These Cookies and Cream Cinnamon Rolls are a twist on the classic cinnamon roll but up-levelled to include black cocoa powder and chocolate cream-filled cookies!
I love pretty much anything pastry or bread-related and cinnamon rolls are definitely no exception! When I was a kid one of my favourite treats was visiting my Aunt Audrey and going to the market to get fresh cinnamon rolls from the bakery! Add a good cup of coffee to go with this morning’s treat and my morning couldn’t get better!
A great cinnamon roll needs to go fluffy, a little chewy, sweet with a gooey syrupy bottom and sweet icing on the top. The Oreo cinnamon rolls are exactly that and more! Not only do they possess all the wonderful cinnamon roll characteristics but they also include cocoa and cookies! Sweet Jesus, they are delish!
Cinnamon Roll Dough Ingredients
- Warm water – used to soften and activate the yeast. You will want it to be about as hot as the water in a warm bath or luke warm.
- Quick-rise instant yeast – a reliable yeast that doesn’t require a double rise.
- Sugar – needed to feed the yeast and sweeten the bread dough
- Whole milk – Adds some flavour and softens texture. Make sure the milk is “scalded” or warmed to between 110-120 F.
- Egg – provided structure and colour to the bread dough
- Shortening – Adds moisture to the bread along with producing a soft, chewy texture.
- Bread flour – A higher protein flour that helps in producing a greater amount of gluten in baked goods resuting in a tighter crumb that holds it’s shape well.
How To Make Cinnamun Bun Dough
This cinnamon dough can be used for any type of cinnamon bun you wish to make. You can also make it ahead of time and freeze. Just make sure that the dough has had a chance to rise once first. Let it cool completely then spray it with cooking spray and place in a resealable freezer bag and freeze for up to one month.
To make the dough first prepare the yeast by adding the lukewarm water and sugar to a small cup. Add one packet or 2 1/4 ts of quick-rise instant yeast and give it a quick stir. Then let it rest for about 10 minutes. During this time the yeast will have a chance to soften and will begin to bloom.
By bloom, I mean it will have a chance to awaken and eat some of the sugar. Sugar is food for yeast and after it is consumed the yeast releases gas and the mixture will appear to become foamy. I like to refer to this gas as yeast farts.
While the yeast is working its magic and waking up add the egg, melted shortening, warm milk and sugar to a large bowl. Give it a good whisk to combine the add the yeast mixture and mix again.
Place a large wire sieve over the top of the bowl and add the bread flour and salt. Using a spoon work the dry ingredients through the sieve into the wet ingredients below.
Using a sieve to blend the flour helps to break up any lumps and helps to more evenly the salt or spices throughout the flour in a recipe. I use this method for almost all of my baked goods.
And this method cuts down on the need to dirty an extra bowl to mix the dry and wet ingredients separately.
Use a wooden spoon to blend the wet and dry ingredients together. At this point, the dough will be very sticky. Once the dough is as blended as possible with the spoon give your hands a good wash and use them to press and knead the dough in the bowl. Do this until the dough is able to form on a large lump or ball so that you can transfer it to a floured surface and continue to knead.
I tried to take pics of how to knead but it is really something you need to see in action. Check out this video for how to knead bread by hand. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
Then give a bowl and the ball of dough a spray with some cooking spray. Cover it with loose plastic wrap or a tea towel and let it rise in a warm space for about an hour. The dough should double in size.
My air-fryer has a proofing setting so I place it inside the air-fryer and close the door so I don’t need to cover it.
Using a stand Mixer To Knead Bread
I know what you are thinking! Why the heck am I doing this all by hand when it can be done in a stand mixer. No hard work is required. Because I am cheap and don’t want to pay for a stand mixer when I can use a little elbow grease instead. And I also am not a fan of having appliances around or on my counter and am too lazy to get them from the basement storage.
My grandma taught me old school and to be honest I feel that sometimes baked goods turn out better when done by hand. Kneading dough or mixing by hand allows me to see and feel what is happening with the dough so that I rarely overmix. And because of that, I am known for always having the flakiest doughs, pie crusts and cookies amongst my family and friends.
If you do have a stand mixer and would prefer to use that you would follow the instructions above and then turn the stand mixer on with a dough hook attachment and mix until the dough forms a smooth ball.
Ingrdients need For the Filling
- Unsalted butter – Softened to room temperature to keep the cinnamon roll moist and help the filling stick to the dough.
- Brown sugar – A key ingredient in making that sugar sweet caramel like goo at the bottom of the pan.
- Cinnamon – A must have for any cinnamon roll.
- Black cocoa powder – Black cocoa powder is what is used to make Oreo Cookies so it goes without saying that it is an essential ingredient for an Oreo Cinnamon Bun.
- Oreo cookies – Crumbled finely and part of the decadent cookies and cream filling.
How to make the Oreo Cinnamon Bun Filling
Start by rolling the dough into an approximately 9″ X 14″ rectangle. Make sure it is as even as possible on the edges so that it will roll up nicely.
Butter the dough all over up to within a 1/4″ to the edge. Careful not to rip the dough. Using softened butter is key.
Then sprinkle the dough evenly with the cinnamon. Clearly, by this picture, I could have done a better job!
Then layer evenly with the brown sugar, black cocoa powder and crushed Oreo cookies.
Roll it up tightly length-wise sealing it on the bottom.
Using dental floss mark the roll with 8 even lines so you know where you need to cut it to make 8 cinnamon rolls. I like to mark it first so that I can see that each slice is about the same size. It is best to do this first before cutting because once they are cut there are no do-overs.
