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Here’s a tidbit you might not know about SugarHero headquarters: I live in an apartment building with a teensy apartment kitchen. My 1970s-era oven is not-so-affectionately known as The SugarVillain, because its life mission is to burn my baked goods with surprising 50-degree temperature spikes when I least expect it. The flooring is boring linoleum, the cabinets are cheap wood, and the counter space is nonexistent… in short, it is NOT my dream kitchen.
I make it work, and most days I try to focus on the parts of our apartment and city that I love. But it doesn’t stop me from dreaming about what my ideal kitchen would be! Every time I have to toss a batch of cookies into the trash because of an unexpected hot flash in the oven, or every time I have to put frozen goods in an ice chest to make room in the freezer for a big project, I close my eyes, mentally pin a few more images to the Dream House inspiration board in my mind, and whisper, “Someday…”
My dream kitchen upgrades were heavy on my mind as I was making these cinnamon roll ice cream sandwiches. I made the cinnamon rolls three different times—the first re-do was to tweak the recipe, but the second was because The SugarVillain struck again and my poor rolls were scorched by sneak-attack 450 F temps.
Fortunately, I was a cinnamon roll-makin’ machine by the third batch, and they came together quickly. These rolls are big, fat yeasted rolls, stuffed with swirls of cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter. They’re moist and have that signature gooey center that contrasts perfectly with the crispy edges. They’re almost perfect just as they are… almost.
If you’d asked me a few weeks ago, I’d have said that there’s nothing better than a fresh cinnamon roll, but I’ve since discovered that there are four little words that make them waaaaay better: cream cheese ice cream.
Yep, it turns out that toasting cinnamon roll halves and then sandwiching some cream cheese ice cream between them is the ultimate cinnamon roll experience. The ice cream is rich and creamy, with a wonderful sweet-and-tangy flavor that comes from both cream cheese and crème fraiche. It’s so good, it made me forget all the acrobatics I had to do to cram the ice cream maker into the freezer.
This recipe does take a few hours, so I’ve included some suggestions for substitutions to speed the process up down below. But if you have the time, I really recommend that you make it all from scratch—rolls from a cardboard tube or store-bought ice cream just can’t compare. If you’re tired of the same old ice cream sandwich options this summer, you have to give these Cinnamon Roll Ice Cream Sandwiches a try!
Cinnamon Roll Ice Cream Sandwiches
For the Cream Cheese Ice Cream:
For the Cinnamon Roll Dough:
- 8 oz. milk, (1 cup)
- 1 packet active dry yeast, 1/4 oz., or 2 1/4 tsp.
- 2 1/2 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature (5 tbsp.)
- 19 1/8 oz. all purpose flour, (4 1/4 cups)
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 1/2 oz. granulated sugar, (1/2 cup)
To Fill the Cinnamon Rolls:
- 3 oz. butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. cinnamon
- 6 tbsp. butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar, optional, for icing
To Make the Cream Cheese Ice Cream:
- Combine the cream cheese, crème fraiche or sour cream, half and half, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, satiny, and free of lumps.
- Pour it into a 2-quart ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's directions, until it is the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. (If your ice cream maker is smaller, you may want to do it in batches so it doesn't overflow.)
- For the cinnamon swirl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Spread about a third of the ice cream in the bottom of a 9x5-inch loaf pan or freezer ice cream storage container. Drizzle half of the cinnamon sauce over the ice cream, then top it with half the remaining ice cream, spreading it into an even layer. Add the remaining cinnamon sauce, and finish by covering it with the rest of the ice cream. (If you're omitting the cinnamon swirls, simply spread all of the ice cream into the loaf pan.) Press a layer of cling wrap on top and freeze the pan until the ice cream is firm, at least 2 hours.
To Make the Cinnamon Rolls:
- Heat the milk in the microwave until it is warm but not hot—you're looking for 100-110 degrees F. Depending on your microwave and starting milk temperature, this may take 30-90 seconds. Add the yeast, stir briefly, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast mixture is foamy. If your yeast hasn't changed at all, it's dead and you should start with a new batch.
- Combine the milk-yeast mixture with the remaining cinnamon roll ingredients in the bowl of a large stand mixer. Mix everything together with the paddle attachment, and once everything is mixed, switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium speed with the dough hook for 5-7 minutes, until it's smooth and not too sticky. (It will be a very soft dough.)
- Lightly grease a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning it over to grease all the sides. Cover the bowl with a cloth and place it in a warm place to rise until doubled, 60-90 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
- Once the dough has doubled, lightly punch it down. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it's a rectangle about 16x22 inches. Spread the soft butter on top of the dough, leaving a thin 1/2-inch margin along the wide end opposite you. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and spread the sugar over the butter, patting it flat into an even layer. Working from the wide end, roll the dough into a tight cylinder, and when you get to the end, brush some water on the 1/2-inch margin that's not covered with butter and sugar. Press firmly to stick the dough together.
- You can use a sharp knife to cut the dough into rolls, but my favorite method is to use unflavored dental floss. Slide a length of floss under the roll of dough, and twist it at the top to slice through the roll. Cut off the ends of the roll, then slice the dough into 12 equal pieces, about 1 1/2-inch wide. (Yes, these are wide pieces!) Cover an 11x17-inch baking sheet with parchment and set the 12 rolls on the sheet equally spaced. Cover the rolls with a cloth and leave them to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake the rolls for 15-18 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown. Allow to cool to room temperature before assembling.
- To assemble the sandwiches, carefully slice the cinnamon rolls in half. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon butter. Fry four cinnamon roll halves, cut side down, in the butter until golden and crispy. Remove them from the heat, and repeat with the remaining butter and rolls until they are all crispy.
- If you want to make the optional glaze for the cinnamon rolls, mix the powdered sugar with a few spoonsful of water until you have a glaze with a spreadable consistency. Spread a very thin layer of glaze on the top layer of each cinnamon roll, letting some of the cinnamon swirls peek through. Let the glaze set at room temperature for about 10 minutes, until it starts to crust over.
- Place a big scoop of cream cheese ice cream on the base of each cinnamon roll, smoosh it down slightly, and place the top of the roll on top of the ice cream. Serve immediately.
Our recipes are developed using weight measurements, and we highly recommend using a kitchen scale for baking whenever possible. However, if you prefer to use cups, volume measurements are provided as well. PLEASE NOTE: the adage “8 oz = 1 cup” is NOT true when speaking about weight, so don’t be concerned if the measurements don’t fit this formula.Click here to learn more about baking measurements and conversion.