As I mentioned in my last blog post, my great grandmother, Jewel Chainey, was known for her delicious, mouth-watering, cinnamon rolls! She would bring them to every family gathering and they were always the first dessert gone! I’ll never forget trying to recreate them from a very young age! It took me many years to absolutely perfect them but once I did, they have become one of my most requested recipes, right next to my homemade chicken noodle soup, which you can find the recipe for here.
There is just something about the ooey, gooey centers and the light, flaky dough that make these cinnamon rolls a hit! My children are given a ‘birthday breakfast’ each year on their birthday where they are allowed to choose the menu. We invite grandparents and aunts and uncles to come celebrate this special tradition with us and many times you can probably guess what is on the menu! Cinnamon Rolls! Though they have had them countless times, my children never seem to get tired of this delicious treat! Even my two year old will excitedly yell, “dough, dough,” begging for a taste of the scrumptious dough when I am preparing them!
One thing that is great about these cinnamon rolls is the fact that they freeze well! Not guaranteeing there will be any left over, but if there are, you can pop them in the freezer once they are baked and iced. Whenever you are craving the delicious, flaky, buttery goodness of one, simply stick it in the microwave for two minutes and it will taste like it is straight out of the oven!
Of course, I use my Kitchen-Aid Mixer, thought I’m sure Grandma Chainey would find that reprehensible! While I love working with dough with my hands, the mixer makes it a much faster process! Though if you have time and want to do it the old-fashioned way, that is absolutely fine! This dough is incredibly soft and one of the secrets to it’s flakiness is to not over handle it. You want to mix it just enough to incorporate the flour and then let it be! When you are rolling it out on the counter, you really don’t even need a rolling pin! Just use your hands to pat it into shape! One tool I love when I am baking is this fondant mat. I use it for far more than fondant! Anytime I am working with dough, I use it to be able to easily measure and to contain the mess! Also, it makes a perfect play surface for playdough or any other arts and crafts that create messes!
Grandma's Cinnamon Rolls
Serves: 12 Prep Time: 25 Minutes Cook Time: 22 Minutes Rise Time: 2 Hours
1/2 C sugar 2 1/2 TBSP active dry yeast 1/2 C warm water 2 C milk 1 stick of butter 1 1/2 tsp salt 2 large eggs (I use duck eggs in my baking) 5-7 C unbleached, all purpose flour
Filling: 1 stick of butter 1 C lightly packed brown sugar 2 TBSP ground cinnamon
Frosting: 4 oz cream cheese, softened 1/2 stick of butter, softened 1 tsp vanilla Pinch of salt 1 lb powdered sugar Splash of milk
1. Mix the first three ingredients in the mixer bowl.
2. Scald the milk in a medium saucepan, then add butter. Let sit until milk has cooled a bit and butter is melted
3. Add warm milk and butter mixture to mixing bowl.
4. Add salt and eggs, mix until combined
5. Gradually add flour until dough clears the sides of the bowl. Dough will be soft and slightly sticky. DO NOT OVERFLOUR!
6. Let dough knead for 2-3 minutes.
7. Transfer dough to a large, lightly buttered bowl. (or save dishes and coat your mixing bowl with butter!) Place in warm spot and let rise until doubled. I have a “bread proof” setting on my oven but you can also turn your oven on for 3-4 minutes to warm it up, then turn it off and place dough inside.
8. Roll dough into an 18″ by 12″ rectangle.
9. Spread with softened butter.
10. Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over rectangle, paying special attention to the edge that will be the “center of the cinnamon roll”. I always make sure this edge is thoroughly coated!
11. Starting with your “thoroughly coated” end, gently roll up dough. Make sure to roll tightly, but DO NOT stretch the dough! Pinch the seal closed when finished.
12. Using a serrated knife, cut dough in half, then each half in half again. Cut each of these four portions into three rolls, creating twelve cinnamon rolls.
13. Place cinnamon rolls evenly spaced on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
14. Cover the pan with a towel and let rise again until double, about another hour.
15. After rising for 45 minutes, preheat oven to 350* F. Make sure to pull rolls out of oven if they were rising there.
16. Bake rolls for 18-22 minutes until slightly golden on top.
17. While they are baking, prepare icing by mixing cream cheese and butter until smooth, then adding vanilla and salt. Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until creamy, adding a splash of milk to get them the consistency you like.
18. I like to ice my cinnamon rolls freshly out of the oven so the icing melts down into the crevices! But you can wait until they cool if you would like! Enjoy!