Like a Cinnabon in My Kitchen: Roll-Up Cookies with Cinnamon Roll Filling

As I've mentioned before, even though Sarah Kieffer's book 100 Cookies does in fact present 100 numbered recipes, some of the recipes include multiple variations. Recipe #71, "Roll-Up Cookies, Two Ways," is one such example -- it's a vanilla pinwheel cookie with either a chocolate filling or a cinnamon roll filling. I can't resist a good cinnamon roll, so I tried the cinnamon variation.

To me, the most interesting feature of the base cookie dough is that it includes some unrefined coconut oil. To make the dough, you mix softened butter, coconut oil, and sugar until light and fluffy; add egg and vanilla; and incorporate the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda). You're supposed to chill the dough briefly before patting it into a rectangle, but I was able to easily shape it into a rectangle immediately. But then I chilled the rectangle so that it would be easier to handle after I added the filling.

The cinnamon roll filling is a cooled mixture of melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and flour. I spread the filling over the chilled dough with an offset spatula, and it ended up being a very thin layer. Then I rolled up the dough tightly with the filling inside, wrapped the roll of dough in parchment, and left it in the fridge overnight. (My trick for helping rolls of dough remain round as they chill is to slide small metal cake rings around the entire length of the roll. I own a ton of small cake rings that work well for for this purpose.) The next day, all I had to do was slice and bake. The recipe includes instructions for a cream cheese-based glaze, but Kieffer notes that the glaze will soften the cookies, so I skipped it.
While the cookies were in the oven, they released the most amazing aroma. My kitchen smelled like a Cinnabon in a shopping mall, which I think is one of the most universally pleasing scents anywhere. The cookies ended up nice and round, although the cinnamon swirl was jagged and uneven. But the cookies in the cookbook photo have an equally imperfect swirl. The cookies had a light, crisp texture and a mild vanilla flavor; I could detect a whiff of coconut in the raw dough, but it wasn't evident in the final product. I didn't think the cookie itself was all that interesting, but the cinnamon filling was wonderful -- intensely spicy, with a markedly chewy texture, almost like caramel. The swirl carried the cookie, which I think would otherwise be forgettable.

This cookie reminded me a lot of Irvin Lin's Cinnamon Honey Bun Cookies, right down to the uneven, very cinnamon-y swirl. Both deliver a strong cinnamon experience!
Recipe: "Roll-Up Cookies (with Cinnamon Roll Filling)," from 100 Cookies by Sarah Kieffer. 

Previous Post: "The Glaze is a Haze: Cinnamon Honey Bun Cookies," April 13, 2017.


Thanks for the tip about using cookie rings!

I love Lin’s cookbook. Did you think his cookie base was better than Kiefer’s?

Good idea to try the bake without the glaze. I think crispy would be my preference.

It was a while ago that I made the cinnamon honey bun cookies, but I don't recall having any reservations about them -- while I was definitely left underwhelmed with the base for Kieffer's cookie. I do recall Lin's dough being very soft and sticky and difficult to handle -- I think that chilling it (using the method in Kieffer's recipe) would really help.
I really like Irwin Lin’s cookbook. I wish it had gotten more buzz to perhaps make future cookbooks possible. I had not tried his version of this recipe. Now that I have your chilling top and flavor vote, I will have to put it on my bake list for October.

I love how you give honest and thorough reviews of recipes. I always forward to your posts!

Thanks for sharing your wealth of baking experience.