Christmas morning is a time for many things. Fuzzy pajamas, family snuggles, the sound of gift wrap being torn off new treasures, and, if you’re lucky, a fresh blanket of perfectly white snow outside your window. (We’re low on [snow] luck down here in Texas, but a girl can hope.) One thing Christmas morning is not for? Slaving in the kitchen. Enter easy Christmas morning cinnamon rolls.
Christmas morning is too magical a time to spend in front of a stove. Now, if you’re one of those domestic goddesses that can pull off a family-sized breakfast before 7 AM, respect. I, however, am not one of those people. In a house full of merrymakers, I tend to be one of the last ones out of bed (no offense, Santa), but one of the first ones to ask what’s for breakfast? These easy Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls are the answer.
Store-bought puff pastry sheets are what brings the magic to this recipe—they’re incredibly easy to work with and bake up insanely flakey and delicious. I can’t advocate for these guys enough. From morning buns to bite-sized appetizers, to baked brie, frozen puff pastry is my kitchen’s best-kept secret. For this recipe, we fill the pastry with butter (of course), sugar, fragrant orange zest, and warm winter spices. Roll them up, bake them until golden and toasty, and voilà, you’ve got an extra special breakfast pastry, worthy of the most special day of the year, in around 30 minutes. Enjoy!
For the rolls:
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (about 1 small orange)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ? teaspoon ground clove
- 1 box frozen puff pastry, thawed but still chilled
- 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, divided
For the cinnamon-sugar topping:
- ¼ cup granulated sugar + ½ teaspoon cinnamon, mixed well
- Preheat the oven to 450F and liberally grease a muffin tin. Set aside.
- To make the sugar mixture for the filling, combine the 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, zest and spices in a small bowl. Use your fingertips to massage the zest into the sugar to release the oil (and flavor!). Set aside.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar onto a clean countertop. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar and gently press with a rolling pin to ensure it’s flat and that the sugar starts to stick.
- Spread 2 tablespoons of butter over the surface of the puff pastry, then sprinkle with half of the sugar mixture, ensuring the entire sheet is covered. Roll again with a rolling pin to ensure the sugar sticks to the butter.
- Turn the puff pastry so the short side faces you, and then roll into a tight roll. Cut into 6 equal pieces and place each roll into the greased muffin tin. Repeat the process with the second sheet of puff pastry.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Once baked, place the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool for 5-10 minutes, then remove and let cool for another 5 minutes. Do not let the buns cool in the pan too long or the melted caramelized sugar will start to harden and they will stick.
- To finish the buns, dip the top of the buns in cinnamon sugar and serve warm.
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