A delicious and decadent treat, perfect for special occasions or Christmas morning. Can be made ahead and frozen, even the icing!
Brown Sugar Goo:
1 1/2cupsbrown sugar
2 1/4cupsall-purpose flour
1 1/2tspinstant dry yeast
1cupmilkscaled and cooled to lukewarm
1/2tspvanillaor vanilla bean paste
1/4cupvegetable oilor canola oil
Cream Cheese Icing:
6ozcream cheesesoftened (3/4 of standard block)
1tspvanilla or vanilla bean paste
Make Brown Sugar Goo: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add brown sugar and stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, stirring, then remove from heat and stir in cream and salt. Remove to a bowl, cover and allow to cool to room temperature.
Make Cinnamon Roll Bites: Heat milk in saucepan or microwave until 180° and set aside to cool to lukewarm. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flours yeast, salt and white sugar. Add lukewarm milk, egg, vanilla and vegetable oil. Mix to combine. Add more flour, as necessary until dough is moist and smooth. Remove to a greased bowl and allow to rise until doubled, 60-90 minutes.
Remove risen dough to a floured surface. Roll into a rectangle 15-inches wide by 20 inches long. Spread dough with softened butter and then combine the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle dough with most of the cinnamon sugar (reserve a Tbsp. or so). With the short side facing you, cut dough in to 3 pieces 5-inches wide and 20-inches long. Starting with the long side of each strip, roll jelly-roll style and pinch seams together. Place the 3 rolls side by side on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut the logs into 1/2-inch pieces. Place pieces into a large bowl, sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar and toss well. Take 1/3 cup of your cooled Brown Sugar Goo and toss with the dough pieces, mixing well.
Prepare 8 ramekins on a baking sheet and grease or line with a piece of parchment paper (I do recommend the parchment, if you have some, as it will help to keep the icing and goo inside instead of going over the edge. Large tulip-shaped muffin lines will also work). Divide dough pieces between the 8 ramekins. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise until puffy, 30-40 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 350° When dough is ready to bake, place baking sheet with ramekins on it in to the oven and place a large piece of tinfoil loosely over the top. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon the remaining Brown Sugar Goo over-top, dividing it equally between all the ramekins. Return to the oven and bake (again, loosely covered with the tin foil), for an additional 5 minutes. Remove tinfoil and bake for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven and then remove ramekins to a cooling rack to cool.
Serve with cream cheese icing as is, or heat it for 10-15 seconds in the microwave and pour it over the top of the ramekins.
To make ahead and freeze: Allow bites to cool on a baking rack, then slide the ramekins in to a large freezer bag. Freeze. To thaw, remove from freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature overnight (or 4 hours or sin the freezer bag. Can be warmed individually in the microwave. You can also freeze the Cream Cheese Icing in a freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the fridge or for several hours at room temperature.
Be sure to read the "Cook's Notes" in the original post, for more tips, options, substitutions and variations for this recipe!