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Gooey Cinnamon Date Rolls

4 Minute Read

Written by Abby

Ooey gooey cinnamon date rolls made with a sticky caramel-like date filling and slathered with a sweet cream cheese glaze. A delicious and decadent treat inspired by the season of Ramadan. Recipe co-created by Zaynab Issa and Mehreen Karim.

With the season of Ramadan upon us, we wanted to highlight recipes inspired by Middle Eastern culture and traditions that use medjool dates (of course)! To help us celebrate the beautiful food culture of Ramadan, we partnered with Zaynab Issa and Mehreen Karim to bring you the most delicious Gooey Cinnamon Date Rolls that are Iftar-worthy.  

They’re everything you know and love about a cinnamon roll but taken up a few notches. An ooey gooey filling made with sticky caramel-like dates and cinnamon rolled up between a fluffy dough, and topped with a rich sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese glaze for the most stunning sticky cinnamon rolls.

gooey cinnamon date rolls

Zaynab and Mehreen found inspiration for these stunning cinnamon rolls from their family traditions.

"Dates are a historical token of every Ramadan Iftar (the meal to break fast), but let’s face it – we aren’t reaching for them  otherwise. At the end of the month of Ramadan, we’re usually left with a large rubbermaid container filled with unused dates. To use up the extra stock, my mom used to make a delicious date cake flavored with cinnamon and topped with a sweetened condensed milk and coconut topping. That was great, but these are better."

gooey cinnamon date rolls

Ingredients for the dough:

    1. Milk
      • You want this to be at room temperature by the time you're ready to start making the dough. Do not overheat the milk or it will most likely kill the yeast and the dough won't rise. We recommend whole milk or 2% but nothing less than 2%. 
    2. Instant Yeast
      • This helps create a tender and fluffy dough in a pinch. Instant yeast will swiftly activate and mix into the rest of the wet ingredients with no need for blooming.
    3. Eggs 
      • Acts as a binder to create the perfect texture and rich consistency in the dough.
    4. Butter
      • Essential for rich and fluffy cinnamon rolls!Salted or unsalted butter works either way. 
    5. All Purpose Flour
      • We need flour for our rolls or else that would be one flat dessert! 
    6. Granulated Sugar
      • This is to sweeten the cinnamon roll dough and also helps to feed/activate the yeast.
    7. Nutmeg
      • This elevates the flavor of the dough.
    8. Salt
      • Salt controls the rate of yeast fermentation--which basically means it slows down how fast the dough rises (you don't want it rising too fast)! It also strengthens the gluten bonds, so you have fluffy af cinnamon rolls. 

gooey cinnamon date rolls

Ingredients for the filling:

    1. Joolies pitted dates
      • This palm tree candy gives us that amazing ooey, gooey texture we want to experience when we dig in and a boost of nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins!
    2. Heavy Cream
      • Adding heavy cream into our filling creates a more "whipped" texture and with it's higher fat content, won't curdle. 
    3. Cinnamon
      •  Adds FLAVOR and complements the medjool dates so well.

gooey cinnamon date roll

Ingredients for the icing:

    1. Cream Cheese
      • The tartness of the  cream cheese helps to balance out the sweetness of the rolls. Full fat or light will both work, just keep in mind a higher fat content creates a richer taste.
    2. Sweetened Condensed Milk
      • Provides sweet, creamy milky flavor without all the extra moisture from regular milk. 
    3. Toasted Shredded Coconut and Pistachios
      • This adds a bit of crunch and warm, toasty flavors. Optional but highly recommended! 
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If you make this ooey gooey cinnamon date roll for Iftar, brunch, or just cause, be sure to tag us on Instagram @jooliesdates and use the hashtag #jooliesdates so we can see all your date-able recreations of this date recipe! And you can always comment below! 
 
 gooey cinnamon date rolls

 

Gooey Cinnamon Date Rolls

created by Zaynab Issa and Mehren Karim

  • prep time: 2.5 hours
  • Bake time: 20 minutes
  • total time: 3 hours
Servings: 12
 
INGREDIENTS:

DOUGH:

  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 1 packet or 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast 
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted  
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg 
  • 4 - 4 ½  cups of all purpose flour

FILLING: 

  • 2 cups Joolies pitted dates, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, optional but highly recommended
  • ¼ cup heavy cream 

ICING:

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 4 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • Toasted shredded coconut 
  • Toasted Pistachios

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Whisk together the milk, eggs, melted butter, yeast, and sugar, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add 4 cups of flour and mix to incorporate. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead by hand for about 5 minutes or until smooth, using additional flour (up to ½ cup) as needed to form a smooth ball. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. 
  2. In the meantime, place the dates in a shallow bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let sit for at least 20 minutes. Once the dates have hydrated and softened, using a fork, mix them until a smooth paste is formed. Depending on the type of dates being used and how long you soak them, you may need to blitz the dates in a blender or food processor to achieve a paste-like consistency. Then, stir in the cinnamon and heavy cream and set aside.
  3. Once the dough has risen, return it to the work surface and roll it into a rectangle, about a ¼ inch thick. Spread over the date mixture, roll it up starting from the longside, and use a knife or floss to cut them into 12 even rolls. 
  4. Butter a 9x13 baking dish, arrange the rolls in the dish, and let them rise again for 30 minutes. While the dough is proofing, preheat the oven to 375℉. 
  5. Once the rolls have puffed up, bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned on the tops. 
  6. In the meantime, prepare the frosting by whisking together the softened cream cheese and the sweetened condensed milk. 
  7. Remove the rolls from the oven, let them cool for at least 10 minutes, then spread over the icing and sprinkle with the shredded coconut and pistachios. 
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