Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls

All pictures by Sarah Hill (THANK YOU!)

We have a neighbor who has graciously plowed our driveway for the past eighteen winters.  The arrangement used to go something like this: when the forecast predicted snow I would make sure I had all the ingredients for cinnamon rolls.  The snow would come, I would prepare the dough.  The storm would pass and the neighbor would plow the driveway while I baked the rolls.  With the driveway cleared, Scott would deliver the warm rolls.  It seemed like a fairly good arrangement.  Then one year Scott decided it would be a good idea to buy a used snowblower from some friends who were moving to California. When our friend with the plow found out about this disruption he said, "Wait - I thought you were intelligent people!  Every time it snows Scott gets his driveway plowed AND warm cinnamon rolls. And now he chooses to blow his own snow and neither of us gets cinnamon rolls?" 

Scott claims a belt or some other essential part broke on that snowblower after he used it once or twice. I'm not so sure....

Cinnamon Rolls

½ cup warm water (about 105 degrees)
5 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix (don't judge me)
2 cups milk
½ cup butter, melted and cooled a bit
2 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
8-9 cups flour (36 to 40 ounces)

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups light brown sugar
½ cup flour
2 tablespoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream

In a medium bowl combine warm water, yeast, and sugar.  Whisk until dissolved and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, prepare pudding mix according to package directions (I warm the milk first to about 105 degrees).  Add melted butter, eggs and salt; mix briefly.  Add yeast mixture and mix until incorporated.  Switch to dough hook; gradually add enough flour to make a soft dough; knead about 5 minutes.  Place dough in a greased bowl,  cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.  Punch down and let rise again. I always let the dough rise the second time overnight in the fridge. It is much easier to roll out this way.

Prepare the filling by mixing the butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl until a paste forms.

Line three 10-inch cake pans with parchment paper (see photo).

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured counter top to a very large rectangle, about 34" x 21".  Using an offset spatula, spread filling over entire surface of dough.  Starting on a long side, roll dough into a cylinder. Using your sharpest serrated knife, cut dough into 18 rolls. 

Place 6 rolls in each pan.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 10 to 15 minutes while oven preheats to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and place pans in oven (I can only fit 2 pans in my oven at a time). Bake about 30 to 35 minutes or until rolls are light brown.   While rolls are baking prepare frosting by whisking vanilla, powdered sugar and heavy cream until smooth. Add more cream if necessary to achieve a drizzle. Let rolls rest for 5 to 10 minutes in pans then drizzle with frosting. Serve warm.

Sprinkle counter or table top with flour.

Roll dough into a large rectangle 34" x 21".

Occasionally lift dough and sprinkle more flour underneath.

Spread filling evenly over dough.

Starting along long edge roll dough into a cylinder.

Cut dough into 18 even pieces.
Place 6 rolls into each pan

Trim excess paper from pans

Bake, drizzle with frosting and eat warm.


  1. Thank you for posting this recipe! Because no one has ever made cinnamon rolls as good as yours. And I'll now have to give it my best attempt!

  2. Lynnette, Lynnette, Lynnette...bless you. I first tried these cinnamon rolls on our house CT hunting trip in May 2007. And I have never forgotten them. Oh, no, I have not. I wish it would hurry up and snow, because I really want to make these NOW.

  3. Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I made these early this morning for Sam's birthday. He really really liked them. They are so rich and filling, Sam's going to try and win some friends at work by bringing some in to save our waistlines! I'll have to make it again to practice, the butter brown sugar filling was too thick, and so I had to add a few more tablespoons of butter. (That fact my offset spatula is still packed may have contributed to my trouble spreading it too!) My rolls came out larger, and I had to squeeze them into the pan. I may need to roll out less, or roll tighter so that I can fit them and so they don't rise as much in the middle while cooking.

    All in all they are fantastic - and Sam was very happy to wake up to the smell of them baking!!! Thank you again!

    1. Sam just let me know that I really impressed his boss with these cinnamon rolls. He said they were the best he's ever had!

      He said I should forget all the nutrition stuff that I do, and just open up a cinnamon roll shop! It's all because of this recipe!!!

  4. Just made these for Ben's (my ben..haha) birthday! He loved them! I loved them. Pretty sure the baby loved them!
    It was actually my first time making bread dough on my own..ever! And it was such a success thanks to your great instructions and fantastic recipe! The smell brought me straight back to the Strobel home! :)

  5. One time, many years ago, Scott told me to get a hobby. And I told him lab was my hobby. But now I think baking bread is going to be my second hobby. And I'm going to start here.