Christmas tree cinnamon rolls are not only incredibly cute, but delicious, too! Made using a mochi bread dough, these rolls are delightfully crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. They're also gluten-free and super easy to make! Decorated with an icing sugar glaze, some colored sprinkles, and a dusting of powder sugar, they are perfect for serving up during the holidays!
Everyone loves a good cinnamon roll...how about making a festive version for the holidays??
What You'll Need
- Glutinous rice flour (also called sweet rice flour)
- Baking powder
- An egg
- Icing sugar
How To Make the Dough
In a small pot or saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter. Heat just until the butter melts and the mixture is steaming slightly. Don't allow it to boil.
In a bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk together.
Add the hot milk-butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together and no loose flour is left. The mixture will be pebbly and crumbly.
Add a beaten egg to the bowl and mix well until a dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a work surface lightly dusted with glutinous rice flour or tapioca starch. Work with you hands to press it into a cohesive dough and shape it roughly into a brick.
With a dusted rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle, approximately 10" x 6".
Spread the melted butter over the dough and then sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture evenly over the entire surface, rubbing the sugar-cinnamon in with the back of the spoon.
Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 strips lengthwise.
How to Make the Trees
Carefully take one strip of dough and turn it onto it's long edge. Starting at one end, fold the dough to make the top of the tree and continue folding the dough loosely, back and forth to make a tree shape, adjusting the strip as necessary.
Poke one toothpick through the bottom of the tree and another toothpick into the top, to hold the shape together. Transfer the tree to a buttered baking sheet and repeat with the remaining strips of dough.
Bake in a preheated 375F/190C oven for 20 minutes.
Let the trees cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely before decorating, about 15 minutes. Remove toothpicks.
Decorating the Christmas Trees
Icing Sugar Glaze
In a small bowl, combine the powdered/icing sugar and teaspoon of milk. Mix it well until it all comes together into a thick glaze. You know you have the right consistency when you can "drizzle" the glaze.
Drizzle the glaze over the trees how ever you want. Alternatively, you can make 1 ½ times the amount of sugar glaze, mix it in a shallow plate and dip the trees into it for a more even coating.
If using colored sprinkles, add them immediately after icing each tree so that they stick to the glaze while it is still wet. (ie. Don't glaze all the trees first and then add the sprinkles because the glaze will most likely dry by then and the sprinkles will just roll off.)
Icing Sugar "Snow"
Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, for a "snowy" effect!
Commonly Asked Questions
They are best eaten the same day they are made. You can get away with warming them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds the next day, but they are the most delicious soon after you make them.
No. You have to use glutinous rice flour (aka sweet rice flour) for this recipe. Regular rice flour will not work.
No. "Glutinous" refers to the sticky, chewy quality this type of rice flour takes on when cooked. It is gluten-free.
Sorry, but I do not know how these rolls would turn out if non-dairy substitutions are made.
It is best to make the Christmas tree rolls all in one go, from start to finish. Making the dough ahead of time make cause it to dry out, affecting the shaping of the trees and the end result.
No, they will not freeze well. They are best made and eaten right away.
These Christmas tree cinnamon rolls are adapted from my recipe for Mochi Cinnamon Rolls, which I make all the time. Just like the rolls, the trees are super easy to make, crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside, and they'll look mighty festive on your breakfast plate Christmas morning!
Mochi Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls
- ½ cup milk
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 large egg, beaten
Basic Icing Sugar Glaze:
- ½ cup icing sugar
- 2 teaspoons milk or water
- Colored sprinkles
- Icing sugar, for dusting on top
- Preheat oven 350F/190C.
- Grease the bottom of a baking pan with butter (not melted). Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the filling and set aside.
Making the Trees:
- In a mixing bowl, combine the glutinous rice flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk together.
- Heat the milk and butter in a small pot or saucepan over medium heat until butter has just melted. Do not allow to boil.
- Pour the hot milk and butter mixture into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon or spatula until no loose flour remains. The mixture will be pebbly and crumbly.
- Add the beaten egg and mix well until a dough forms.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface lightly dusted with glutinous rice flour and work with your hands to make it a cohesive dough. Shape roughly into a rectangular brick.
- Dust a rolling pin with glutinous rice flour and roll the dough out into a rectangle, approximately 10" x 6". Shape the edges with your hands to get it the sides and corners mostly straight.
- Brush dough with melted butter, then sprinkle the entire cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the surface. Rub the cinnamon sugar mixture in with the back of the spoon.
- Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into 8 equal strips lengthwise so you end up with 8 long strips.
- Carefully take a strip of dough and turn it onto it's edge. Starting at one end, start gently and loosely folding the dough back and forth to make a tree shape. If the dough cracks at the folds, simply press the cracks together with your fingers.
- Pierce a toothpick into the top of the tree and another toothpick into the bottom to keep it together while baking. Place on the greased baking sheet and repeat with the remaining strips of dough.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Let cool slightly before transferring to a cooling rack. Remove toothpicks.
Decorating the Trees:
- Icing Sugar Glaze: In a small bowl, combine the icing sugar and milk and mix well. Do not add too much milk, otherwise the glaze will be too runny.
- Decorate one tree at a time: drizzle icing sugar glaze on tree and then add sprinkles right away so that they adhere while the glaze is still wet.
- To add a dusting of "snow", shake icing sugar through a sieve over the trees.
- Best eaten the same day they are made.
- Glutinous rice flour = sweet rice flour = Mochiko rice flour.
- Remember to remove the toothpicks before decorating.
- Decorate the trees one at a time by adding the colored sprinkles right after drizzling on the icing sugar glaze. The glaze can dry quickly, so you want to make sure to add the colored sprinkles right away so they stick to the wet glaze.
- The Christmas tree cinnamon rolls are best eaten the same day they are made.
- If you do have any leftover, the trees can be microwaved for 10-20 seconds to soften, but keep in mind that they won't be as pretty. The color from the sprinkles will most likely bleed into the glaze.