Total 2 hours and 15 minutes (includes rising time)
Active 45 mins
Makes 24 squares
These are, hands down, my kids’ favorite breakfast. Who am I kidding? They’re my favorite, too, especially when served alongside eggs—I can’t get enough of that combination of sweet and salty. These are definitely a labor of love, but honestly I think we all enjoy preparing them almost as much as we like to eat them. I’m in my happy place anytime I get to work with dough. Mixing the ingredients together into a cohesive whole, draping a towel over the bowl and letting the dough rise, punching it down, and then rolling, filling, and shaping it—the ritual of every step brings me pure joy. Whenever I bust out the ingredients for these squares, the kids know it’s a good day. I make these a lot during school holidays when there’s time in the morning for them to help. Duke and Emmie stand at attention with the measured ingredients waiting for the sign from me that they can dump them into the bowl, and then the older two help me roll out the dough and compose each layer. Drake loves that he’s finally allowed to use a big knife to cut the squares before they’re baked, and then he and Ella apply the egg wash to the tops of them. The kids understand that the bit of extra effort required for these squares makes them something really special.
I think it probably helps that these squares are the best iteration of a cinnamon roll that any of us has ever tasted. It can be hard to get a good balance with cinnamon rolls—they either have too much bread or too much cinnamon. The way I make these, rolling and folding them repeatedly so that the filling is between several thin layers of dough, results in a square that has a perfect amount of both bread and cinnamon, so every bite is balanced.