Who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls? I know I do, and I even make them on occasion. I’m not afraid to work with yeast and there’s just something about a warm homemade cinnamon roll that defies description.
But this is real life. Sometimes it’s 10 p.m. and you remember, as you’re about to climb into bed, that you promised a group of students you’d feed them at your 7:30 a.m. meeting. And since cinnamon rolls are certainly not happening, you rack your brain for a simpler solution. Something mouth-watering, yes, but something that comes together quickly.
That’s where these cinnamon roll bars come in. The base is a box cake mix, so it doesn’t take too many more ingredients for them to come together. I love to bake the bars the night before, then whip up the frosting in the morning and frost them right before I walk out the door.
These bars are so easy, yet so moist and rich, that they could easily become a new make-ahead holiday favorite. Or, if you really love the people in your life, make them this weekend.
Cinnamon Roll Bars
adapted from Cookies & Cups
For the bars:
1 box white or yellow cake mix
3/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar (I’ve used light or dark; both work fine)
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cinnamon
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling (optional)
For the frosting:
1 8 oz. brick of cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract