnamon roll could be. I’ve had that recipe on repeat ever since and let me tell you, these are the most tender, gooey, perfectly cinnamon-y rolls I’ve ever had (and I’m pretty hard to please). 

This recipe is a little departure from the regular cinnamon rolls you’ve probably had before. They take all the amazing components from that OG cinnamon roll recipe plus some components from my favorite morning beverage, the chai latte. They have a triple (yup, that’s right!) dose of chai flavor: infused in the dough, in the filling, and in the frosting. Say hello to your new favorite breakfast treat!

 

Tips for making the perfect chai cinnamon rolls

If you’ve never made a yeasted roll like these before, don’t be scared. We’re gunna do this together.

  • Make sure your yeast is alive. If you’re using active dry yeast, make sure it’s still good. If it doesn’t “bloom” like it’s supposed to, you’ll run into trouble later.
  • Don’t skimp on the kneading. Building gluten takes time. Make sure you knead for as long as the directions state, or until your dough is truly elastic and smooth.
  • Allow your dough to rise, but don’t over do it. Making bread is a commitment. You need to give it time to rise is a slightly warm environment until almost double in size. I like to turn my oven light on and let things rise in there, because the light gives enough ambient warmth without being too hot for the dough to cook. Just be sure not to over proof your dough. Once it’s doubled up, you’re good to go. Any longer and you’re basically exhausting all the gluten too early. 
  • Confidence goes a long way. Most issues that come up when making bread seem to stem from being afraid of screwing things up. Don’t be scared of your dough! When rolling it out, forming it into that tight spiraled log, and cutting it into rolls, make confident and intentional moves. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just get in there and make that dough your bitch!
  • Don’t over bake. Nobody likes a dry cinnamon roll! Check your rolls a few minutes before the timer goes off. Once the edges are slightly golden and the middles feel soft but not raw, the rolls are done.
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Chai Spiced Cinnamon Rolls

  • Prep Time: 3 hrs
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 3 hr 20 min

Scale

Ingredients

The Dough

  • 1/4 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1 Tbsp loose leaf masala chai
  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 390 g all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp chai spice mix
  • 45 g granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten in a bowl
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 112 g cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into cubes


The Filling

  • 130 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp chai mix spice
  • 70 g dark brown sugar
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • Pinch kosher salt

The Chai Spice Mix

  • 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • ½ Tbsp ground cloves
  • ½ Tbsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

The Frosting  

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp chai spice mix

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the lukewarm milk and let steep with the masala chai for about 8 minutes. Strain the milk, removing the loose leaf tea, and heat again to about lukewarm. Mix in the active dry yeast and allow to stand and activate, about 8 minutes, until foamy.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, chai spice mix, and salt; set aside. To the bowl with the yeast mixture, add the beaten eggs and vanilla extract; then all at once, add the spiced flour mixture. Attach the dough hook to your mixer and mix on low until the dough starts to become cohesive. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the cubes of butter.
  3. Knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes until the dough looks completely smooth and elastic. Once the dough has finished kneading and isn’t sticky, remove from the hook and the bowl and form it into a ball.
  4. Transfer the ball of dough to a clean, lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise on your counter for two hours.
  5. In a medium bowl, add the butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, chai spice mix, and salt. Mash with a fork until the filling is completely smooth. Set aside.
  6. After the dough has risen for two hours and about doubled in size,  transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle that measures about 15“ x 22“.
  7. Add the filling to the dough and spread into a thin layer, using an offset or rubber spatula. Starting from the long side furthest from you, roll the dough towards you, horizontally, into a tight log.
  8. Trim the ends off, slice the dough into two equal sized logs, and then into equal sized rolls about 1 1/2 inches wide.
  9. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13 baking sheet (or anything about the same size, I used a skillet). Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for an additional 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes.
  11. In the bowl of a stand-up mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugars, vanilla paste, salt, chai spice mix, and heavy cream. Beat for about 20 seconds until fully combined.
  12. When the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, pour the frosting over the rolls while hot until fully covered. Serve warm

Notes

This recipe is adapted from A Cozy Kitchen’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls.

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