Cinnamon Rolls

Lent. It’s a period of reflection, devotion, sacrifice, and non-chocolate goods. Why, you ask? Every year my mom gives up chocolate for the season and every year she makes it through unscathed. The task used to be much more difficult. When I was younger, chocolate wasn’t even in sight and we’d all have to be careful about sneaking some here and there so as not to make her long to share in our chocolate-covered happiness. Nowadays, we eat chocolate in front of her without fear of repercussion and even consume entire boxes of chocolate goods without saving any for her to have later. Mean, I know, but COME ON. Can’t let good chocolate just sit there.

When I bake, however, I always want my Mom to be able to share. Unfortunately I’ve been on a chocolate kick lately so picking out a non-chocolate recipe was a bit difficult. Difficult, that is, until Pioneer Woman showed up with these cinnamon rolls.



These rolls were uh-may-zing. My brother said, “This is the most cinnamon-y roll I’ve ever had. Usually cinnamon rolls are sugary. This one is cinnamon-y. And.. buttery.” Pretty accurate analysis. He did, however, leave out that fact that they’re completely melt-in-your-mouth satisfying and while you’ll feel guilty reaching for a fourth second helping you won’t feel that guilty because they’re that good.

Make them. NOW.

Cinnamon Rolls

adapted from the Pioneer Woman, recipe halved because the original makes 40-50

2 c whole milk [I used 2% as I keep nothing else on hand.]
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c sugar
1 package active dry yeast
4 c flour, plus 1/2 c separated
1/2 heaping tsp baking powder
1/2 scant tsp baking soda
1/2 heaping tbsp salt

1 c melted butter, plus more as needed [really??.. YES]
cinnamon, a lot of it
1 c sugar, plus more as needed

Maple Icing
3 c powdered sugar
1/4 c milk
2 tbsp butter, melted
1/8 c brewed coffee, plus a tablespoon or two to taste
[I used about 1/4 c because I looooove coffee and didn’t have the maple flavoring. Does this substitution make sense? Not really. But it was still delicious.]
Pinch of salt
1 tsp maple flavoring or maple extract [apparently this makes the frosting but I couldn’t find any in my grocery store so I substituted vanilla]


Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat until just before the boiling point then turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour or until lukewarm.

Sprinkle in yeast and let sit for a minute. Add 4 cups of all-purpose flour, stir, and cover with a towel to let rise for at least an hour.

After rising, add remaining 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate up to two days or make right away. [I refrigerated overnight.]

Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Form a rough rectangle by hand with dough (if using full recipe, work with dough in halves). Then using a rolling pin, roll into a thin rectangle. Drizzle melted butter over the dough. [This will be messy!] Then sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over dough.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Cut the rolls approximately 3/4 to 1 inch thick and lay in buttered pie pans. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees for aluminum or 350 for glass pans until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes [mine took 16].

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy and don’t skimp on the frosting.

Absolutely perfect on a cold winter day. Or anytime you get around to making them.

Mm-mm good.

– Sharlene


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