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Cinnamon-Brioche Pinwheels

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef


for the dough:

  • 5 cups bread flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. instant active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs, room temperature and beaten
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup water, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

for filling:

  • 2 cups firmly-packed brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup very finely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • ½ cup butter, softened

for topping:

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup turbinado sugar (large granules of natural sugar)


  • Make the dough. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl. (You can also do this in a stand mixer using the dough hook, which will make it easier to mix the wet and dry ingredients together.) Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and butter until smooth.; gradually add the milk, water, and vanilla, whisking the wet ingredients together until evenly combined. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon (or mix in the stand mixer) until they come together to form a shaggy dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough, adding a bit of flour to prevent the dough from becoming sticky, until smooth and elastic about 10 minutes. Cover the dough lightl with a dishtowel and leave on the counter to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Make the filling. Sift together the brown sugar and cinnamon (use a hand-held flour sifter or gently push the ingredients through a small sieve to get rid of lumps). Stir in the nuts, if using.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Assemble the rolls. Divide the dough into four portions. Working with one portion at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it measures roughly 8’x12’. Lightly brush the surface of the dough with softened butter. Fold the dough into thirds (as you would a letter), then fold it into thirds again so that you have a small rectangle with uniform sides. Gently roll the dough back out into an 8’x12’ rectangle (it will be a bit slippery thanks to that layer of butter inside…but it will be worth the effort in the finished product). Again brush the surface of the dough with softened butter and dust the top with a fourth of the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Starting with the 12’ side, roll the dough tightly into a log. Using a bread knife, cut the log into 14 even slices (about ½ inch wide). Place the slices on a lightly greased baking sheet with an inch of space between them. Brush the surface of each with egg and sprinkle with a pinch of turbinado sugar. Bake until puffy and golden brown, 12-15 minutes. (While they bake, start rolling and preparing another section of dough.) Cool completely on a wire rack. Serve immediately or store, covered, for up to a day.


Note: I baked most of these immediately, but froze a few to bake for breakfast this past weekend. To freeze, make the recipe all the way through the step where you slice the rolled logs of dough into ½ inch slices. Place the slices on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze for at least an hour. Pop the frozen pinwheels off the parchment and freeze in a plastic bag until ready to bake. When you take them out of the freezer, place them on a lightly greased baking sheet and allow to come to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe to brush with egg, top with sugar, and bake in a 375 degree F. oven.