Friday, November 13, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

Everyone's favorite right? Pretty much.

I love making these, they are way too good! The recipe I use says they are like the cinnabon rolls and I have to agree. Delicious and yet they don't contain all the preservatives and chemicals etc. that the cinnabon one's must have in them which is a definite plus. They are also probably the easiest baked good I ever make even though you make them from absolute scratch; starting with yeast, making the dough and letting it rise. Trust me, so so easy.

I like to do things a little different though.

I can't stop myself from wanting to cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs one at a time and then add the flour alternating with the milk/yeast mixture even though they tell me to just throw all the ingredients together. I just can't. It's too engrained in me. However, last time I'm pretty sure by adding the flour stepwise with the milk/yeast it overworked the dough and caused the gluten to break down a bit....that or I over baked them....which I did. Also, don't be tempted by the bread hook for the Kitchen Aid. It didn't work. I fell for it.

In all the times I've made these babies before, I've never overbaked them. I actually tend to underbake most everything because....well, it's just better. A little chewiness goes a long way. It was tricky for me this time though for some reason. Every time I looked in the oven, the rolls looked i kept baking and kept baking. I took them out probably 5 minutes after the recommended bake time and they looked gorgeous but it's a fine line with dough. Too long in the oven is way too long. It's like an exponential curve. Same is true of batters and well anything else that is baked. So when you bake these, and I highly recommend that you do, bake them for about 10-12 mintues and no longer. I realized a great test for seeing if they are done is keep an eye on the bottom of your baking pan (I like to use a glass caserole dish) and you can see if the butter that you lightly greased the pan with is burning. Also, the rolls tend to bake through first on the bottoms and sides, where they are touching the pan. So instead of checking the tops (like I made the mistake of doing), check the sides and bottom as well. Just a hint that I think works pretty well.

Aside from bake time issues, these are a cinch to make. You just mix everything up. Yes, cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs one at a time and the milk/yeast, but then just as a cup or two of flour, until you can form a lump and transfer it to a bowl. Work in the rest of the flour with your hands. Will make for happy gluten.

Let it rise for an hour. I put a heating pad under the bowl and a towel on top to help it rise. This is especially helpful in the winter when it's not warm enough (at least in my apartment!) for the dough to rise. After it's doubled in size (I'm kind of flexible on this amount) you roll it out to about 21in by 16in. Spread with a huge amount of butter (1/3C) and a ton of cinnamon and sugar and then roll up starting from the short side. Then cut in about 1.5in sections and place them in a baking pan. Then bake for ~10 minutes.

Let cool and frost with my old standby, vanilla buttercream. You can make it as thick or thin as you want depending on preferences. I made my a little thinner this time and I really liked it on the rolls, however, I would say a thick dollop on top is probably more satisfying.

For the buttercream I always use these proportions (yes I have them memorized.....):
1/4C butter
2C powdered sugar
1tsp. vanilla
~3Tbs. heavy cream

Photos by Collin Monda


  1. Hey Al - I just made caramel-pecan rolls last weekend and they turned out perfect. I sent a pan over to my Dad and Matt. I'll give you the recipe if you want - it's one my mom has been baking since i was a kid.

  2. oh nice, that's awesome. Yea I would love the recipe. I'm not a huge nuts-in-desserts person but hey I can't just bake for myself all the time!!

  3. I've never tried buttercream on cinnamon rolls. Hmmmm, makes much sense to me, though. I just made Clone of a Cinnabon cinnamon rolls from allrecipes, but I've never tried this recipe you posted. I'm going to check it out. Your rolls look amazing. You're making me crave more rolls!

  4. OMG- a heating pad!!! You are a genius! I have an old cold house, with even colder granite countertops. Wintertime is the worst for rising (I usually mix at night, then proof overnight in the fridge, form and bake in the morning. Hot, sweet, fresh rolls!)
    Looks great, thanks for the tip.

  5. Oh that frosting sounds yuumy indeed. My husband has requested my buns for his birthday, Let me rephrase that. My husband has requested my cinnamon buns as his cake for his bday. I think I will use your frosting recipe. Nice!

  6. Hah Lori, I definitely giggled a bit when I read that line. Great idea for a birthday "cake"! I'm glad you're going to try out the buttercream. I promise, you won't be disappointed!

  7. Tango K,

    That's a great idea too! Also, you can try out putting them in the oven in a heat proof bowl on your lowest setting for about 15 minutes. The dough rises super fast at 200 degrees. Just make sure to crack the door to make it even cooler. Great if you're in a rush.

  8. Thanks Memoria! Let me know how they turn out for you. I think the buttercream is a great upgrade from a regular frosting, but I happen to LOVE butter....and sugar. So it's a natural choice for me really.