Cinnamon Swirl Cream Biscuits

It’s nearly the weekend, hooray! All week I’ve been thinking about making something a little more indulgent to enjoy for breakfast the next few days. Pancakes are my usual weekend go-to but I found myself wanting to switch things up and inject a little variety. It’s been ages since I’ve made cinnamon rolls, and those immediately came to mind. Soft, gooey and sweet – pretty much my favorite “dessert parading as breakfast” ever. Unfortunately, I had neither the time nor the motivation to whip a batch up in the past day or two.

Cinnamon Swirl Cream Biscuits

The good news is, I found a pretty awesome alternative in these cinnamon swirl cream biscuits. From start to finish they took me just over 30 minutes to have on the table and there’s nothing tricky about the process. You’re basically making a biscuit, but instead of cutting butter into the dry ingredients, you use heavy cream. And while I typically stress about overworking the dough when I make biscuits, you’re actually instructed to knead the dough briefly in this recipe – they’re nearly foolproof :) A mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon comprises the filling and when the biscuits emerge from the oven they’re topped with a simple icing.

These definitely don’t have the same texture as a yeast roll so I won’t try to tell you they do. That said, they’re among the lightest, most tender biscuits I’ve ever had. Add the sweet filling and icing to the equation and Shane and I both found them a worthy competitor to the more time-consuming yeast version. These biscuits were wonderful warm from the oven, and frankly, I think the two of us could have made quick work of the whole batch. We exercised a little restraint though, and the following day I found they were nearly as good if you reheated them in the microwave briefly, so you could even make the biscuits a day in advance if you’re pressed for time.

Cinnamon Swirl Cream Biscuits
from Cook’s Illustrated, May/June 2000

{Note: the recipe calls for a 10-inch pie plate but I don’t have one and used a 9-inch without a problem.}

Dough
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Filling/Topping
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon egg white
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 425 F with a rack in the upper third.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together. Add 1 1/4 cups of the cream and stir with a wooden spoon until a rough dough comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl to your work surface, leaving behind any dry, floury bits that weren’t incorporated. Add the remaining 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time (you probably won’t need all of it), until those dry pieces are moistened. Turn out and add to the rest of the dough. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds, or until smooth.

Roll the dough into a 9×12 rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter. Stir the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl, then sprinkle evenly over the surface of the dough. Starting at one of the long sides, roll the dough into a cylinder (I wound up adding a little flour under the dough because it was sticking). Cut the cylinder into 8 equal pieces. Press down on one side of each piece to flatten slightly, then transfer to a 10-inch pie plate. Repeat with all pieces.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown. Meanwhile, whisk the egg white, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla together in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle the icing over the biscuits when they emerge from the oven. Serve warm (I thought they were still good on the second day, I just microwaved them for 10-15 seconds first).

Cinnamon Swirl Cream Biscuits