A twisted heart-shaped pastry with cream cheese frosting and a dusting of powdered sugar. The pastry is on parchment paper with aa floral tea towel in the background, a bowl of frosting, two heart biscuit cutters, a bow of raspberries and a wooden spoon shaped like a heart.

The Tearin’ Up My Heart Cinnamon Roll

4.2 from 231 votes

My cinnamon roll snowflake was so loved that I had to make something similar for Valentine’s Day! The snowflake is twice the size of this heart because I envisioned it being a part of large holiday gatherings. I thought I’d keep it smaller for Valentine’s Day, plus working with two layers of dough was a lot easier than working with four!

As soon as I tore a piece of the finished pastry off, I couldn’t get the *NSYNC song out of my head, so that’s the origin story of the name. The 90s kids will understand.

I recommend making this with cinnamon roll dough, as the recipe below indicates. I know that it takes longer, but it’s so worth it! The hardest part for me was forming the hearts with the dough. Here is a sped-up video of how I rolled the heart out. The original video is about 8 1/2 mins, so it really doesn’t take too long to get the heart shape. I was determined to roll the dough into hearts, rather than cut it and waste dough. I kept reminding myself to trust the process as I was working and it all worked out beautifully in the end!

While you’re here, you should definitely check out my heart-shaped pizza twists! And if you love the idea of a heart shaped pastry, but want to start with something easy, check out my raspberry heart twists!

I know that it’s not always feasible to make a dough from scratch and the best option to make this with a shortcut is to use puff pastry, so I will include more on that below.

As seen on instagram here.

Notes on using puff pastry:

If you’d like to try this using a shortcut, I would recommend puff pastry! I usually use Pepperidge Farms brand which is in the freezer section of my grocery store. There is another brand of puff pastry that’s in the refrigerated section, called Jus-Rol Puff Pastry. I haven’t tried this one, but I did have someone use it to make the cinnamon roll snowflake and it worked perfectly for her. If using a frozen puff pastry, set it on the counter for about 30 mins or so to thaw before working with it. You want the pastry to be soft and pliable, but still cold. Room temperature or warm puff pastry dough will not puff properly in the oven and will appear raw and doughy, even after the full cooking time. One thing to remember when working with puff pastry is that you want to work quickly because the dough should still be cool to the touch when it goes into the oven to ensure that it puffs up and becomes flaky.

You’ll need two sheets of puff pastry to make this. I recommend rolling them out and cutting them into heart shapes. You can cut a heart out of a piece of paper to use as a guide. Since puff pastry is thinner than cinnamon roll dough and doesn’t rise, I recommend keeping the filling light. One to two tablespoons of softened butter should be enough and I would reduce the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture by at least half. Mix together 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon and spread a thin layer over the heart. If you have the heart covered and don’t need to use it all, that’s fine! Lay your second heart over it, place a cookie cutter in the center, and proceed to Step 8 in the recipe below.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Next, follow the same cutting and twisting method as the cinnamon roll dough. Lightly brush your pastry with egg wash and put it into the oven immediately. Puff pastry doesn’t contain yeast and doesn’t rise like cinnamon roll dough. You want to get it into the oven as quickly as possible, as I mentioned above. It will take about 20 mins to bake and will be golden brown when done. Depending on your oven, you may want to take a look at it starting at 15 mins just to see how it’s doing.

You can follow the frosting recipe below if you want the cream cheese frosting, or you can simply dust your pastry with powdered sugar. That’s totally up to you!

Update: Since writing this, I tried out the Jus-Rol puff pastry from the refrigerated section and I love it! It comes with just one sheet per package, so you would need two to make this recipe. The dough sheets are larger than Pepperidge Farms and you don’t need to worry about taking it out to thaw. I used it for these tiramisu-inspired tarts and they came out beautifully!

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Tearin’ Up My Heart Cinnamon Roll

Recipe by Ambitious Kitchen
4.2 from 231 votes
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium


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Cooking time




First Rise Time


Second Rise Time


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I use the Ambitious Kitchen cinnamon roll recipe for this, with slight changes to the amount of filling and frosting. The method of assembly is my own.

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  • Dough
  • 3/4 c warm milk – see note

  • 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast

  • 1/4 c granulated sugar

  • 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature

  • 1/4 c salted butter, melted

  • 3 c bread flour

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • Filling
  • 1/2 c dark brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

