For day 8 of my “12 Days of Christmas Recipes” we are making banana nut cinnamon rolls! These are the ideal Christmas / Christmas Eve. They are the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever made, and you want to know the secret? Brown butter in the filling and the icing.
You read that right. Brown butter in the filling, topped with a brown butter cream cheese icing. It requires minimal extra work and really takes these cinnamon rolls to the next level.
This recipe is for banana nut cinnamon rolls, so along with brown butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, we are adding thin slices of banana and some walnut chunks in the filling of these rolls! It’s really a delightful combo. But, if you are not a banana fan, or not a nut fan, you can leave either or both out! Leave both out and you have the best ‘normal’ cinnamon rolls ever.
what ingredients do i need for these cinnamon rolls?
- instant yeast
brown butter banana nut filling:
- brown sugar
brown butter cream cheese icing:
- cream cheese
- powdered sugar
how to make these overnight
The recipe below has instructions for how to make these cinnamon rolls all in one day. The dough is made, then rises, then is rolled out and filled, then rises again, then bakes! But I get that sometimes it isn’t convenient to make these all in one day. Especially if you’re trying to have these for an early breakfast! Luckily, there are a couple ways to break up the process into two days.
The first option is to make the dough the day before, then transfer it straight to the fridge. It will sit in the fridge overnight, then the next morning you’ll roll out the dough, add the fillings and cut into rolls, let the dough rise, then bake. So with this method, on the day of you avoid mixing up the dough and the first rise.
If you want even less to do on the day of, this second method will be even better. The day before, make the dough and let it rise. Roll out the dough, fill it, and cut it into rolls. Transfer the rolls to a baking dish, then transfer them to the fridge. They will stay in the fridge overnight, then the next morning take them out of the fridge, leave them on the counter for 30-60 minutes to warm up, then bake! This is definitely the best option if you want an easy, quick breakfast the day of! So choose whatever works best for you.
how to brown butter
Brown butter is a very important part of these cinnamon rolls! If you’ve never made brown butter before, it really isn’t that hard to do! To brown butter, add butter to a pan over medium heat. Stir continually as the butter melts. After a couple minutes, the butter will begin to bubble. Keep stirring. After a couple more minutes, the butter will begin to foam up. When this foaming subsides, you’ll be left with brown, nutty smelling butter! Take the pan off the heat and pour the brown butter into a bowl. For this recipe, we need to let the butter set up a bit, so transfer the bowl to the fridge or freezer to cool down. And that’s it! It takes a little over 5 minutes, but really takes the flavor of these cinnamon rolls to the next level!
other filling ideas
If you are not a fan of bananas and walnuts, here are some other things you could add to the filling to mix it up!
- smashed raspberries
- orange zest
- pumpkin pie spice
- nothing! if you just want a standard cinnamon roll, just don’t add any extra fillings!
other recipes from my 12 days of christmas recipes
- whipped feta and hot honey stuffed pears
- wreath cookies
- overnight wheat rolls
- vegan cranberry brown sugar cookies
- cranberry bbq ricotta meatballs
- chocolate peppermint oreo cookies
brown butter banana nut cinnamon rolls
- 1 cup warm milk between 105-110 degrees F
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 (2 1/4 tsp) packet instant yeast
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 6 tbsp melted butter
- 4 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
brown butter banana nut filling
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 2-3 bananas, thinly sliced optional
- 1/2 cup walnuts optional
brown butter frosting
- 1/4 cup butter
- 8 oz cream cheese at room temp
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Add warm milk, sugar, and instant yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer. Gently stir then let it sit for 5-10 minutes, until the yeast begins to grow.
- Add eggs, sugar, and melted butter to the bowl. Mix until everything is combined. Add flour and salt and mix again. Let the dough mix for 2 minutes. If the dough is very sticky, add 1 tbsp additions of flour until it is no longer really sticky. The dough should be very soft, but not very sticky.
- Let the dough mix for another 2-3 minutes, about 5 minutes total. Cover the bowl and put it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size. **if you want to split up this process overnight, see my paragraph above the recipe for overnight instructions.
- While the dough rises, prep the brown butter. Add 10 tbsp of butter (enough for the filling and icing) to a pan over medium heat. Continuously stir while the butter melts. After a couple minutes the butter will begin to bubble. Keep stirring. After a couple more minutes, the butter will foam up. When the foaming subsides, you'll be left with brown, nutty smelling butter! Take the pan off the heat and pour the brown butter into a bowl. We need the butter to cool down, so put cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for 30 min or freezer for 15 min.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. The dough should be soft and easy to work with. Shape it into a rectangle, then use a rolling pin to roll it out into a 12"x18" rectangle. The brown butter should be cooled, but spreadable. Add 6 tbsp of the brown butter on top of the rolled out dough. Spread the butter evenly across the dough, nearly to the edges. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and evenly spread it as well.
- If you are adding bananas and walnuts, add them now. Place the thin slices of banana about 1.5-2 inches apart, in about 6 rows. Sprinkle the walnut chunks evenly over the dough.
- Starting on the long end, roll up the dough. Roll it up tightly, but not so tight that you're stretching the dough. Using a ruler or measuring tape, make small notches in the rolled up dough, every 1.5 inches apart, so you'll have evenly sized rolls. Using a very sharp knife, or unscented dental floss, cut the dough along those notches. You should have 12 rolls.
- Transfer the rolls to a greased or lined 9×13" pan. Cover and let them rise for 30-60 minutes.
- When the rolls are almost done rising, preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown.
- While the rolls are baking, make the icing. Add the cream cheese and the remaining brown butter (4 tbsp) to a large bowl or stand mixer. Mix for 2 minutes, until completely combined and fluffier. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and mix another 2 minutes. The icing should be smooth and creamy.
- Once the rolls have cooled for 5-10 minutes, spread the icing on the warm rolls. Enjoy!
- If you have any leftover, keep them in a sealed container. They will stay good for 4-5 days.