It’s no secret. I love to make cinnamon rolls. Learning by example, my mom’s example, I was cranking out pans of these early in my teen years. Even won Reserve Grand Champion at the county 4-H fair one year!
Although not perfect, I have leaned on a few tips for making pretty and tasty cinnamon rolls. Here’s my Top 10:
2. Proof the yeast. Mix the yeast and a little water and sugar from the recipe, and let it sit for a few minutes. The yeast should activate and “grow”. This photo had 1/2 cup of water. The yeast has already made it past the 1 cup line.
3. Don’t add cold ingredients to the mix. Yeast likes warmth. Warm any liquid that will come in contact with the yeast. I even set my eggs in a cup of warm water before cracking and adding them. Don’t want to shock the yeast!
4. Let your dough rise in a CLEAN, oiled bowl. I just take my mixing bowl and give it a little scrub. Then I swirl about a tablespoon of oil before dropping the kneaded dough in to rise. Makes getting the dough out so much easier! Also, I have less sticky dried-on dough to pull out of the bowl and probably waste. And the dough rolls out better with that little bit of oil coating! (Bonus Tip: Don’t knead the dough too much. Just enough to handle it easy. Overworking your dough makes for tough rolls.)
5. Roll out in a thin, even rectangle. Easier said than done, I know. If you’re prone to rolling out an odd oval shape, try rolling from the middle to the outside corners of the dough. Then roll along the edges to even it out.
6. Use butter. Use butter instead of oil or shortening or whatever in the recipe, and spread your rectangle with a generous amount of butter before rolling it up.
7. Sprinkle evenly the brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon. Don’t skimp on the edges! Using both sugars adds a yummy gooeyness.
8. Squish the roll, then floss your rolls. Once I roll up my rectangle, I squish the ends in. That makes for a more uniform cut without wimpy, odd-shaped end pieces. I never use a knife to slice my rolls. Slicing with dental floss provides a much cleaner cut without squishing the rolls.
9. Leave plenty of space for the rolls to rise. The pan in this picture is an 11×15 with 12 cinnamon rolls. If your rolls are too crowded they won’t rise as pretty, and the texture will be compromised.
10. Use a thinner icing and cover thoroughly. The reason I got a blue ribbon instead of a purple ribbon on my regular cinnamon rolls was that there was a small “dry spot” that the icing didn’t cover. Yes, I do remember that detail 20 years later. Humph!
Do you like to bake cinnamon rolls? What’s your favorite tip for pretty and tasty rolls?
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