Recipe Test: Easy Cinnamon Rolls

by - Monday, April 27, 2015

Hands Up! Who loves Cinnamon Rolls?
I have always had a huge soft spot for Cinnamon Rolls. Something about those fluffy clouds of cinnamon, butter and brown sugar that just reminds me of a good hug. Simple, warm and comforting.

I am always on the lookout for a good cinnamon roll. And whilst the search for one that I can buy is on-going, I have decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own Cinnamon Rolls.

For me, a good cinnamon roll (or affectionately known as 'Cinna-Nom' at home) should have 3 qualities:
no. 1 - Good and generous amount of cinnamon sugar filling
no. 2 - Soft, cloud-like and fluffy dough
no. 3 - Not a ridiculous amount of glaze. (dusting lots of icing sugar does not make it taste better!)
I had done a good amount of research looking for a simple and easy from scratch cinnamon roll recipe and found Sally's Baking Addiction's - Easy Cinnamon Rolls (from scratch) to be the most appealing and approachable of recipes. The recipe calls for 60-90 minutes rise time and the rest of the recipe called for simple ingredients (mostly already in the pantry) and easy instructions on how to make the dough and sugar filling. It almost seemed too good to be true amongst all the other complicated recipes out there but having tried Sally's previous recipes, I was sure it would at least turn out well enough to eat and considerably faster.

I chose a Thursday morning to tackle this recipe, allowing myself a generous 5 hours before my evening work shift, should it take longer than the estimated time. I mentally timed that the recipe would take about 3 hours. This would allow me to eat at least two of these homemade goodies straight out of the oven with a cup of tea before I had to head to work.
Here is a summary of how my recipe test went:
RECIPE: Easy Cinnamon Rolls (from Scratch) - Sally's Baking Addiction
I would recommend reading the recipe post at least twice before tackling it especially if you are a newbie at handling dough with yeast like myself. Whilst the ingredients and techniques are simple, Sally's post is filled with handy tips and links (how-to knead!) etc. This will save you your dough from going tough and chewy... (ewww....)
Prep time (dough & filling): 45 minutes
Rise: 60 minutes 
(varies depending on room temperature etc. but it only took 60 minutes for mine)
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Glaze: 3 minutes
Level of Baking: Easy
(could be a fun one to get the little ones involved in)
Recipe Makes: 15 decent sized rolls using 2 pans
Taste Verdict: Simple and tasty. All 15 rolls were consumed in 1 day. Clean plates.
(they used the roll to soak up the rest of the glaze)

The recipe did not disappoint. It produced light, fluffy & delicious cinnamon rolls with a really simple glaze to rival all the OTT bakery cinnamon rolls drenched in glaze or topped with lots of icing sugar (not my favourite!) The best part about making your own cinnamon rolls is you can tweak the recipe to what how you like your cinnamon rolls. I prefer mine soft with simple flavours.

Making it was simple and easy. Took LESS than 3 hours. The recipe had very simple instructions and the dough easy to make without fancy appliances or techniques. H commented that they tasted like an apple danish, only without the apples... (I will take that compliment, thank you!). I also took 10 to work and they were an immediate hit (someone even went looking for a 'secret' stash, but was saddened when I told them I had made a 'small' batch)
The finished product: fluffy, sweet smelling clouds of cinnamon rolls
Here are a few notes on how I tackled the recipe:

Glaze: I did not opt for the coffee glaze as H is not a fan of coffee. Substituting it with cream did the trick and it was rich and not overly sweet or too sticky. As I am not a big fan of too much glaze I did not pour a lot in but merely drizzled it in 2 stages letting the first soak up for 10 minutes before thickening up the glaze slightly and drizzling for presentation. If it looks good enough to eat, no one can say no.

Baking Pans: I think for this recipe, it does not really matter so much as long as you have a pan large enough so you can line them up and allow room for them to rise. Baking them will make them all neatly fit into any pan. I made 15 rolls in two separate sized pans and they turned out fine.

Yeast: For all the beginner bakers without access to Red Star Platinum Yeast, I bought the Tandaco Dry Yeast pack from el' woolworths and worked just fine for me. I just made sure I measured the yeast to exactly what was required (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) and discarded the rest. I am sure as I start to work with yeast more, the Lowans tub of yeast might work better for me but for this one off test, I used the packet stuff and it tasted grand.

Granulated sugar: I often have trouble interpreting granulated sugar when recipes call for granulated sugar, is it white, caster, brown, cane? With most cupcakes, cakes etc. I used Caster Sugar due to it's finer grain and it is easy to dissolve. However with this recipe, I used brown sugar. Not sure if that is what Sally used in her recipe but that is what I used in mine. I associated the golden colour of the filling with brown sugar and it tasted really good. Not overly sweet, rich in aroma and so good with the cinnamon and butter!

Clean up was easy. It took me 1 medium sized bowl, my kitchen counter top and a pyrex measuring jug to make the dough. So it is another WIN for me.
Who needs to buy Cinnamon Rolls anymore? Not me... :) 
I am delighted with this recipe test and have it bookmarked in my favourite recipes. If I were to do a nice big batch for a bake sale, I would recommend checking out Sally's overnight Cinnamon Rolls. However, if you only have a few hours to spare and you love the idea of warm straight out of the oven Cinnamon Rolls with very little fuss, I would highly recommend you try out this recipe. Three cheers for Sally! Thank you for sharing your recipes with the world. And thank you Internet. 

Have you tried making Cinnamon Rolls from scratch too? I would love to hear your experiences, tips and ideas of how I can spice up my next batch of rolls.

Until the next recipe test (I will aim for a savoury one...), happy eating & baking.

x Lynnette

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  1. Goodness how I love cinnamon buns! Yours look just delicious

    1. Hey Kerry! I love them too :D They were so delicious that I am already getting Facebook requests from friends and family to make them again haha! I could be roping in a whole new legion of fans with this handy little recipe haha. x

  2. I could eat cinnamon rolls every day of my life and not get bored. YUM to these!

    1. Joanne, I totally could too. In fact, today I have a baking session with a friend and we are making a lemon yogurt loaf and more... cinnamon rolls! :)


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