  • Other
  • 1 egg beaten, for egg wash

  • 1 tsp powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

  • Frosting
  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened

  • 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

  • 6 tbsp powdered (confectioners) sugar

  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 pinch salt


  • Transfer warm milk to the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Add in sugar, eggs, egg yolk and melted butter. Mix until well combined. Next stir in flour and salt until a dough begins to form.
  • Place dough hook on stand mixer and knead dough on medium speed for 8 minutes. Dough should form into a nice ball and be slightly sticky, but not sticking to the bottom of the bowl. Once your dough has formed, push it to the side of the bowl and add in a few drops of olive oil. Roll the dough in the oil so that it’s covered and then cover the bowl to let the dough rise. It should rise for 1-2 hours and be doubled in size.
  • Once the dough has risen, weigh it on a kitchen scale (if you don’t have one, you can eyeball this step). Take the total weight and divide it by 2 so that you can divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Mine were about 14 oz each.
  • One at a time, on a very lightly floured surface, roll out and form each section of dough into heart shapes of about 10 inches in diameter. I cut a heart out of parchment paper and used that as a guide as I was forming my hearts. I would periodically fold the dough in half down the center of the heart (gently) to ensure that the hearts were symmetrical. Here is a sped up video of me rolling the dough into a heart shape. Once both sections of dough are shaped, place each on a separate sheet of parchment paper. Cinnamon roll dough shaped as a heart on a wooden board.
  • I like to do the next steps on a cutting board since I will eventually be using a sharp knife to cut. I take one heart with parchment beneath it, this makes it easier to move to a baking sheet when it’s time, and place it on a pastry board. Next, spread the softened butter evenly over the heart. Cinnamon roll dough shaped as a heart, on parchment paper, with softened butter spread evenly over it. The heart is on parchment paper and there is s white bowl with brown sugar and cinnamon off to the side.
  • Next, spread the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly over the buttered surface. Heart shaped cinnamon roll dough with brown sugar and cinnamon spread evenly over it, on a piece of brown parchment paper.
  • Now place the second dough heart on top and adjust it so that the hearts are evenly lined up on top of one another. Then place something small in the center to use as a marker for your cuts. I used a small heart-shaped biscuit cutter. Two layers of cinnamon roll dough with brown sugar and cinnamon in between and a heart shaped biscuit cutter placed in the middle.
  • Starting at the bottom center and using a very sharp knife, make your first cut. I cut from the bottom point of the heart shaped biscuit cutter, to the bottom point of my stacked dough hearts. Make sure to make a clean cut all the way through. You’ll repeat this process around the heart, making strips of about 1 inch thick at the outer edge. I made 10 strips on each side. See the photo below for reference. I made my cuts on the right side of the heart first and then tried to make a mirror image when I cut the left side. They don’t have to be perfect, as you can see, mine weren’t!Heart shaped cinnamon roll dough with a heart shaped biscuit cutter in the middle. The heart has been cut into 20 strips from the center out and is ready to be twisted.
  • Next is the twisting step. I started with the bottom right strip and twisted it 1 1/2 full turns clockwise. Then I twisted the bottom left strip 1 1/2 full turns counter-clockwise and brought the ends of both of these strips together and pinched them to create the bottom point. From there, I worked my way from the bottom of the right side, up to the top, always twisting these pieces in a clockwise motion and I twisted them 1 1/2-2 full turns each. I repeated this on the left side, but twisted this side counter-clockwise. Once I was done twisting, I went around the heart to arrange any pieces that seemed out of place.A twisted cinnamon roll heart pastry with a silver heart-shaped biscuit cutter in the center, on a parchment lined baking sheet with a floral tea towel in the background.
  • Once you’re happy with your twists and your heart shape, remove the cutter from the center, cover and allow to rise a second time. I did a 30 min second rise. I would recommend for anywhere from 30 mins to 1 hour. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and place a rack in the center during the second rise.
  • When the second rise is done, lightly brush the pastry with egg wash using a pastry brush and then place it in the oven for 20 minutes. It will be golden brown when done. Depending on your oven, it could take up to 5 additional minutes, but shouldn’t need more than that.
  • While the pastry is cooking, make your frosting. Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment until smooth. I usually mix on medium high. Then add the powdered sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt and turn the mixer on low to combine. Once combined, you can put the mixer back to medium high until your frosting is smooth and consistent. Transfer to a small bowl.
  • Allow your pastry to cool for about 10 mins and then transfer it to a serving tray or board and frost it however you like. I like to lightly frost it so that the cinnamon swirls show through. You can also dust your pastry with powdered sugar, but this is optional. I also used a toothpick to draw a little heart in the center. Serve warm and enjoy! Close up of a twisted heart-shaped pastry.


Recipe Video


  • I use whole milk for this and heat it in the microwave to 100-110 degrees F. I heat it for 20 seconds, stir, 15 seconds, stir and take the temp and then another 10 seconds if necessary.
  • I always use pink Himalayan sea salt for baking, but regular salt is fine too.
  • If your house isn’t warm enough for the dough to rise nicely on the counter, here is a trick. Set the oven to 350 degrees F and set a timer for 1 minute. When the timer goes off, turn the oven off. It will be slightly warm. Place your covered bowl in there to rise! But remember not to turn the oven back on until you take it out!

Did you make this recipe?