Dental floss is the perfect tool for cutting dough. It is thin, sharp and the dough doesn’t stick to it!
To do this slide the dental floss under the dough to where the first cut mark was laid out. Then lift it up over the edges and pull tight to slice through the dough. Continue to do this at each of the pre-determined slice points.
Grease a 9″ X 13″ pan and carefully transfer each roll to the pan with the cleanest side facing up.
Let the dough rise for another 10-15 minutes in a warm space while the oven preheats to 350º F. Then bake for about 25 minutes or until the rolls are puffed up and golden brown on top.
Oreo Cinnamon Roll Frosting Ingredients
- Powdered sugar – The main ingredient to give the frosting it’s sweetness and thick texture
- Whole milk – Adds a rich creamy flavour and moisture to liquify the sugar
- Vanilla – Adds flavour. It may make the icing look a little beige but you won’t notice it when the icing is spread over the cookies and cream cinnamon rolls.
- Unsalted butter – Softened to room temperature. Helps to create a thick, creamy texture and adds flavour.
- Oreo cookies – Rough chopped to sprinkle on top of each roll.
To make the icing for these Oreo Cinnamon Rolls add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.
Then spread 3/4 of the icing over the top of the warm cinnamon rolls, top each roll evenly with the chopped cookies. Then drizzle the remaining cinnamon roll frosting over top to hold the cookie pieces in place.
You can serve these warm or cold but warm in my opinion is best!
Storing and Freezing
These Cookies and Cream Cinnamon Rolls can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I recommend reheating them in the microwave before eating because then the dough softens up again and the icing is gooier.
You can freeze these before or after baking. To freeze before baking gives them a chance to rise again before freezing. I recommend freezing them in the baking dish you intend to use with a tight-fitting lid. Before baking let them thaw and come up to room temperature.
If freezing after they have been baked store them in a freezer container with a tight-fitting lid for up to 2 months. Reheat in the microwave.
Why do you need to use scalded milk?
The whey protein in milk prevents the dough from rising properly by weakening the gluten in the flour. Scalding the milk deactivates or “denatures” the protein in the milk allowing the dough to rise better creating a fluffier dough.
Can I use butter instead of shortening in cinnamon roll dough?
Yes, you can. I prefer to use shortening because I find it gives bread dough a better rise producing a fluffier and smoother texture than using butter. It is said that because shortening has a higher melting point it is able to better trap the air bubbles in the mixing and kneading process which produces this fluffier texture.
Can I use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour?
If you don’t have bread flour it isn’t the end of the world. Substitute bread flour 1:1 for all-purpose flour. Bread flour has only a slightly higher protein content which produces more gluten than all-purpose flour.
Because of the higher gluten production, bread flour tends to get a slightly higher rise than all-purpose flour and has a slightly chewier texture. But not enough of a difference to make or break this recipe.
So if you love the recipe, maybe pick up some bread flour next time and see how it compares. And if you are happy with how it turns out with all-purpose flour never mind and carry on!
More Bread Recipes To Try
- Gluten-Free Cornbread
- Easy Guiness Beer Bread
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
- Lemon Poppy Seed Bread
- One-Rise Cheddar Cheese Rolls
Cookies and Cream Cinnamon Roll Recipe
Cinnamon Roll Dough
- 1/2 cup water luke warm
- 1 tsp granulatd sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp quick-rise instant yeast one packet
- 1 cup whole milk scalded to 110-120 F
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 1/2 cup shortening melted
- 4 cups bread flour
- 1 tsp salt
Cookies and Cream Cinnamon Bun Filling
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp black cocao powder
- 10 Oreo cookies crushed
Oreo Cinnamon Roll Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 Oreo cookies rough chopped
Cinnamon Roll Dough
- Add 1/2 a cup of warm water and a tsp of sugar to a small bowl along with 1 packet or 2 1/4 tsp of quick-rise instant yeast. Give it a quick stir and let bloom for 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl add scalded milk (heat in microwave for 45 – 50 seconds), egg, egg yolk, remaining granulated sugar and melted shortening. Whisk to combine.
- Add in the activated "bloomed" yeast mixture and mix.
- Place a large sieve over the bowl and add in the bread flour and salt. Work the dry ingredients through the sieve into the wet ingredients below.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until combined. Then press the dough together with clean hands to form a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and need for about 4-5 minutes or just until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- Grease a large bowl with cooking spray and place the prepared dough in the bowl. Spray the top with cooking spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Let rest to proof in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough should gradually double in size.
Oreo Cinnamon Roll Filling
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Roll the dough that has risen out to a 9" X 14" rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Make sure the edges are as even as possible.
- Spread 1/3 cup of butter over the rolled-out dough staying within a 1/4" of the edges. Sprinkle the buttered dough with layers each of cinnamon, black cocoa powder and the crushed Oreo cookies.
- Tightly roll the dough lengthwise sealing at the bottom. Lightly measure and mark where you will cut the dough to form 8 rolls. Use dental floss to cut the dough by sliding the dental floss under the dough roll and pulling tightly. The floss should easily cut a clean slice.
- Place the rolls in a greased 9" X 11" deep-sided baking dish. Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes or until the rolls have risen and are golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
Oreo Cinnamon Bun Frosting
- In a medium-sized bowl add the powdered sugar, 1 tbsp of softened butter, vanilla, 3 tbsp cold whole milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
- Spread 3/4 of the frosting evenly over the warm Oreo Cinnamon Rolls and top with the chopped Oreo Cookies. Drizzle the remainig frosting over top to secure the chopped cookies.