Cinnamon rolls are an American classic. It ranks right up there with banana bread as an iconic baked treat, so I wondered to myself, why not combine the two? A nice banana-infused dough wrapped around a spiced sweet filling full of bananas and walnuts and topped with a healthy drizzle of browned butter icing. Browned butter is butter that is cooked until the milk solids inside are toasty brown and smell perfectly nutty. Browned butter makes banana anything sing. It takes a little care to make it as it goes from richly perfect to burnt in a second. The trick is to watch the butter (it only takes about 3 minutes) and remove it from the heat once you smell a toasted nut aroma and the butter turns golden brown. If your butter is black than it’s gone to far. As a bonus, you can make these banana rolls in one mixing bowl if you decide to skip the browned butter glaze and go for a classic milk and powdered sugar glaze.
One-Bowl Banana Bread Cinnamon Rolls
For the rolls:
1 cup reduced fat milk
1/2 cup butter, divided
1 packet (or 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
large pinch salt
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting if needed
1 medium sized ripe banana, mashed about 1/2 cup plus 1 medium ripe banana
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
For the glaze:
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- Warm the milk and 3 tablespoons of the butter until the butter is melted and the milk is warm but not hot to the touch. You want this mixture to be 110°. If you don’t have a thermometer think of the temperature of a warm bath. Place this mixture into a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the milk mixture and allow to sit for 10 minutes until the yeast begins to bubble. Add a tablespoon of the sugar and the salt and stir the yeast mixture together.
- Add 1 cup of the flour and mix, using either a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment of your mixer. Add the mashed banana and continue to mix. Slowly add the remaining flour while mixing. The dough will be sticky. Swap to the dough hook attachment, or pour the dough out onto a counter top that has been dusted with flour and knead the dough until it is smooth. Wipe out the mixing bowl and spray it with non stick spray. Roll the dough into a ball and toss it back into the bowl. Spray the top of the dough with non stick spray and gently cover it with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise in a warm (not hot!) place for about 45-60 minutes, until it has doubled in size.
- Melt the remaining butter and allow it to cool. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle, about 1/2″ thick. Brush the melted butter over the surface of the dough and sprinkle the sugar and spices over the melted butter. Sprinkle the crushed walnuts over this. Take the remaining banana and, slicing it as thinly as you can, make 3 rows of sliced bananas. Gently but firmly roll the dough up, from the bottom to the top. Slice this log in half, and then slice each half in half. Slice each piece in half once more until you have 8 even sized pieces. Fit this rolls into a 9″ baking dish that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise once more while you preheat your oven.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Once heated cook the rolls on the middle oven rack for 35-45 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the rolls have grown tremendously. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
- Make the glaze while the rolls cool. In a small saucepan brown the butter. Whisk in the milk and powdered sugar. If it’s too thin and liquidy add more powdered sugar. If it’s too thick add more milk. Drizzle this glaze on the rolls after they’ve had at least 15 minutes to cool. Serve warm.