The Viral Cinnamon Roll Pull-Apart Snowflake

4.4 from 113 votes

This cinnamon roll pull-apart snowflake is so much fun to serve around the holidays and the presentation is absolutely beautiful! This is meant for sharing and easily serves a crowd! I used my favorite cinnamon roll recipe by Ambitious Kitchen and doubled it, except for the frosting. The full recipe is available for you and printable below. When I posted this to instagram, it got over a million views in the first 24 hours, which I never expected. It’s my most poplar post and I’m excited to share more about it here!

I started this out just like a normal cinnamon roll endeavor, but I doubled the recipe. I was a little bit worried that my stand mixer might be overwhelmed by this much dough, but it was totally fine. I put very detailed step-by-step details in the recipe below and will answer the most frequently asked questions up next!

As seen on instagram here!

Snowflake FAQ

Can I make this ahead? Yes! Considering the rise time and the assembly, if you’re looking to serve this on Christmas morning, I recommend making it the day before. To make this ahead, I would follow all instructions through baking it and then let it sit on the counter in an airtight container (or wrapped) overnight. Allow it to cool completely before you wrap it. I would reheat it in the oven at 350 for maybe 7 mins or so and then frost it. You can also make the frosting a day ahead and refrigerate it overnight. It would be best to take the frosting out at least an hour before you plan to serve so that the frosting is back to room temp when you frost the snowflake.

I don’t recommend leaving this assembled and raw in terms of making it ahead because the ends of the twists want to come away from each other and the longer that it sits before baking, the more the ends will be pulling apart.

Can I make this smaller? Yes! Halve the ingredients below and make it two layers. You should have two dough sections of about 14 oz each and then roll them into 10 in diameter circles. You may even go a little less than half on the softened butter and brown sugar + cinnamon filling. You will follow the same cutting and twisting process and because it’s not 4 layers, you could allow this to rise for a bit of time, up to 45 minutes. Just keep an eye on it because the ends will still want to pull away from each other. Follow it up with the egg wash and then bake at 350 F on the center rack. I would estimate that it will take 20 mins, no more than 25, but ovens can vary, so keep your eye on it.

What if I don’t like cream cheese frosting? Totally fine! You can skip frosting and just dust your snowflake with powdered sugar, or you can make a different frosting. You could go super simple and make a quick icing with powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Or you could make a simple buttercream by leaving out the cream cheese and adding about a tbsp of milk. Add more milk if you need to thin out the frosting, or a little more powdered sugar if you need to thicken it.

Can I take a shortcut on the homemade dough? Yes! Try it with puff pastry. I recommend using one box, it should have two sheets inside. Allow them to warm to room temp on the counter for at least 20 mins until they are soft and pliable. Roll them out thin and then cut them into big circles. You can use a large pot or plate as a cutting guide. You want at least 10 in diameter circles. Take your first circle and spread a thin layer of softened butter onto it, followed by a thin layer of brown sugar and cinnamon. Top with your second circle, follow the cutting and twisting methods described below, brush it with egg wash and then bake. Puff pastry typically bakes at a higher temperature than cinnamon rolls, so I would do 400 degrees F on the center rack for about 20 mins.

What if I don’t like/am allergic to cinnamon? Try it with something else! You could use a little bit of nutmeg, ground cloves, cardamom, allspice, ginger, or cocoa powder and mix with brown sugar for your filling. I don’t recommend a 1:1 ratio because some of these spices have a very strong flavor. Nutella or Biscoff spread would work in place of the brown sugar and cinnamon. You could do cranberry/orange like I did in this recipe, or raspberry and citrus like I did here.

Can I make this Gluten Free? I haven’t tested it, but I have seen GF puff pastry at Whole Foods. I would recommend trying it with that, and follow the instructions that I included above for puff pastry.

Can I use phyllo dough or pie crust for this? No. And I love phyllo dough and pie crust! They are great for so many different recipes, but not this one. The snowflake is going to come out best with a soft and stretchy dough that has yeast in it. Any cinnamon roll dough should work just fine. Just pay attention to the volume of your ingredients and compare them to what I have listed below if you’re going for a four layer snowflake like mine. Phyllo dough is too flaky for this and pie crust is too dense and more of a cookie consistency when cooked. You will not get the results you’re hoping for with either of these options.

Can I freeze this? Yes! You can make it, bake it and freeze if you want to make it ahead that way. I suggest thawing, reheating when ready to serve and then frosting it at that time. Or, if you make it and have too much left and want to freeze some, I suggest wrapping individual portions so you can take them out from time to time, thaw, heat a bit and enjoy!

Cinnamon Roll Pull-Apart Snowflake

Recipe by Ambitious Kitchen
4.4 from 113 votes
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

18

servings
Prep time

2

hours 
Cooking time

25

minutes
Calories

455

kcal

The viral cinnamon roll pull-apart snowflake that you’ve seen on Instagram. It’s a showstopper you’ve got to try it.

