This small batch single cinnamon roll uses minimal ingredients to make one epically tasty treat. It bakes up with a crisp crust, gooey pull-apart center, and is so good slathered with with a small batch cream cheese frosting.
1teaspoonheavy cream(you may need an additional 1 teaspoon)
¼teaspoonvanilla bean paste
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Whisk lukewarm melted butter, room temperature egg, lukewarm milk, and vanilla bean paste together in a large liquid measuring cup. Set aside.
Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir with a spatula until a shaggy dough forms. The liquid will be absorbed but the dough will still be quite dry and floury.
Turn the dough out onto a clean countertop and knead by hand for 3-5 minutes until the dough is combined. There shouldn't be any visible dry bits of flour and it will feel slightly sticky to the touch. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm spot (72°-75°F) for about an hour. The dough will not double in size, but will grow slightly and smooth out in texture. If your kitchen runs cool, you may choose to let it rise for another 30-60 minutes.
cinnamon sugar filling
While the dough rises, mix all the ingredients for the cinnamon sugar filling in a bowl until smooth. Cover and set aside room temperature.
Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and roll into a large rectangle about ⅛" thick. Use a bench scraper to square off the dough as you roll to keep a rectangular shape. It doesn't have to be perfect. Dust the counter lightly with flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking.
Arrange the dough rectangle so one of the long edges is facing you. Brush off any excess flour, then spread about ⅔ of the cinnamon sugar filling onto the surface of the dough. Leave about an inch along the top edge clear of filling.
Roll the dough into a log starting with one of the bottom corners closest to you. For a tighter roll with more layers, gently lift and stretch the dough slightly toward your body before each forward roll.
Gently flatten the log against the counter using your hands or a rolling pin. Be gentle but firm — you don't want to tear the layers of dough and filling inside it. You just want to flatten it into a wide strip.
Flip the dough over so the seam side is facing up. Spread the remaining cinnamon sugar filling along the top of the dough.
Starting from one end of the dough, roll the the strip up into a coil and tuck the open end underneath it. Place inside a well-greased 5" oven-safe baking dish. Cover and set aside to rise for 1 hour in a warm spot (or 8-12 hours in the fridge) until just slightly puffy.
During the last 30 minutes of rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake 35-40 minutes, until the internal temp at the center registers 190°F on an instant read thermometer. The top will be deeply browned and feel hard to the touch. If the top seems to be browning too quickly, after 15 minutes, tent the cinnamon roll with aluminum foil.
Remove from oven. Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then spread generously with frosting.
Small Batch Cinnamon Roll Frosting
Cream softened butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer on low-medium speed. Be patient, with such small quantities this can take a few minutes. You want the two to be fully combined, so you aren't seeing individual streaks of yellow butter and white cream cheese.
Add the powdered sugar in two batches, mixing on low-medium speed after each addition for at least 2 minutes. The mixture will be quite crumbly looking.
Add the vanilla bean paste and mix on medium speed until a very thick paste forms. Be patient here — it will happen, but it can take a few minutes.
Add the heavy cream and mix well until you have a smooth, thick consistency. Start with 1 teaspoon. Scrape down the bowl and mix again. If needed, you can add additional heavy cream ½ teaspoon at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
Spread frosting on the cinnamon bun while it's still warm. The heat will help loosen up the frosting so it spreads evenly.
Lukewarm milk and melted cooled butter: Ideally a temp of 95-100F. It should be lukewarm or warm, not hot.
If your kitchen is 70F or cooler, you may find you have trouble getting the dough to rise. Put it in your off oven with the oven light on to give it a warm spot to rise. If after an hour it still hasn't grown by 50-75% or more, let it sit for another hour with the oven light on.