Cinnamon Rolls

My Grandmother taught me how to make cinnamon rolls when she would visit us in Michigan. At that time, she lived in California, so would spend a couple of weeks, and it was a fun time baking with her. She was the one who taught me how to bake bread in the first place. I talked about her at the first Tuesdays with Dorie challenge, and noted that I would make cinnamon rolls with the other half of the dough.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to get a number of old family photos when we attended my Great-Aunt Margaret’s birthday party (she was my Grandma’s sister-in-law). One of the photos I really, really love is this one. Back when Clara was really just a girl on the farm in New Mexico.

Anyway, we really never had things like this in our household when I was growing up, unless Grandma was there (my other Grandmother was a great baker too, just different kinds of things – oh, the cookies!). So it was a huge treat to bake bread and cinnamon rolls. I still use her recipe, and have decided it’s my favorite. Now though, I just throw everything together in the kitchenaid and it turns out perfectly. I use KA milk powder now (in the interest of transparency), but otherwise, I just use the “dump it all in and turn it on” method – so no need for directions here!

This particular batch, I used one loaf’s worth of dough (half a recipe) that had been in the freezer. I don’t do that often, so had to take some extra time for rising, but in the end it turned out ok! The dough is of course, thawed, then just rolled out into a rectangle.

We were never really all that careful about the measurements for butter, sugar and cinnamon, but I’m thinking about 1/4 c butter (it should cover it, but not thickly), 1/3 – 1/2 c sugar and “some” cinnamon. I happen to love, love cinnamon, so I use a heavy hand. I also like using Vietnamese or Saigon cinnamon because of its flavor, but really any would be lovely here.

Then the whole thing gets rolled up tightly.

Then the rolls get sliced into about 12 pieces. It really just depends on what you want, and what “feels right”. they could be made smaller or larger depending on personal taste. They get placed in a buttered baking dish – I like to use glass, but I’m sure that whatever pan you have will work.

The rolls are allowed to rise until about double. 

Then they are baked until cooked through and brown. At about 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes, but again, this depends on the size of the rolls. Once baked, they can sit in the pan for a minute or two, but it’s important to turn them out of the pan, and scrape out all of that cinnamon-y goodness!

We always served these upside down. No frosting here. When I made them recently, someone asked – are these cinnamon rolls or are the sticky buns? Based on what I see in bakeries now, a case could probably be made for either. These have a perfect combination of buttery cinnamon flavor and a nice simple roll. There’s enough sugar that there’s no need for icing at all, which I like better. But I know that there are many people that love those pillow-y rolls. These are certainly wonderful in their own right, and also a fun recipe to make as a family. I know I’ll never forget those days making cinnamon rolls with my grandmother – maybe you can make some wonderful memories too!

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