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Cinnamon bun sugar cookies

Cinnamon sugar is one of the best flavor combinations, and this thin sugar cookie brings a delicious cinnamon bun flavor into a cookie. It's swirled with a cinnamon sugar mixture, and the cookie itself has crisp edges and a soft and chewy center. Of course it's topped with a drizzle of vanilla icing - completely optional, but I think it completes the cinnamon bun look and adds the perfect touch of added sweetness.

I usually go for chocolate when it comes to dessert, but there is something I just love about cinnamon sugar. Though the cookie itself is a classic vanilla flavor, the cinnamon sugar layer gets swirled throughout so you taste it in every bite. It melts in your mouth along with the buttery cookie and pairs so perfectly with the vanilla icing drizzle on top and looks just like a cinnamon roll in cookie form.

I used to get the snickerdoodle cookies from a cookie place called Insomnia in college, and I wanted a similar texture with this cookie. Something a bit thinner, with just the right level of sweetness, and a perfectly chewy center. The edges also have a nice crisp to them.

Making the dough, cinnamon sugar filling, and icing are all easy steps. The part that I know was intimidating for me was the assembly of the cookie dough to create the cinnamon sugar swirl. I promise though, as long as you are patient and do the multiple chills you will be blessed with the most delicious and beautiful cookies in the end - it is SO worth it. The longest chill time is the one before rolling out your dough - about six to eight hours, or you can do this overnight. Then you'll have four shorter chill periods, about 30 minutes to an hour each - before spreading on the filling, before rolling into your cookie dough log, before slicing, and before baking. This recipe uses a really soft dough, which is what gets us the perfect texture in the end, so it does require a bit of extra time in the fridge between steps.

Though this recipe doesn't require any special equipment like a mixer or even a scooper, I do recommend using a scale if you have one to portion out your dough slices. If you don't have a scale, you can also measure out your dough precisely using a measuring tape. I just find even this method so much more difficult to get right when compared to weighing but both will absolutely work. Keep in mind that if your dough slices are different sizes, the baking times may vary.

These cookies do spread quite a bit and need some time post baking to chill and set. If you have a few large cookie sheets, that's perfect for this recipe or of course you can wait to cook the next few until the first few have set and can be transferred off of your cookie sheet. I like to only bake one tray at a time so I don't have to worry about rotating, but just be sure your cookies have plenty of space to spread - that's the most important piece! I also share some tips in the full recipe for how to shape your baked cookies so you get the perfectly round look.


Cookie dough

  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted 113g

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 96g

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar 48g

  • 1 large egg*

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour 160g

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cinnamon sugar filling

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon

Vanilla icing

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar 60g

  • 1 tablespoon milk or water

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Pinch salt

*I recommend taking your egg out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior to starting

Total time: About 3 hours

Prep time: Under an hour

Chill time: About 8 hours

Bake time: 10-12 minutes

Servings: 10 cookies


  • Spatula or large spoon

  • Cookie sheets

  • Parchment paper

  • Rolling pin

  • Sharp knife

  • Optional: plastic wrap, kitchen scale, measuring tape, offset spatula

Cooking instructions:

Make your cookie dough. To a large bowl, add your melted butter and both sugars. Use your spatula or a spoon to fully combine until smooth.

Next, add your egg and vanilla extract. Continue to mix together until your mixture has thickened.

Add in your dry ingredients, flour, salt and baking soda and fold together until a dough forms. The dough will be wet and that is okay. Cover completely or place into an airtight container (I like to transfer into plastic wrap and cover), and place into the fridge to chill for 4 to 6 hours. You can also do this overnight.

Make your cinnamon sugar mixture and add your cinnamon sugar filling. At any point before you plan to roll out your dough, let three tablespoons of unsalted butter come to room temperature. Then in a small dish, combine with your three tablespoons of granulated sugar and three teaspoons of cinnamon. Mix together completely until your mixture turns to a dark brown color and you no longer see any streaks of butter.

Remove your cookie dough from the fridge, it should be firm to the touch. Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto parchment paper and place your cookie dough onto the flowered surface. Sprinkle a small amount of additional flour on top of your cookie dough. Use a rolling pin to evenly roll out your dough to a rectangle about 12 by 9 inches.

Using a flat tool, like an offset spatula or a rubber spatula, scatter your cinnamon sugar mixture across your rolled out dough and then carefully spread into a thin layer completely covering your cookie dough. Place your dough into the fridge for about 30 minutes (if you can tell that your dough will lift off of the parchment paper without sticking, you can skip this chill step.)

When you're ready, you're going to roll your cookie dough into a long log - lifting up and folding inward from the longer side to start your roll. Do this slowly so that you're creating as tight of a swirl as possible. Use your parchment paper to help life and release along the way. Once you're done, use your finger or a flat tool to seal the long end of the cookie dough down so you have one smooth log. Keep your cookie dough log covered in parchment and place it to chill in the fridge for an hour. Note: you could let the dough chill in the fridge up to 24 hours before slicing, if you plan to chill for more than an hour wrap the dough log in plastic wrap to protect it from drying out.

Slice, bake and decorate your cookies. Using a sharp knife, cut your cookie log into 10 circular sections. I like to use a scale for this, aiming for about 50-55 grams per cookie slice. You want a cinnamon swirl showing on the top of each cookie slice, but if the bottom part is a little messy (for example if you incorporate additional cookie scraps from cutting and shaping) no one will know! Check each cookie dough section to ensure there are no gaps in the center of your dough where the cinnamon layer meets the cookie dough, and simply give the dough slice a squeeze inward if you see any spaces. Place the sliced dough onto a lined cookie sheet with the swirl side up, and chill one last time for an hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Space your cookie slices out onto large, lined cookie sheets - allow your cookies plenty of space as they will spread quite a bit. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges, I like to do this one cookie sheet at a time. Note: Right when you remove them from the oven, I recommend gently shaping (or "scooting") your cookies using a round cookie cutter or bowl slightly larger than the size of your cookie, or even a utensil around the edges - this will ensure your cookies are perfectly round.

Allow your cookies to cool (about an hour) - and now it's time for your icing. In a small bowl, combine your powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. To start, add in your vanilla extract and a teaspoon and a half of your liquid of choice (any type of milk or water). Use a spoon to stir until smooth and add additional liquid as needed in small increments until you reach your desired thickness - it should be pourable but not too thin since you want it to hold its shape when you drizzle onto your cookies.

Drizzle your icing over your cooled cookies however you'd like - give them some time to set and then you are ready to dig in!

Your baked and decorated cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container for a few days at room temperature or in the fridge, but they will taste best fresh baked and enjoyed the same day you made them. These cookies, because of their consistency, will also freeze well once baked though I recommend doing this before the icing step if you plan to keep them in the freezer for more than a week or so and you can always add icing after the cookie defrosts (which can be done in the fridge, at room temperature or for 10-15 seconds in the microwave.)

Carb and serving info:

Servings: 10 cookies

Carbs per serving (1 of 10): 37

Carbs for full recipe: 374

Carbs from cinnamon sugar filling: 36

Carbs from icing: 65

Note: Carb information is calculated based on the specific ingredients I used to cook with to help guide my own insulin to carb ratio when dosing before I eat my home cooked recipes.

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