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Ingredients

  • Dough:
  • 1 1/2 c warm whole milk (heated to 110 degrees F)

  • 4 1/2 tsp instant yeast

  • 1/2 c granulated sugar

  • 2 eggs + 2 egg yolks at room temp

  • 1/2 c melted butter (salted preferred)

  • 6 c bread flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (I use pink Himalayan sea salt)

  • Filling:
  • 1 1/3 c dark brown sugar (light brown is ok too)

  • 3 tbsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 c softened butter (I used unsalted)

  • Other:
  • 1 beaten egg for egg wash

  • 1-2 tsp powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

  • Frosting:
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese

  • 3 tbsp softened butter (I used unsalted)

  • 3/4 c powdered sugar

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  • Transfer warm milk to the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Add in sugar, eggs, egg yolks 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 it tightly 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 4 so that you can divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Mine were 14 oz each.
  • One at a time, on a very lightly floured surface, roll out each section of dough into circles of about 10 inches in diameter.
  • Line a large rimmed baking sheet (25 in x 17 1/4 in) with parchment and then place the first dough circle on it. Spread 1/3 of the softened butter evenly over it and then follow that with 1/3 of your brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Repeat this same process with your second dough circle and then your third dough circle. Then top it with your fourth dough circle.
  • Next you want something to place in the center of your dough that’s about 2 inches in diameter. You’ll use this as a cutting guide because you want to make sure that you don’t cut all the way through the middle of your dough. I used a small cookie cutter.
  • Start cutting through your dough carefully. Start each cut at the edge of whatever you’ve placed as your cutting guide, so you’re cutting from the middle out to the edge. I started at 12 o’clock, then cut at 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. Once I had these 4 cuts, I cut each section in half to make 8 sections. Then I cut each of those in half so that I ended with 16 even sections.
  • Next up is the twisting process. You want to work the sections two at a time. I held one section in my left hand and twisted it 1 1/2 -2 turns counter clockwise and with my right hand, I twisted 1 1/2-2 times clockwise. It’s important to twist each pair away from each other and to not twist so far that your dough starts to tear. I found that my sections could twist anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 full turns. Once you’ve twisted, you want to then pull the ends together and pinch them so that the dough sticks together. You’ll repeat this process all the way around the circle. As I worked my way around, I noticed that some of the ends would want to pull away from each other, so I would just go back and pinch the dough back together.
  • Normally a cinnamon roll would rise again at this point, but I found that the longer the dough sat, the more the ends wanted to pull away from each other. At this point, I preheated my oven to 350 F. I let the snowflake rest for about 15 mins and skipped the second rise. I brushed it with an egg wash before putting it into the oven and then once the oven was heated, I placed it on the center rack.
  • From 20 mins on, I kept a close eye on the snowflake in the oven because I didn’t want it to burn. I took it out and turned my baking sheet and put it back into the oven every 5 mins until about 30 mins. At that point, it was golden brown and it felt done when I tapped it. Ovens vary, so you want to just make sure that your dough isn’t raw in the center.
  • While the snowflake bakes, 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.
  • Once the snowflake is done baking, let it cool for about 10 mins before frosting. I didn’t have a serving tray big enough to hold it, so I moved it off of the baking sheet and onto a few layers of parchment paper.
  • Frost your snowflake however you like. I like to lightly frost it so that the cinnamon swirl show through. I used less than half of the frosting that I made and served the rest alongside for dipping. This is completely up to you! I lightly dusted the snowflake with powdered sugar after frosting because it looked pretty. You can skip this if you want to. Or you can skip the frosting and just dust it with powdered sugar. Serve warm and enjoy!

Recipe Video

Notes

  • This cinnamon roll recipe is not my own. This is my favorite cinnamon roll recipe (doubled except for the frosting) and it’s by Ambitious Kitchen. The snowflake instructions are mine.

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8 Comments

    • Hi! I haven’t tested leaving the dough to rise overnight. I would bake it ahead, hold off on frosting, reheat it the next day and then frost. It is possible that the dough would be fine in the fridge overnight, but since I haven’t tried, I can’t say for sure.

  1. How do you store it after baked? Does it need to be sealed and left out on the counter, left out uncovered or put into the fridge? Will it get hard?

    • Hi! This is something that people have differing opinions on. I personally feel that anything with a cream cheese frosting should be stored in the fridge. If you didn’t use cream cheese frosting, then it’s find to leave the pastry out on the counter. Either way, an airtight container is definitely recommended so that it doesn’t harden. I hope that helps!

    • Hi Lori! Great question, thank you! I have not tested this particular recipe, but almond milk can be substituted for whole milk at a 1:1 ratio generally in baking. One important thing to note is that your pastry may bake more quickly with almond milk because it has water in it and whole milk doesn’t. So keep an eye on it in the oven and maybe start to check on it a few minutes earlier than the cooking time that I noted. I hope this helps!

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