snow day cinnamon rolls

February 13, 2014 § 4 Comments

When you wake up to a world blanketed in white and school is cancelled for the foreseeable future, there is only one logical thing to do: make cinnamon rolls.

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Actually, this is the first time I’ve made cinnamon rolls from scratch, due to my fear of all recipes involving yeast. Yeast is a scary little thing. I never know how long to let the dough rise, or how exactly to tame the yeasty beast when it’s ready. Also, I’m painfully impatient when it comes to food, so waiting for the dough to proof overnight is the last thing I want to do.

Well, thanks to the magic of quick yeast, these take only one hour to make! You can roll out of bed, shape the dough, stick it in the oven, make a few snow angels, and come back inside just in time to enjoy a warm, cinnamon-sugary breakfast.

They’re not too difficult either, coming from a cinnamon roll novice. I even got to take out ye olde rolling pin, which I haven’t seen since my last pie crust fail (another recipe I’m determined to conquer this snowy weekend).

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my little helper

my little helper!

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I added in some chopped pistachios and mini chocolate chips, but you can change it up however you like. Try orange zest, cranberries, or pecans! I also browned the butter in the microwave before brushing over the dough, but you can simply use melted butter if you like. And don’t forget the glaze! Mine was kind of impromptu, made at my family’s request with whatever I could find. Feel free to make one with cream cheese or more powdered sugar.


– ck

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(adapted from sweet dreaming)

for the dough:

1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup (half stick) unsalted butter
3 and 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 packet rapid-rise yeast
1 egg

for the filling:

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

for the glaze:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 – 3 tablespoons milk (I used almond milk)
1 – 1.5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or almond) extract


Combine milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute, then remove and stir. Continue heating in 20 second intervals, pausing after each to stir, until the butter is melted and the milk is warm to the touch but not hot. If needed, let the milk mixture sit for a few minutes until it is warm but not hot (don’t kill the yeast).

Add yeast and stir to combine. Add 3 cups flour, sugar and salt. Stir by hand to combine. Add the egg. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, and knead by hand for 5-7 minutes. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make your filling by whisking together sugars and cinnamon in a bowl until combined.

To brown the 1/4 cup butter, place in a large, microwave-safe bowl and cover completely with a large plate or lid. Microwave for 3-5 minutes, keeping a close eye on it! Mine got slightly explosive and I had to do damage control before my mom came down and saw butter all over the microwave. It should have brown specks and smell slightly nutty when it’s done.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured work surface. Then use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 14 x 9 inches in size. (It does not need to be perfect!) Spread the butter evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Then sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon and sugar mixture, and sprinkle any desired add-ins on top (nuts, citrus zest, etc.)

Beginning at the 14-inch edge, tightly roll up the dough. Give the final seam a little pinch so that it seals. Cut the dough into one inch rolls.

Place each of the cut cinnamon rolls into two greased circular pans or one 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Cover again with a damp towel, and leave the dish in a warm place to rise for 25 minutes. (You can turn on oven to 200 degrees, then turn it off and place the dish in the oven with the door cracked open.)

When the rolls have risen, uncover the dish. Then place on the center rack of the oven and bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.

While the rolls are baking, make the glaze. With an electric mixer, mix together softened butter and powdered sugar for 30 seconds. Add vanilla or almond extract. Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until mixture is smooth and spreadable (it could take anywhere from 1-3 tablespoons).

When the rolls are golden and cooked through, remove and let cool on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. Drizzle with icing and eat while warm!


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