You know it’s autumn when I start making cinnamon rolls. The best days of my youth were when I’d come home on a brisk autumn day and the house would be filled with the smell of Momma’s cinnamon rolls. I didn’t grow up in Tennessee, but I can’t imagine that it is much different from the youthful memories of the folks living here. There’s just something about Momma’s cinnamon rolls.
I never did get her recipe. I don’t think she used one, not one that was written down anyway. The best recipe I have come across is Ree Drummond’s cinnamon rolls from The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I have made a few adaptations to fit my families individual tastes, but I haven’t strayed too far from her recipe.
Here is a pictorial walk through my cinnamon roll making.
I make the dough using the step by step directions in The Pioneer Woman Cooks. I usually leave the dough a little sticky because I tend to spread too much on the counter before I begin rolling out the dough.
You can see the excess flour rimming the dough. I’m sure the seasoned and more professional bakers balk at such waste. All I can say is sorry. It works for me.
My second adaptation to the original recipe: I brush on much more butter than what the recipe says. I like my cinnamon-sugar mixture moist and gooey. Plus, the extra butter helps with the third adaptation: light brown sugar. I eyeball the amount. It’s usually whatever I feel like at the moment.
I don’t measure the cinnamon and sugar either. As you can tell, I sprinkle liberally. If a spot or two look a little dry, I sprinkle on a little more butter. Watch out! With all that butter and sugar, you may gain 10 pounds just looking at it!
I like pecans, but my kids don’t. I try to cater to all tastes with one roll.
With all that yummy goodness inside, rolling the dough into a tube is harder than it looks. It can’t be rolled to tightly or else the yummy goodness squashes out the ends. Rolled to loosely and the yummy goodness cooks to the bottom of the pan. It takes a little finessing. I “glue” the flap with a little butter (what’s it going to hurt at this point?) before pinching it into place.
I grease the bottom and sides of the pan with Crisco and sprinkle the bottom with a little light brown sugar and chopped nuts before placing the rolls in the pan. Yes, I can only fit 6 rolls to a 9X13 pan. I want to try pouring on caramel topping made with vanilla ice cream before baking, but I never think of it until I get to this stage in the process. Then it’s too late!
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and a towel (you can see the two pans to the left are dawning their rising apparel) and let rise in a warm place until the rolls double in size. Then pop them in the oven for the specified time or until the middle of the roll passes the toothpick test.
This is point that the little beauties are either devoured with a piping hot bowl of chili (a Nebraska tradition I brought with me to Tennessee) or with a big, glob of vanilla or pumpkin ice cream. I’ll take ’em any way I can get ’em!
Have a happy Autumn, y’all!