Frugal Foodie Mama: French Vanilla Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

French Vanilla Chai Cinnamon Rolls

These French Vanilla Chai Cinnamon Rolls almost guarantee perfect homemade cinnamon rolls with my fail safe "secret" ingredient- cake mix!
These French Vanilla Chai Cinnamon Rolls almost guarantee perfect homemade cinnamon rolls with my fail safe "secret" ingredient- cake mix!

Lately I have been facing my culinary nemeses head on.  First it was fudge with my Mud Pie MoJoe Fudge.  And now, homemade cinnamon rolls with these delicious French Vanilla Chai Cinnamon Rolls.  

I can't tell you all how many times I have attempted to make homemade cinnamon rolls only to have them come out tough or chewy... or both.  The amount of time and effort I put into them just seemed silly, & I vowed to myself after my last cinnamon roll recipe flop that I would only be using the canned refrigerated cinnamon rolls from here on out. 
No more yeast based cinnamon rolls.  No more messing with punching down dough and letting it rise off and on for 2+ hours just so my family could grin and pretend that they liked my crappy from scratch cinnamon rolls.  ;)

Well, folks... I found a compromise with using cake mix! 
Yes, cake mix.  Some people poo-poo it, but lately it has become one of my baking best friends.  Cake mix can be so versatile- it isn't just for sheet cakes & cupcakes anymore! :)

Earlier this week, I shared with you all my recipe for French Vanilla Peppermint Bark Cookies using just half a box of french vanilla cake mix.  
Today I am sharing with you all what you can do with that other half of the cake mix. ;)
Of course, if you have a crowd to feed and would need 24 of these cinnamon rolls, you can use the entire box of cake mix for this recipe & just double all of the other ingredients below...
These French Vanilla Chai Cinnamon Rolls almost guarantee perfect homemade cinnamon rolls with my fail safe "secret" ingredient- cake mix!
French Vanilla Chai Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Ingredients (1 dozen cinnamon rolls)
    For the dough
    • 1 3/4 cups French Vanilla cake mix (about half the box of mix)
    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 package of active dry yeast
    • 1 1/4 cups warm water
    For the filling
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
    • 1/2 tsp ginger
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
    • 6 tbsp butter, softened
    For the glaze
    • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
    • 2 tbsp milk
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla
    Instructions
    In a small bowl, add the yeast to the warm water. Let sit until the yeast is dissolved.

    Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix, flour, and salt. Add in the yeast/water mixture and mix well.
    Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise for 1 hour.

    Punch down the dough and then cover and allow it to rise for another 30 minutes.

    Spray an 13x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

    In small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and the spices for the filling. Add in the butter and mix well. Set aside.
    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

    Once the dough has risen for the second time, turn out onto a well floured surface. Knead 5-7 times, and then roll out into a rectangle to about 1/4 inch thick.
    Spread the brown sugar/spiced butter evenly over the rectangle of dough.
    Starting with the bottom of the rectangle, roll the dough lengthwise into one long roll. Cut into 12 even slices.
    Place swirl side up in the prepared pan. Cover with the cloth and set on top of the warm stove.

    Allow to rise on the preheating stove for another 20-30 minutes.

    Once they have risen for the third time, bake for 15-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
    Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before topping with the glaze.

    To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth.
    Drizzle over the baked cinnamon rolls.
    Enjoy!

    **You can replace the spices in the filling with 3/4 tbsp of my DIY Chai Spice Mix.

    ** If you need these for a larger crowd, you could use the entire box of cake mix & double the ingredients listed above. Using the entire box will make 2 dozen cinnamon rolls.

    This recipe is adapted from THIS ONE from Six Sisters' Stuff.
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    These French Vanilla Chai Cinnamon Rolls almost guarantee perfect homemade cinnamon rolls with my fail safe "secret" ingredient- cake mix!
    I have to tell you all... I was super tickled with how perfect these cinnamon rolls turned out!
    I mean... PERFECT.
    Fluffy, soft, big, delicious.

    You still have to carve out a little time to let the dough rise, but using the cake mix acted as a fail safe for me.  It ensured that the rolls turned out flaky and soft.

    These French Vanilla Chai Cinnamon Rolls almost guarantee perfect homemade cinnamon rolls with my fail safe "secret" ingredient- cake mix!

    And guess what?  They were 10 times better than those canned cinnamon rolls- well worth the little bit of extra effort and time! 

    These cinnamon rolls would be the perfect way to start your Christmas morning, don't you think? ;)

    Have you tackled any of your culinary nemeses lately?  Did you finally deliciously overcome them?

    If you loved this recipe, you might also like my...
    (You can use 3/4 tbsp of this chai spice mix in the filling instead of the spices listed!)