Years and years ago, when I was ten years old, I had the exciting privilege of spending the day with Auntie Joan, learning to make homemade cinnamon rolls. I was ecstatic. (The thing that bends my brain a bit is that doing the math tells me that Joan was only in her early to mid-twenties at that time! I remember her being the font of all baking wisdom!) To this day, I have this recipe on a smudged 3×5 card, printed out in my own 10-year-old manuscript.
Cool Rise Sweet Dough for Cinnamon Rolls
Stir together in a bowl:
- 2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 t. salt
- 2 T. yeast
Cut in 1 stick of butter or margarine.
Pour in 1 1/2 c. very hot water.
Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- 2 eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 c. flour
Mix on high speed for 1 minute.
Gradually add in 2-3 more cups of flour until the dough is thick and elastic, pulling away from the side of the bowl.
Turn dough out onto counter. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. (NOT longer–letting it rest more than 20 minutes will affect the flavor adversely.)
Divide the dough into two balls. Roll out one ball at a time. Roll out into a rectangle that is roughly 10×14 inches. Spread melted butter over the top of rectangle to within 3/4″ of edges. Sprinkle sugar on top of the butter. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of that. Distribute raisins over the butter/sugar/cinnamon. Starting with one side, roll up the dough into a long, thick roll. Slice into individual rolls and place in a 9×13″ pan on their sides. I try to get 12 rolls out of each ball of dough and put them 12 to a pan.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-24 hours. The flavor really improves if you refrigerate this recipe overnight. Before baking, remove from fridge and let sit on the counter for at least an hour.
Bake at 350° until golden brown. Remove from oven. While they’re still hot, drizzle some glaze over them. Serve warm. The really decadent among us like to smear a little butter on the top….to put these OVER the top in terms of caloric heaven.
Glaze: a cup of powdered sugar, a drizzle of melted butter, and just enough milk to make a runny glaze.
This dough also makes lovely coffee cakes. I won a first prize ribbon at the Arizona State Fair when I was 12 when I used this dough to make almond coffee cake. Doing this requires some of the almond paste filling from banket-making. I roll the dough out into a rectangle, put a line of almond paste down the center and braid the dough into a pretty coffeecake. (See how Laura did the braid on her pear cake.)
Over the years I’ve made countless different cinnamon roll recipes, but I keep coming back to this one. And the memories of being invited by Auntie Joan into that magic world of yeast breads are as fragrant as the rolls baking in my oven.