Cinnamon Roll Strata

Cinnamon Roll Strata
Photo: Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke
Active Time:
30 mins
Chill Time:
4 hrs
Bake Time:
50 mins
Stand Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 40 mins
Servings:
8

Good morning, sunshine. This Cinnamon Roll Strata is destined to be a bright spot in your day. We've taken all our favorite elements of cinnamon rolls and constructed them into a shareable strata. We love a savory strata, but for special occasions, a sweet version just hits the spot.

Frozen yeast roll dough makes this sweet casserole a snap. Balls of dough get individually dunked in melted butter and dusted with cinnamon-sugar, monkey bread-style. The rolls get baked and torn apart, then submerged in an eggy mixture before chilling. In Step 2, bake rolls just until they are cooked through and no more, because they will be baked a second time.

Now for the best part: Drizzle the final casserole with a milky cream cheese glaze to get the full cinnamon roll experience. The kids won't be able to get enough of this sugary, nostalgic strata. It's the ideal treat for a lazy Sunday or a holiday brunch. Plus, since most of the components are made in advance, all you'll have to do the morning of is pop the casserole in the oven. Sounds like a win-win to us.

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon 

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar, divided

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted  

  • 1 (25-oz.) pkg. frozen yeast roll dough (such as Bridgford Parkerhouse Style Rolls Dough), thawed and proofed according to pkg. directions

  • 4 large eggs 

  • 2 cups half-and-half

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, divided

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened

  • ¼ cup whole milk

  • ¼ cup powdered sugar 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 17- x 12-inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Stir together ground cinnamon and 1 ¼ cups of the granulated sugar in a shallow bowl. Place melted butter in a separate small, shallow bowl. Dip each roll in melted butter, turning to coat evenly; roll in cinnamon sugar to coat evenly. Place on prepared baking sheet (rolls will be almost touching).

  2. Bake in preheated oven just until puffed and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let rolls stand until cool enough to handle, 20 to 30 minutes.

  3. Lightly grease (with cooking spray) an 11-inch round or oval 2-quart baking dish. Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, salt, 2 teaspoons of the vanilla, and remaining ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl. Hold each baked roll over prepared dish, tear into bite-size pieces, and arrange in prepared dish. Pour egg mixture evenly over top. Cover with plastic wrap, gently pressing to submerge as many roll pieces in custard as possible. Chill at least 4 hours or up to 16 hours.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Uncover the casserole, and let stand at room temperature while oven preheats. Bake until golden and set, 30 to 35 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

  5. While casserole bakes, combine cream cheese and whole milk in a small saucepan over medium. Cook, whisking constantly, until cream cheese melts and the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Whisk in powdered sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over warm casserole.

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