Cinnamon rolls: What you knead to know

I love puns. You’ve been warned.

I also love cinnamon rolls. There’s a restaurant in my hometown, a little ma-and-pop type of place, that makes THE BEST cinnamon rolls. One fills an entire plate. It is the perfect combination of flaky bread, cinnamon sugar and icing. When I was pregnant with my son, my husband bought me a cinnamon roll whenever I felt I needed one.

I needed one a lot.

I love baking, but I don’t bake bread that often. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so if something doesn’t turn out just right, I get down on myself. (I’ve been known to toss perfectly tasting cookies because that aren’t pretty. We all have our quirks. This is mine. OK, one of mine.)

Because of this, I have never made cinnamon rolls. I’ve never made rolls, period. The batch I baked Sunday night was my first time doing that. Still, I’ve been jonesing for cinnamon rolls for a few days, and I have plenty of yeast in the cupboard, so I threw caution, along with my idiosyncrasy, in the wind last night and made some cinnamon rolls.

They turned out pretty well.

Cinnamon rolls before baking ...

Breakfast at work. Mmm.

Truth be told, they aren’t the prettiest things in the world. A few resembled popovers more than cinnamon rolls. And I think they would have been better if I had gotten them out of the over a minute or two sooner, but they tasted great and that’s all that really counts, right?

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.


Basic Sweet Dough

  • 6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter
  • 1 egg


  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar or firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon


  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp margarine or butter, softened
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tbsp milk

To make the dough, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast; blend well. In a small saucepan, heat water, milk and margarine until very warm (12o to 130 degrees). Add warm liquid and egg to flour mixture. Blend at low-speed until moistened. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in an additional 3 cups flour until dough pulls cleanly away from sides of bowl.

On a floured surface, knead in 1 to 2 cups flour until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl; cover loosely with plastic wrap and a cloth towel. Let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Punch down dough several times to remove all air bubbles.

Generously grease 13×9-inch pan.On lightly floured surface, roll out dough into 18×12-inch rectangle. Spread with 1/4 cup margarine. In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; blend well. Sprinkle over dough. Starting with 18-inch side, roll up tightly, pressing edges to seal. Cut into 18 slices; place slices, cut side down, in greased pan. Cover; let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover dough. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan and place on wire racks. In small bowl, blend powdered sugar, 1 tbsp margarine, vanilla and enough milk for desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm rolls. Serve warm.

Recipe from Pillsbury: The Complete Book of Baking

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