Sunday, December 5, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

I woke up one day earlier this year with a craving for Cinnamon Rolls.  I tried to ignore it for as long as I could... but then I gave in and looked up a recipe and baked these irresistibly delicious rolls.

I do have to say, also, that I LOVE Paula Deen and her appreciation for butter.


Cinnamon Rolls
Servings: 12-15 rolls (depending on how thin you cut them) 
Prep Time: about 1 hour 20 min, Cook Time: 30 min

1/4 ounce package yeast
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 1/2 - 4 cups flour

1/3 cup melted butter, plus more for the pan
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans (optional)(I've also crushed some sliced almonds and used those)

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 teaspoon vanilla
3-6 tablespoons of hot water (enough to make it smooth)

In a large bowl, mix yeast, about two cups of flour, sugar and salt.  In a mircowave safe measuring cup, mix water, milk and butter, heat until butter is just melted, not until very hot.  Add liquid mixture to large bowl, add egg and mix until smooth.  Add about two cups more of flour and mix until the dough comes together and is easy to handle.  Gently knead dough on lightly floured surface (or in the bowl), the more you knead the tougher the dough will get, so DON'T over knead, just enough to incorporate everything plus a little.  Place in well-greased bowl (or keep in the bowl you were using, I don't grease mine) and let rise until doubled, usually 1 - 1 1/2 hours. I usually cover mine with a damp cloth and put it in a barely warm oven.

When doubled, punch down dough.  Roll out on flour surface into a 15x9 inch rectangle.  Spread melted butter all over dough, I softened my butter and spread it out leaving about a 1-2" bar across the top of my rectangle free from butter.  Mix sugar, cinnamon and optional walnuts or pecans and sprinkle over buttered dough.

Beginning at 15 inch side role up dough and pinch edge together to seal.  Cut into 12-15 slices; thin, serrated knives work well.  Coat bottom of baking pan with butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Place cinnamon roll slices close together in the pan and let rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes.  Again, I like putting the pan in a barely warm oven with a dish of hot water underneath, because I think it makes them more moist.

Bake (with a dish of water underneath) at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until nicely browned.

Once rolls are done baking, mix melted butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency.  Spread over slightly cooled rolls.  Serve warm.

Based on Paula Deen's Recipe with my own additional suggestions.


Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum, which can be used in both sweet and savory foods. Cinnamon trees are native to South East Asia. It was imported to Egypt as early as 2000 BC.

The Old Testament makes specific mention of the spice many times: first when Moses is commanded to use both sweet cinnamon and cassia in the holy anointing oil; in Proverbs where the lover's bed is perfumed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.  In Song of Solomon, song describing the beauty of his beloved, cinnamon scents her garments like the smell of Lebanon.

It was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was regarded as a gift fit for monarchs and even for a god: records show that gifts of cinnamon and cassia were brought to the temple of Apollo at Miletus.  It was too expensive to be commonly used on funeral pyres in Rome, but the Emperor Nero is said to have burned a year's worth of the city's supply at the funeral for his wife Poppaea Sabina in A.D. 65.

Through the Middle Ages, the source of cinnamon was a mystery to the Western world.  Sieur de Joinville accompanied his king to Egypt during the crusades  in 1248, and reported that cinnamon was fished up in nets at the source of the Nile out at the edge of the world.  In Herodotus and other authors, Arabia was the source of cinnamon: giant Cinnamon birds collected the cinnamon sticks from an unknown land where the cinnamon trees grew and used them to construct their nests; the Arabs employed a trick to obtain the sticks.  This story was current as late as 1310, although in the first century, Pliny the Elder had written that the traders had made this up in order to charge more.

Portuguese traders finally landed in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at the beginning of the 1500's and restructured the traditional production and management of cinnamon by the Sinhalese, who later held the monopoly for cinnamon in Ceylon. The Portuguese established a fort on the island in 1518 and protected their own monopoly for over a hundred years.

Dutch traders finally dislodged the Portuguese in 1638.  The Dutch East India Company continued to overhaul the methods of harvesting in the wild and eventually began to cultivate its own trees.

The British took control of the island from the Dutch in 1796. However, the importance of the monopoly of Ceylon was already declining, as cultivation of the cinnamon tree spread to other areas, and coffee, tea, sugar and chocolate were becoming more popular than traditional spices.

Some interesting Health Benefits of Cinnamon:
  • Just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.
  • Cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with diabetes. 
  • Cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.
  • Cinnamon has been shown to reduce the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
  • It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.
  • Patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
  • When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
  • Smelling cinnamon can boost cognitive function and memory.
  • Cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.
  • Cinnamon is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

(Citations: Paula Deen's Website, Wikipedia: Cinnamon, 10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon)

Update: This is what I found on the Husband's plate after he ate THREE cinnamon rolls:

They are obviously Husband approved.


  1. The Lazier HusbandJanuary 9, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    Your rolls are indeed husband approved. I will certainly do my best to eat them as quickly as you can make them.

  2. Are you trying to tell me to make cinnamon rolls again?