These cinnamon knots, filled with plenty of brown sugar-cinnamon butter are not only ridiculously tasty but beautiful and really, really fun to make! If you know how to braid, you can make these rolls! Gooey on the inside with crispy strips of dough on the outside, they are the perfect pastry!
We used the basic roll dough from the 1976 version of Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook, which really isn’t very new at all as it turns out, but it’s still just as good as it has always been. The only thing we changed was using butter in place of shortening. We just never cook with shortening in our house, loving the taste of butter so much more. But, making this dough made me realize that we should definitely pick up a newer version of this fantastic old standby, so we just ordered the 2018 version!
Yeast doughs can be a little scary at first if you haven’t made them, but if you follow the directions, you will be able to make this in a snap. We suggest picking up a candy thermometer so you know the temperature of the milk when you add it to the yeast and flour. If it’s not quite hot enough, it may not activate the yeast, but if it’s too hot, it can kill the yeast too. You want the milk to be in the 110-120 range, no cooler and no warmer. Aim for 115 F and you’ll be in great shape!
Then it’s just a matter of rolling out the dough into a large rectangle, spreading the brown sugar-cinnamon butter filling over the entire thing, folding the dough into thirds, cutting it and braiding it! Oh, and you do need to exercise a little patience allowing the dough to rise before creating your cinnamon knot masterpiece!
Cinnamon Roll Knots
- Candy thermometer
- Rolling Pin
- Electric beater or standing mixer
- Baking sheet with 1/2 to 1-inch sides so the filling does not spill over into your oven
- Parchment paper
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 package active dry yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg white for brushing on knots before baking them.
Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Butter Filling (If you really love the filling, then make 1.5 times the recipe for extra cinnamon-gooey knots!)
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 4 oz. butter, at room temp
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom optional, but we love this spice!
DIRECTIONS – Dough
- Mix 1 1/2 cups flour and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, heat milk, butter, sugar and salt until warm (110 to 115 F) and butter is melted, stirring constantly.
- Add milk mixture to dries along with the egg. Beat all at low speed for 30 seconds or so to moisten all dries. Then beat for 3 minutes at high speed.
- Stir the remaining flour into the dough by hand to form a soft dough.
- Dust your hands with a little flour and shape the dough into a ball.
- Place dough ball in a lightly greased or sprayed large bowl, turn dough once to grease the entire ball and then cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot in the kitchen (not in the oven) to rise until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
- Once the dough is doubled in size, punch down the dough to deflate slightly and let rest for 10 minutes.
Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Butter Filling
- Mix all together well to incorporate butter, sugar, and spices.
Making the Cinnamon Knots
- Line a baking sheet with 1-inch sides with parchment paper. (You want a tray with sides so that the brown sugar-cinnamon butter does not spill over into your oven!)
- Sprinkle a cutting board or pastry cloth with flour. Roll the dough out into a large 14 x 18-inch rectangle on a floured cutting board or pastry cloth.
Spread Filling Over Entire Dough Rectangle
- Spread cinnamon brown sugar butter evenly over the entire rectangle. See video.
Fold Dough into Overlapping Thirds
- Starting at the longer end, roll the dough into thirds, lapping one-third over the center third and the last third over that to make a three-layer dough.
Cut Each Dough Strip into Three Slices, leaving the top 1-inch uncut (See Video Below)
- Cutting across the narrow side of the folded dough, cut the dough into 8 strips, roughly 2-inches wide per strip.
- Starting at the end with the open fold, cut the dough strip into three strips, but DON’T cut through the top end of the dough. Leave about 3/4 to 1-inch un-cut at the top.
Braid Dough Pieces (See video below)
- Now, starting at the solid end, begin braiding the dough strips all the way to the bottom.
- Roll the dough up towards you and then keep rolling to the top of the braid to form a cinnamon knot.
Roll Braids into Knots (see video below)
- Place each knot on the prepared baking sheet and let rise for about 30 minutes to poof up a little bit more.
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly brush the tops of the knots with the beaten egg white.
- Sprinkle the tops of the knots with pearl sugar, raw sugar, or cinnamon sugar.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until rolls are just beginning to brown on top and the filling is beginning to bubble at the edges.
- These are amazing fresh out of the oven, but you can certainly make ahead of time and freeze until ready to reheat and serve