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    • Hi Mary! So this dough will be too thick for a hand mixer, but you can definitely use your hand mixer to make the frosting. You will just beat the butter and cream cheese with the hand mixer until they’re smooth, then stir in the powdered sugar, vanilla and pinch of salt. Once the powdered sugar has been mixed in, you can use the hand mixer again to smooth it all out. As far as the dough goes, you can knead it by hand if you aren’t using a stand mixer. You will mix the first set of ingredients with a whisk, then use a wooden spoon to stir in the flour. Once the dough begins to form, knead it by hand on a very well-floured surface for about 10 mins. I hope this helps!

    • Hi Courtney! I haven’t tried it, but it should be fine! However, if you are using puff pastry, then no, that needs to be prepared and baked immediately. For the cinnamon roll dough, you could create the heart and then cover and refrigerate overnight. This is rather large, so you’d need to be able to fit the baking sheet into your fridge. You may need to touch up the twists when you take it out to bake, then do your egg wash and put it into the oven. It also reheats nicely so you could always bake it a day ahead, hold off on the frosting, reheat and frost the next day. I hope this helps!

  1. I’m trying this tomorrow! I’ve made about 30 of the snowflakes!! They are so easy and delicious!! I’m wondering about using a thickened strawberry jam as the filler. May try that too.

    • Oh my goodness that’s amazing that you’ve made that many snowflakes! You’re an expert now! I think that the strawberry jam will taste delicious! I do still like to put a very thin layer of softened butter on my dough when I use a jam, just like before I would put on the brown sugar and cinnamon for a cinnamon roll. One thing about jam is that it does tend to brown when baking which is fine. It tastes great! It just usually doesn’t come out of the oven with the pink/reddish color that it goes in with. You’ll have to let me know how yours comes out!

    • Hi! Yes, it’s about 2 1/2 inches wide by 2 3/4 inches tall. I have the set of heart cutters I use linked in my post. It’s a set of 5 and the one I used is the middle size. Thank you for checking out my recipe!

    • Yes! If you look above the recipe card, you’ll see a section that details how to make this using puff pastry. If you’re tapping the “jump to recipe” button, you’ll miss it. It’s in the post text before thee recipe.

    • Hi Alex! Great question! I haven’t tested this particular recipe with a 1:1 GF flour. I have tried another yeast dough and did not have good luck. I stick with cookies and things that don’t have yeast in them when using 1:1 GF flour. It’s really important to have a good rise for this dough to be able to keep the filling inside. If you have had luck making good rising bread doughs with your flour, it may work for you! I hope that helps!

    • Hi Melanie! I’m so happy to hear that you’re making it this weekend! Feel free to tag me on instagram, I’d love to see it! So I think this is best on a full sheet cookie sheet (25 in x 17 1/4 in) if you’re using the cinnamon roll dough because it does expand quite a bit. Before baking it does fit on a standard 1/2 sheet, but I decided that because it would expand while baking, a full sheet would be ideal. I hope this helps!

  2. Looks delicious. I’m planning on making it tomorrow and am wondering if I could cut the dough in fours to make two cinnamon roll hearts…

    • Hi Rose! Thank you, I am so glad that you’re planning to make this recipe. Yes, you could make two smaller hearts. Are you doing the cinnamon roll recipe or the puff pastry version? If you are doing the cinnamon roll recipe, then you’ll be looking to cut your dough into four equal parts of about 7 oz each. You can roll them a bit thinner that I rolled mine, but don’t go too thin or it won’t hold the fillings. If you are working with puff pastry, make one heart at a time. Puff pastry is extremely sensitive to temperature and the enemy of puff pastry is time. Too much time at room temp (or warmer if you’re working at or near your oven) will cause it to remain doughy even after the full cook time. I hope this helps!

  3. I’m doing a test run before I make it for our granddaughters first birthday brunch next week. All going well except I’m not sure how to transfer it from the parchment paper to a plate without breaking it apart. Do you have any tips to do this?

    • Hi Jane! Happy early birthday to her. That is so exciting! Do you mean how to transfer it once it’s baked? From the parchment to a serving tray? I just allow it to cool a bit and place the baking sheet next to wherever I’m going to be placing the pastry so that I can frost and serve it. I just move it by holding the bottom and the top of the parchment paper, lift it, and place it onto the surface I want it on. I then make a tear in the parchment paper on an edge towards the middle so that I can gently and slowly tear the parchment away. Sometimes it rips in a few pieces. I also will lift sections of the pastry with a spatula to help me get to the parchment underneath and pull it away. I hope that helps!

    • Hi Meg,
      Thank you so much! Yes, you can definitely make this entire thing the night before. I would make the frosting and refrigerate it separately overnight and leave the pastry on the counter overnight. Then bring the frosting to room temp in the morning and you can heat the pastry in the oven for just a few mins, and then frost it. I hope this helps! Happy Valentine’s Day!

  4. Thank you so much for this awesome recipe. I made it for my husband last night for our first married Valentine’s Day 🥰 but we can figure out where the cheese went!? I used plenty but it seems like it vanished while baking 😂 just wondering if you’ve experience this? Maybe the type of cheese I used was not ideal (Monterrey Jack)?

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