Coffee is what gives me energy in the morning. I’m totally addicted. I love it for afternoon pick-me-ups too. But I’m also a tea person. I grew up on tea, in fact. With a South African mom who makes herself a cup of tea every few hours, it’s hard not to like both beverages. (She does, too!) I like tea of all kinds. Darjeeling and rooibos are probably my favorites to drink at home, but I am becoming a huge fan of chai too.
Chai tea is an Indian flavored tea that’s made by brewing black tea with aromatic spices like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and black peppercorns. The chai latte is a popular coffee shop beverage made with chai tea and steamed milk.
And then there’s the dirty chai latte, which has an added shot of espresso. I know what you’re thinking: coffee and tea together? Yes. It’s possible, and delicious. A good friend of mine swears by her afternoon dirty chai.
I’m totally mind-reading today, because I know what you’re thinking again. Coffee and tea in cinnamon rolls? Yes, that’s exactly what is happening here, and I’m not sorry for bringing it to your attention. I have been dying to try these Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls ever since I dreamed them up. Filled with chai spices and coffee, a dollop of Bee Raw’s Colorado Sweet Yellow Clover Honey and topped with a creamy, spiced glaze, these rolls are everything I wanted and more.
I believe that anyone can tackle any recipe, regardless of their cooking skill level. If you can read, you can make anything. But cinnamon rolls require time and attention. They aren’t something you can whip up in an hour or two. You make them the night before you plan to eat them, and then let them sit all night long.
In other words, good things come to those who wait. Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls are one of those things. Next time you’re planning a big family brunch or a special breakfast for overnight guests, take some time to make something that requires a little more effort. Your guests will recognize your labor of love. Plus, you can easily please the coffee people and the tea people. Win, win. // susannah
Click below for the Dirty Chai Cinnamon Rolls recipe!
For the cinnamon rolls
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 package instant yeast
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup half and half
- 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large egg
For the filling
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1-2 teaspoons of instant coffee or espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon honey
For the Spiced Glaze
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch ground cloves
- pinch cardamom
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk
Make the dough.
- Separate ½ cup of flour and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining flour, the sugar, salt and yeast together until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
- In a heatproof bowl, heat the water, half-and-half and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch. Stir to combine, then slowly pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and only enough of the reserved ½ cup flour to make a soft dough. (I only needed ¼ cup.) Dough will be ready when it has an elastic, stretchy consistency and it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl.
- On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3 to 4 minutes. Grease a bowl with non-stick spray and place the dough in the bowl. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
- After 10 minutes, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a 14 x 8-inch rectangle.
Make the filling.
- In a clean bowl, mix together the sugars, candied ginger, spices, salt, pepper, cloves and coffee. Stir in the honey to create a sticky mixture.
- Spread melted butter over top of the dough. Sprinkle evenly with sugar and spice mixture. Tightly roll up the dough. (Cinnamon may spill out the edges.) Cut the roll into 12 even pieces and place in a lightly greased 9-inch round pan.
- Turn off the oven. Loosely cover the rolls with a sheet of aluminum foil. Allow them to rise in the warm oven for 60-90 minutes or overnight, up to 8 hours.
- After the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned. Covered with aluminum foil after 15 minutes to avoid heavy browning.
Make the glaze.
- While the rolls are cooking, make the glaze. In a large, clean bowl, combine confectioner's sugar and spices. Add melted butter and 2 tablespoons milk and stir until smooth. (If glaze is too thick, add more milk. If it is too runny, stir in a teaspoon of confectioner's sugar.)
- Use immediately to top cinnamon rolls with glaze.
Be sure to check out my Hot Breakfast Month partners and their amazing recipes. We’ll be using the hashtag #hotforbreakfast on social media.
Jess at 104 Homestead // Jami at An Oregon Cottage // Chris at Joybilee Farm
Kathie at Homespun Seasonal Living // Tessa at Homestead Lady
Sheila at Life, Love, and Good Food // Lynda at Me & My Pink Mixer
Annie at Montana Homesteader // Angi at Schneiderpeeps
Also, the following companies generously sponsored many of the Hot For Breakfast recipes. This project is in no small part thanks to them and their incredible contributions: