The Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever

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In a recent weekend recap I promised to share an absolutely aaaahmazing delicious recipe… and today, I am going to deliver. I am sharing the recipe for the best. cinnamon rolls. ever.  

Let me set the stage for these a little.

So I’m 7 years old.  I’m almost back home after a long day of school.  (Second grade can be tough, am I right?)  I head up the steps, silently wondering what I will have for an after school snack.  I open the front door and am overwhelmed by the smell of pure cinnamon bliss.  I can’t hide my excitement as I ask my mom, “Did you make cinnamon rolls?”  She gives me that smile that she would always give me when she did something she knew would make me really happy.  “I did!  Do you want one?”  My “yes” is accompanied by serious head nods as we both head to the kitchen.  My mom brings me a plate with a delicious cinnamon roll on it, hot from the oven.  I devour it quickly- which is saying something, considering I was one of those “eats like a bird” kids.  My 7 year old self could have eaten 3 of those delicious cinnamon rolls.  They are just that good.

The recipe is called “Sticky Cinnamon Rolls” and it comes from an old family cookbook.  My mom’s family did this really awesome thing where everyone submitted favorite recipes, and they had them combined and bound altogether into a family recipe book that anyone in the family could order.  The cookbook starts out with some family history about my great-great grandparents and even includes a basic family tree.  I’m all about vintage things and family history, so needless to say, I love this cookbook.  And the fact that the best cinnamon roll recipe ever comes from this book makes me love it even more.

The “sticky” part of the recipe is really what makes these the best.  I love cinnamon rolls, but I often find that they can be dry.  And what seems to typically be the solution to the dry cinnamon roll?  Glaze  or frosting, and lots of it.  Now don’t get me wrong, this is all well and good… for the first few bites.  But by the time you’re done you’re on sweetness overload, and not necessarily in a good way.  I tend to have a serious sweet tooth, but even I stumble across baked goodies that are “too sweet.”  These cinnamon rolls, however, are perfect.  There is a not a single bite you  will take out of the whole pan that will be dry.  And, yes, these are sweet, but I promise you, you will be able to eat two in a row if you want.  I’m not saying you should (it still is a lot of sugar!!) but I’m saying you can, without feeling sweetness overload.

Here’s a picture of the recipe:

IMG_7450That looks like a cookbook that’s been around the block!  (I love that about it…)  So I’m going to be absolutely honest with you.  If I had never tried these cinnamon rolls, I would blow right by this recipe.  They look like so much work!  Seriously, this recipe would have lost me at “Cool to lukewarm.”  Who has time for that?!  I’m so glad that my mom wasn’t deterred though, because these sticky rolls are a highlight of my childhood.  And because I know how magically delicious they are, I took a Saturday morning and dedicated it to making a batch.  I wanted them to turn out perfectly, so I invited my mom over to help me with the process.  Here we go…

1. Bring 3/4 cup of milk to boil, or scald it in the microwave.  Add butter, sugar, and salt to the milk and cool to lukewarm.

2. Sprinkle one package of dry yeast over 1/4 cup lukewarm water and stir to dissolve.  It’s really important that the water is lukewarm- yeast is a tricky thing.  At this point we preheated the oven to 350 degrees, which was way early, but my mom said that she always baked these cinnamon rolls in a warm kitchen.  Add yeast mixture, egg, and 1 1/2 cups of flour to milk mixture.  (It didn’t take too long for the milk mixture to cool to lukewarm, thank goodness.)

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3. Beat until smooth.  Gradually stir in enough of remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour to make a soft dough.  Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic , about 5 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl and turn smooth side up.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

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4. Meanwhile, combine the 6 tablespoons of melted butter, brown sugar and corn syrup.  Mix well.  We mixed ours straight in our 9×13 pan, but you can mix it in a bowl first and pour it into the pan if you’d rather.  These little ingredients at the bottom of the pan are the secret to these delicious cinnamon rolls!

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5. Once your dough has doubled, punch it down and roll it out onto a floured surface to about a 15×10 inch rectangle.  Brush it with 2 tablespoons melted butter.  The recipe calls for 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, but we added almost double these amounts.  Based on the words of my mother, “You can’t skimp on the cinnamon and sugar!”  I agree:)  Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the melted butter.

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6. Roll and cut into 1 inch slices.  Ours made 15, which is exactly what the recipe says so that’s about how many you should end up with.  Arrange, cut side down, into the pan of butter, sugar and corn syrup.  AKA, the pan of sticky goodness.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

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7. Bake in oven, preheated to 350, for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.  The whole house is going to smell pretty amazingly at this point.  Invert pan onto platter so all the gooey sticky goodness drips down onto the rolls.  Serve warm.

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I hadn’t had these cinnamon rolls since I was a little girl, which is why I was so excited to get to make them myself.  I was a little worried though, since it has been so long.  Was I still going to like them like I did when I was a kid?  What if they were just fooling my kid-tastebuds?  What if they’re too sweet?  What if they don’t taste like I remember they do?

And then I took a bite of one, hot from the oven.  I was immediately transported back to my happy gleeful 7 year old self, enjoying the best cinnamon rolls in the world.  They are every bit as good as I remember.

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I shared some with some family, and then the rest my hubby and I had for breakfast the remainder of the week.  They are good cold, they are good days later, they never harden or get dried out.  They are just good.  I’m thinking these would be perfect for Easter brunch, with some fruit, hard cooked eggs, bacon and sausage.

And there you have it!  The best cinnamon rolls ever.  So glad I’m getting to share them!  Don’t be discouraged by the lengthy prep time- these are absolutely worth the effort:)

Happy baking!

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