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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls

What's that phrase? Nothing says loving like something from the oven! Refrigerator rolls have made it easy to pop dinner and dessert rolls in the oven with very little effort but what if you could do the exact same thing except cheaper? Well you can! Consider what ingredients are in refrigerator cinnamon rolls. There is flour as the main ingredient, a bit of butter or most likely butter flavouring, milk solids, yeast, water, sugar, salt and cinnamon, all very cheap ingredients to begin with. The icing consists of icing sugar, milk and vanilla. What you don't notice in the refrigerator rolls in general is the preservatives and artificial flavours that can easily be avoided by making your own.

I decided to make cinnamon rolls today. This post is going to be a more graphic intensive but I really want to show you how easy it is do make these at home for a fraction of the cost of those pop open and bake refrigerator rolls. Total ingredient costs for 24 to 30 sweet rolls is approximately 50¢ at today's cost plus about 5¢ for electricity but you would use the fuel costs for baking anyway so the cost comparison is without electricity. Refrigerator rolls will cost you 3 to 4 times that amount as well as being packaged in environmentally unfriendly packaging. The longest amount of time require for this recipe is the rising times other than that prep time would total likely less than 15 minutes.

The basic method for any yeast bread when using a stand mixer or any other method is to mix the dry ingredients well then add the wet ingredients adding more flour as needed to get a smooth, elastic ball (1). Now here is the beauty of the following Traditional Sweet Roll Dough recipe that follows. Make the full recipe then divide in half. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board then form and cut in half (2). Refrigerate one half for use within 3 - 4 days or you could freeze for later use. Place the remaining dough into the stand mixer bowl, cover with a damp towel and allow to stand in a warm place until doubled in size. Once the dough has finished the first proof, punch it down and roll it out. I don't roll but rather use my fingers to form a rectangle (3). The rectangle is then brushed with melted butter. The original recipe said to use softened butter but I find I can reduce the amount of butter used and get better results using melted butter and a silicone brush.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon mixture together then spread evenly over the buttered dough (5). This will make a little mess but that is easily cleaned up. Try to get close to all the edges. Starting at the long end (6) begin rolling the dough and filling. Do not press hard because this dough is a bit softer than other yeast dough so use a light touch. When you are finished rolling you will end up with a log (7). Carefully turn the log so the seam is on the bottom. This makes it easier to cut the log. Use a serrated knife (8) and slowly cut through the log to form 1- inch thick slices. The original recipe* that has been quite modified by me said to cut into 15 equal pieces. I found that 12 - 15 pieces give a better result with leaning more towards 12 pieces. When you cut each piece leave it standing upwards then slide your knife under and carefully transfer to the pan to minimize the sugar filling from spilling out.

Place each cut piece onto a Silpat or silicone baking sheet lined baking sheet (9). Cover the pieces with a damp towel and set in a warm spot until doubled (10). Bake at 375ºF for 25 minutes or until golden brown (11). Remove from oven and drizzle with icing (12).

The original recipe and instructions came from an old version of Betty Crocker but both the ingredients and method have been modified quite a bit so the following recipe no longer resembles the original. This recipe is a family staple, easily made without even looking at the recipe. This is a recipe you will want to print out and save! This sweet roll dough recipe can be used as the basis for many sweet rolls and coffee cakes.

Traditional Sweet Roll Dough

4½ - 5 c unbleached flour
½ c organic sugar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp instant yeast
1 c lukewarm milk
2 eggs
½ c softened butter

Place 4 c of the flour and the other the dry ingredients in a KitchenAid® stand mixer bowl, reserving the remaining flour. Mix on speed 1 until well mixed. Hand beat the eggs. Stir into the milk and butter. With the mixer on setting 1 slowly add the wet ingredients slowly while continuing to mix. Add in the extra flour 1 tbsp at a time while still on setting one. When the dough cleans the bowl sides knead on setting 2 until the dough is smooth and elastic. Proceed as desired.

Cinnamon Rolls

½ recipe Traditional Sweet Roll Dough
1 tbsp butter melted
¼ c organic sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
icing (recipe follows)

Melt the butter then brush the dough with the butter. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together then sprinkle evenly over the dough. Roll the dough as above. Cut into 1 - inch pieces across the log. Place onto Silpat or silicone lined baking pan. Bake at 375ºF until golden brown. Remove from oven. Spread icing on the rolls while still hot.


1½ cup icing sugar
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp pure vanilla

Mix together. It the icing is too stiff add just a little extra milk ¼ tsp at a time. The icing should be somewhat stiff but not too stiff.

6 food lovers commented:

Lola said...

These look delicious. I have one question though, what is "icing sugar"? Is that the same as Powdered Sugar?

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Lola. Yes icing sugar is also known as powdered sugar or confectioner's sugar depending on the location. If you click the link for icing sugar in this article it will take you to the previous article I wrote on this giving more detail. HTH

Anonymous said...

Whew I made this recipe and it turned out amazing. I love the icing on top of the hot cinnamon roll. thanks for posting the fantastic instructions!

Garden Gnome said...

That was quick baking Anonymous. I'm glad you enjoyed the cinnamon rolls.

Gillian said...

This looks wonderful. I have a new stand mixer and hope to christen it with this recipe! One silly question, though: does it require 1 tsp of cinnamon? In your recipe it says "t" instead of a number. :)

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Gillian. I do apologize for the typo. Yes it should be 1 tsp (teaspoon) and I have corrected the error. That's what I get for typing too fast and not proofreading.