Cinnamon Twists are a sweet treat that is buttery, flaky, and sweet with just a hint of spice. Great for entertaining around the holidays, they can also be wrapped up as a homemade gift. Whether you add them to the cookie display or the bar area, people can’t resist them. Read on for my tips to get yours just right, or scroll on down to the recipe and get baking!
I’m Renee, the recipe blogger behind Renee Nicole’s Kitchen, where I focus on creating approachable homemade recipes with a gourmet twist. I am honored to be here sharing this recipe with you today and I hope it becomes one of your family favorites!
Holiday season is in full swing, so I’m back to share the recipe for one of my latest and greatest holiday treats for home entertaining. These treats were dreamt up because I was craving a sweet treat to go with a mug of warm eggnog. I wanted buttery and flaky, but I also wanted light and crispy. As soon as I thought puff pastry, these cinnamon twists soon followed.
Once I started researching, I realized there were many different variations for making cinnamon twists. Some use pizza dough, some use yeast roll dough, most of them use store bought puff pastry dough. The amounts of sugar, butter, and cinnamon varied widely and the methods for coating the dough went from sort of messy all the way to wondering why you are still cleaning up cinnamon a week later. I’ll cover below what works, what doesn’t, and how you can make these perfect for your family.
Puff pastry dough was my inspiration for making these cinnamon twists, but that’s not why I say it’s the best. I say it’s the best because of the texture and how easy it is to make and use. If using a yeast based dough, like pizza dough or yeast roll dough, you have to allow the dough time to rise and let the yeast do it’s thing, and that’s if you buy it premade from the store. If you make it from scratch, it also needs time to proof before using it.
Puff pastry on the other hand, has no yeast or other leveling agent to make it rise. It puffs up into its namesake texture because the butter reacts with the flour to create layers. So, no matter if you purchase it premade or make it yourself, it’s ready to go straight from the fridge.
If you want to make yours homemade, try my recipe for Rough Puff Pastry, where I use a food processor to cut the butter into the flour instead of a rolling pin. Also called flaky pastry or blitz pastry, the method for rough puff pastry makes the whole process less labor intensive and requires a lot less time – only about 15 minutes on a cold day. If you do choose the homemade route make it in advance and allow it to chill. For me the flavor alone is worth the extra effort. Also, check out my apricot and prosciutto braid, it’s stuffed puff pastry braid that makes an IG worthy brunch.
How to Coat the Puff Pastry with Cinnamon and Sugar
Many of the recipes I found called for slicing the strips, dipping them in butter, then rolling them in cinnamon and sugar. Not only does this use A LOT more butter and cinnamon sugar blend, but it gets really messy really quick. The twists themselves get pinched and pulled out of shape. The dripping butter causes the sugar to melt and get chunky. Also the sugar tends to stick unevenly, which can lead to burnt tasting parts.
So I flipped the method on its head, adding the butter, cinnamon and sugar before slicing the dough into strips. Use a pastry brush to brush the top with butter, then evenly sprinkle on the cinnamon and sugar. Lightly spread it out with your hand (like flouring a countertop) then start with the edge away from you and roll it towards you. Flip the pastry sheet so that the cinnamon sugar side is down. The excess cinnamon and sugar that fell off and can be collected for the other side. Repeat the process on the back before slicing your pastry sheet.
Cutting and Shaping the Cinnamon Twists
The recipe calls for strips that are one inch wide by 1/8th inch thick, which puff up into beautiful twists. To get even strips I like to measure and mark both ends of the dough, then use a knife to connect the lines. You can also use a pizza cutter for this step.
To make that signature twisty shape, lay them on the baking sheet then give one end one and a half rotations. If needed press the ends into the baking sheet to help them stick. The alternating cinnamon sugar section with the plain section in the twist is what gives them the pretty color variation after they bake.
Cinnamon Twists Recipe
Buttery flaky cinnamon twists are a delicious addition to your holiday party, brunch, or get together with the girls. Double the recipe to make more. Wrap them up and share the love this season with a homemade gift. Serve hot from the oven or store up to 2 – 3 days in an airtight container. I like to serve mine with Maple Bourbon Whipped cream for dipping.
- 1 sheet puff pastry dough
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly oil.
- Roll the pastry sheet into rectangle that is 1/8" thick - roughly 8" by 10". Melt the butter in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the top side of the pastry sheet with butter. Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar mixture with a spoon, then lightly spread out with your hand. Like flouring a countertop.
- Grab the back edge of the pastry sheet and roll it towards you to flip over. Repeat the previous step with the back side of the pastry sheet, using the excess cinnamon and sugar that fell off as needed.
- To create ten eight inch strips, score the pastry sheet along the long side at one inch intervals. Repeat with the opposite end of the pastry sheet, then use a knife or pizza cutter to connect the marks.
- Place the strips on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Hold one end of the first strip down and rotate the other end one and a half times. Repeat with remaining strips.
- Chill the twists for 20 minutes. - DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP -
- While the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Bake the chilled strips for 18 - 20 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.