Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe: Cinnamon Rolls

Summary: If there is anything in this world that I’m known for, it’s these cinnamon rolls. When we lived in Chicago, I baked these every day, all day and sold them to coffee shops near the commuter rail stations. It’s not a good way to earn money. I got very little sleep and endless grief from my family. In their defense, they would wake up to the smell of fresh cinnamon rolls and come to the kitchen to find them all gone. I had to start leaving a few behind or face certain mutiny.

Just by their very nature, cinnamon rolls are a pain. If I’ve ever baked you cinnamon rolls, I must really like you. A lot. I, also, have to give credit to my sister, Nancy. This is her recipe.

Warning: There is a crazy amount of butter in the making of cinnamon rolls. These are not, in any way, healthy. Don’t eat them. Whatever. They are heavenly and you will want to eat a go-zillion. Plan ahead, because the dough will need to be refrigerated overnight.


  • ½ cup butter
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon
  • ½ - ¾ cup brown sugar
  • Chopped pecans
  • Raisins (blech)
  • Frosting – (more butter…)
  • 1 cup butter (or ½ cup butter and ½ cup shortening)
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ - ½ cup milk


  1. Pour boiling water over ½ cup butter, ⅔ cup sugar and salt, allow butter to melt and then cool.
  2. Dissolve ¼ cup sugar and yeast in warm water. Allow to rise and get frothy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine yeast mixture with butter mixture. Beat in eggs. Add flour and combine well.
  4. Dough will be very stickly. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Mix 1 cup sugar with 3 tablespoons cinnamon.
  6. Roll out dough in a large, roughly rectangular shape.
  7. Spread dough with 1 – 1 ½ cups butter, sprinkle cinnamon sugar and brown sugar over butter. Add pecans, if you’re smart, and raisins, if you want to gross people out.
  8. Beginning at one of the long sides, roll tightly. Cut at 1 ½ - 2” segments. Place cut side down on greased (or sprayed) pan.
  9. Allow to rise 1 – 1 ½ hours. Bake at 350° for 15 – 20 minutes. Cover with foil for the last 10 minutes or so, to prevent over browning.
  10. Allow to cool for 10 – 15 minutes before frosting. If you can wait that long.
  11. Frosting: If using half butter and half shortening, blend these two together until smooth.
  12. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, mix well. Add milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency. Beat well. You can thank me later.

I wish you could smell this picture.