My Instagram feed has been getting all up in my face with cinnamon roll FOMO. Those smug swirly swirls and obscene swathes of cream cheese frosting…I couldn’t hold out any longer. I’m weak. So weak.
And thus, I give to you my French Toast Style Cinnamon Rolls, aka the EASIEST overnight cinnamon roll bake cheat that—
wait for it—requires zero shenanigans with dough. And just 15 minutes prep time.
And for which you’ll gladly fork-poke anyone who tries to take it from you. (True story.)
As Ina Garten once quipped, you don’t have to make everything from scratch—nobody wants to make puff pastry. And, similarly, I don’t want to make cinnamon roll dough. So this recipe requires two cans of cinnamon roll dough; also known as ‘cinnamon swirls dough’. Everything else is pure pimping. But trust me—you don’t want to skimp on the pimping process, because this is where the magic happens, baby.
Feel free to mix up the berries in the recipe—blueberries just happen to be my fave because of their flavour, and because they hold their shape better (especially if frozen) post-bake. The orange zest, however, is not open to creative substitution. It makes this cinnamon roll casserole-y thingy sing, and you’ll love me forever for it.
Do I have to refrigerate the cinnamon rolls overnight?
You don’t. 5-6 hours should do fine if you’re crunched for time (or just can’t delay gratification). Leaving overnight, however, will make your cinnamon rolls swell up exponentially with all the flavours. Also, I just like to wake up, put it all straight in the oven, and feel like I’ve had to do nothing for it. 😬Print
The EASIEST overnight cinnamon roll bake cheat with All. The. Heavenly. Things. Stuffed with sweet apples and blueberries, soaked in orange and brown butter batter—and JUST 15 MINUTES prep time.
- 2 cans cinnamon rolls (I use these)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 heaped tsp cinnamon
- 1 ziplock bag
- 3 medium-sized sweet apples
- Juice of one lemon
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1/4 cup browned salted butter* (see note at the end)
- 1/2 cup double cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3 eggs
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- Zest of one orange
- 1/2 cup (125g) cream cheese/ soft white cheese, optional** (see note at the end)
- 1/4 cup milk, optional** (see note at the end)
- Grease with butter a 7.5 x 9.75-inch (9 x 25 cm) rectangular or 9-inch (23cm) square casserole dish or brownie pan.
- Slice cinnamon roll dough into 12 equal portions.
- Using a fork, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Pour into a ziplock bag.
- Toss cinnamon roll slices into ziplock bag and give a few shakes until they’re fully coated with the cinnamon sugar.
- Remove coated slices from bag and arrange in the casserole dish. Set aside.
- Using a mandolin slicer or sharp knife, thinly slice the apples and soak slices in lemon juice as you go. Remove from juice and fit slices in between cinnamon rolls. Fill up remaining spaces with frozen blueberries; dot a few over the cinnamon rolls, if you like. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk well remaining cinnamon sugar from the ziplock bag, browned butter, double cream, milk, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest. Pour mixture over cinnamon rolls. Leave refrigerated overnight, or at least 5-6 hours.
- In the morning, preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F/ Gas Mark 4. Remove cinnamon rolls from refrigerator, and bake for 40-45 minutes. They should be puffy, golden and fragrant.
*To brown your butter, set in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring repeatedly. Once the butter becomes foamy, just starting to darken and you can smell that brown butter aroma, remove from heat. Let cool so it doesn’t cook the eggs when you make the batter!
**If you want to add frosting, follow instructions on cinnamon roll packaging for using the powdered frosting mix that comes with the cans. Whisk in the cream cheese, and add dashes of milk to thin out the frosting, depending on how thin or thick you want it.