Friday, December 17, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls, the quintessential comfort food. 





Personally, I can think of few higher culinary delights than the consumption of warm homemade cinnamon rolls. 

With a good cup of coffee.

In the company of friends and family.

Which is why I've been making them every Christmas for the past several years. 

But this year, I'm trying a new recipe.

Dangerous, I know, but I fully trust the source.

The Pioneer Woman.

Ever heard of her? 

She's amazing. 


This is her recipe, and although she has also photographed these steps on her awesome, wildly successful blog (she recently prepared these rolls live on the Today Show with Al Roker.  She's big-time), I thought I'd just do the same for my sweet little blog as well.

This method of cinnamon roll preparation is new to me.  

But it makes complete sense.

Please note:  if you are planning to bake the rolls the day you prepare the dough, it will take about 3-4 hours start to finish. 

But there are multiple points along the way where you can jump ship, refrigerate the dough, and start again the next day. 

This is a large recipe and makes about 50 or so rolls.  (Perfect for giving away or freezing.) 

But you can easily halve it.

So without further ado...

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, mix together:

one quart whole milk,

 one cup vegetable or canola oil,

 and one cup of sugar.

Timothy was fascinated.
So I gave a quick little science lesson
about how water-based liquids and oil don't mix.

Put the pot on the stove and scald the milk (heat it to just this side of boiling).  (Keep an eye on it!)

Then turn off the heat and let it cool for about 45 minutes or an hour.

When the milk mixture is no longer hot but is a little warmer than lukewarm
(a thermometer should read somewhere between 115-120 degrees),
add two packages of yeast.

Let the yeast mingle with the
warm milk mixture until it looks something like this.
(No need to stir it.)

Now we're going to add eight cups of flour to the milk/yeast mixture. 

A quick measuring tip.

Accuracy is everything in baking. 

I always use the "scoop and level" technique when I'm baking.

First I scoop out the flour with my measuring cup.

Then I use a knife to level off the top,

leaving me with exactly one cup.

Add the eight cups of flour to the yeast mixture.

And stir.

Cover the pot and let it rest for at least an hour.

Then it will look something like this.
 At this point, you can stop and refrigerate the dough for up to two days. 

Just make sure it is well-covered. 

I would suggest spraying a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and
loosely laying it over the dough and then putting the lid on the pan.

What a crying shame it would be for this loveliness to get dried out.

If the dough tries to escape from the pan, just "punch" it back down.

When you're ready to progress,
add in another leveled cup of flour,

a heaping teaspoon of baking powder,

and a "scant" (less than full) teaspoon of baking soda.

Mix well with a sturdy wooden spoon.

Prepare a "rolling station".

Divide the dough in half
and plop it down on the rolling area.

With your hands, stretch it into a rough rectangular shape.

Then use your rolling pin to roll it out into a large, thin rectangle of dough. 

Move the rolling pin to increase the dough in both length and width.

Now here comes the fun part.

Melt two sticks of butter.

Pour it on the dough.

Behold the beauty of the shimmering Lake Fat Grams.

Sprinkle a cup of sugar on top of the butter.
(Spread it around more than I did in this photo...
it was challenging to do this while taking a picture.)

Follow with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.


Let's roll 'er up.

Pinch the free edge to the roll to "seal" it.

Grease baking pans with about a tablespoon of melted butter.
(This recipe will fill up seven of these disposable tin cake pans.)

Cut the roll into one inch-thick slices.

Add about seven rolls to a cake pan.

(You can refrigerate or freeze them at this point.)

Let them rise for about 20-30 minutes.

 Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes JUST until golden brown.

While the rolls are baking, make the icing. 
(See recipe below.)

While the rolls are still hot, drench them --
and I mean DRENCH THEM--
in this yummy icing.   


Dear Santa,
Please bring me some Spanx.

The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls

1 quart (4 cups) whole milk

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast (a total of 4 and 1/2 teaspoons of yeast)
8 cups (plus 1 cup extra, separated) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
1 teaspoon (scant) baking soda
1 tablespoon (heaping) salt
plenty of melted butter (2 to 3 least)
2 cups sugar
generous sprinkling of cinnamon (nearly an entire 2.37 oz. container)

1 bag powdered sugar
2 teaspoons maple flavoring
½ cup milk
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup brewed coffee
⅛ teaspoon salt

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan (LARGE POT). Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).
When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.
Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

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.

For her beautiful photos and more recipes, please visit

Here's the direct link for her cinnamon rolls.


Wendy said...

Great job. The last pic is my favorite. I live for the middle roll in the batch. I would def include these as part of my last meal on this earth, if I got to choose it!

Caneel said...

Ummm ... YUMMM!! Those look fantastic. Love all the pictures! There is no way I convert them GF and be that beautiful, but I can enjoy looking at yours! :)

Nachiketa said...


Loved these rolls... they look fabulous... Would love to make these..

Could you please let me know the exact weight used of yeast.... as packages would vary across brands and countries.


Ginny said...

Hi Nachiketa,

Thanks for your comment; that is a very good point.

One "package" of the yeast is 1/4 ounce (or 2 and 1/4 teaspoons). So, for this recipe you would need a total of 4 and 1/2 teaspoons of yeast.


Sarah said...

Has anybody refrigerated or froze before baking with good results?

Leialoha said...

I have refrigerated cinnamon rolls before baking, even overnight, with no problems. When ready to bake in the morning, I just set rolls on the counter till they are room temp. Or 10 minutes or so. I have not frozen any yet, but I will be trying to with this recipe, and my own as well!

Becky said...

I know this is from a while ago, but I live in Poland and use fresh yeast.

I buy it in cakes of 100 grams. I interchange 1/5 of a cake of yeast, so 20 grams (I eyeball it) for 1 package of yeast that American recipes call for. It works great and is so very inexpensive.

Anonymous said...

I have made these rolls from Ree and froze them.
I made this huge batch above and froze them. Then put them in the freezer and now every weekend I just pull a pan out the night before and set it on the counter then when I wake up I just pop them in the oven!
This is a great recipe....I also did what Ree did at Christmastime and brought fresh hot cinnamon rolls to neighbors and family.

Kendra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kendra said...

For the frosting, I would like to know how much is in 1 bag of powedered sugar. Thank you.

Kendra said...

For the frosting, I would like to know how much is in 1 bag of powedered sugar. Thank you.