How to Make Bunny Cinnamon Rolls

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This spring, welcome the new season with bunny cinnamon rolls. Made with homemade dough and cream cheese icing, these cinnamon rolls are both darling and delicious. You can even garnish each bunny with sprinkles, decorating gel and fabric bows for a charming treat.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Cinnamon Rolls

Things You'll Need

  • 1 cup whole milk, lukewarm (about 110° F)

  • 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for kneading)

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 5 tablespoons + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (separated)

  • 3/4 cup dark or light brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 1

In a large bowl, combine the lukewarm milk, yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let it sit for 5 minutes or until the yeast becomes puffy. It should also smell "yeasty."

If the yeast doesn't puff up, it means that it's dead. Discard the mixture and repeat with another 1/4-ounce packet of yeast.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Tip

Make sure the milk is lukewarm, not hot. The heat will kill the yeast, and the dough won't rise. Similarly, if the milk is too cold, the dough won't rise.

Step 2

In a separate large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, salt and 1 cup of flour.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 3

Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Mix well to form a sticky dough.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 4

In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 5

Add the lightly beaten eggs and melted butter to the dough. Stir until mostly creamy.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 6

Add 1 cup flour and then mix until completely combined. Repeat with another cup of flour.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 7

Gradually add the last cup of flour, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Add just enough to form the mixture into a tacky dough. You might not use the last full cup of flour.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Tip

Using too much flour can make the finished cinnamon rolls dry. By adding the remaining flour 1 tablespoon at a time, you can avoid using too much.

Step 8

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth, about 8 minutes.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 9

Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Rotate the dough once or twice to grease each side. Cover with a clean, damp towel. Let it rise in a warm area for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 10

Gently punch down the dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle. Cut the dough into 2/3 and 1/3 sections, slicing from one long edge to the other.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 11

Combine the brown sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Mix well.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 12

Spread softened butter on the larger section of dough. Add the brown sugar mixture on top.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 13

Slice the larger section of dough into 10 strips and the smaller section into 5 strips.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 14

Roll the cinnamon sugar strips into tight, compact pinwheels. Secure the ends of the dough by dipping your finger into water and pinching the dough. Place them on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 15

Trim the edges of the smaller section. Cut across the strips in half widthwise to create 10 shorter strips.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 16

There are several ways to turn the strips into ears. You can form each strip into a "V" shape and pinch it to the top of each roll, or you can slice each strip in half lengthwise and form the two separate ears. Don't be afraid to experiment!

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Tip

Use a bit of water to attach the ears to each roll.

Step 17

Let the rolls rise for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Brush the rolls with melted butter and sprinkle leftover cinnamon sugar on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

While the rolls are baking, make the cream cheese icing.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Cream Cheese Icing

Things You'll Need

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Pinch of salt

  • 3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream (plus more as needed)

  • 2 cups powered sugar (plus more as needed)

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 1

In a large bowl, beat all the ingredients except the powdered sugar.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 2

Gradually add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the icing reaches your desired sweetness and consistency. You might need more or less than 2 cups of powdered sugar.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Step 3

Beat until smooth. If you prefer a thinner icing that can be drizzled, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez

Spread or drizzle the icing on the bunny cinnamon rolls. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, warm the rolls in the microwave.

Image Credit: Kirsten Nunez