Cinnamon Roll Cookies

People who live in Midwestern cities such as Grand Forks, Fargo, Bemidji and Bismarck have the best of both worlds. They have the amenities of urban life while being just minutes away from the serenity of the countryside.

The following recipe, which Los Angeles Times food writer Noelle Carter adapted from one shared by San Diego bakery the Cravery, combines the best of both worlds.

According to Carter, you get “little creations which look and taste like a cinnamon roll but neatly compact with a cookie crumb.”

Cinnamon Roll Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
½ cup (3½ ounces) sugar
1 cup (8 ounces) brown sugar
¼ cup (1 ounce) powdered sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups plus 1 teaspoon (13 ounces) unbleached flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup (1 ounce) cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined, then beat in the vanilla extract.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
With the mixer running, slowly beat in the flour mixture just until combined, being careful not to overmix. Remove the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until well-chilled, at least 1 hour.
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped toasted pecans
½ cup (4 ounces) light brown sugar
¼ cup ( ½ stick) butter, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Shortly before assembling the cookies, prepare the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the pecans, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, mixing until well-combined.
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean, scraped
Zest of ½ orange (optional)
3 tablespoons milk
Flour a cutting board or work surface. Turn the dough out on to the work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 10- by 10-inch square.
Spread the filling gently but evenly over the dough.
Gently roll the dough into a tight log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the glaze: In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, whisk together the cream cheese and butter. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar, then the vanilla bean and orange zest (if using). Finally, whisk in the milk until the glaze is smooth and thick.
Grease 2 (12-cup) muffin tins. Remove the dough log from the refrigerator and cut the log into half-inch-thick slices. Place each slice in a greased muffin cup.
Bake the cookies until the tops are slightly browned, about 15 minutes, rotating halfway for even baking.
Remove the cookies and cool, still in the muffin tins, on a rack. Using a fork, generously drizzle the glaze over the baked cookies before serving.
Yield: 24 cookies
Approximate nutritional analysis per cookies: 311 calories, 3 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 15 grams fat (8 grams saturated), fat, 54 milligrams cholesterol, 27 grams sugar, 119 milligrams sodium.