Erin McDowell's Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Erin Jeanne McDowell

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: about 40 cookies
These spiced cookies are crisp on the outside and slightly softer inside, with a delicious cinnamon-sugar coating and a heaping spoonful of creamy glaze on top. Inspired by cinnamon rolls, the cookies make the sweetest addition to any holiday cookie box.


Cookie Dough:

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating:



  1. For the cookie dough: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line 2 to 4 baking sheets with parchment (use 2 if you're baking in batches, 4 only if you have them). In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt to combine.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well to fully incorporate and scraping the bowl well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients in 2 to 3 additions, mixing to incorporate and gently scraping the bowl before continuing. 
  3. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap. Working with a few pieces at a time, divide the dough into heaping tablespoon pieces, rolling each into a ball. Then roll each dough ball into a strand about 7 inches long. Starting at one end, form each dough strand into a spiral; it should look like a cinnamon roll when seen from above.  
  4. For the cinnamon-sugar coating: In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon to combine. Gently press the top of each dough spiral into the sugar mixture, giving it a slight all-over coating, then transfer to the prepared baking sheets. Leave at least 1/2 inch between each spiral and stagger the rows. Bake until the cookies are browned and crisp, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. For the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, cream and milk; the glaze should be thin enough to easily flow off a spoon.  
  6. Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of glaze in the center of each cookie, using the back of your spoon to spread it slightly and allowing it to drip down the sides naturally (see Cook's Note). Let set for 30 minutes at room temperature for the glaze to firm up. The cookies can then be stored in an airtight container in a single layer for up to 1 week.  

Cook’s Note

You can opt for two different options for glazing that are quicker: Dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze, allowing the excess to drip off before placing them glaze-side up on a baking sheet (this may take an additional 15 minutes to set). Or you can use a pastry brush to brush the glaze on each cookie (this glaze will be thinner and may take less time to set). When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)