In the Kitchen: Cinnamon Rolls

(WTNH) — Cooking blogger Gary McNeff demonstrates how to make cinnamon rolls.

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Cinnamon Rolls & Icing


2 packages yeast
5 – 6 cups flour
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup warm water
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup boiling water

1 pound brown sugar, approximately 2 cups packed
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)

Cream Cheese Icing
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk


1. Dissolve yeast in the warm water (if you add a teaspoon of sugar to the water and stir well it
will help activate the yeast).
2. Cream butter and sugar and slowly add the boiling water.
3. Let stand until cool and all butter is melted (to speed the cooling, I usually only add 3/4 cup of
boiling water, then when the butter is melted, I add a couple of ice cubes. This will cool it
enough that you don’t have to wait).
4. When cool, add the yeast and eggs and blend well.
5. Add salt and mix. Add flour slowly, you want the dough to be very moist, not stiff. (It probably
will be closer to 5 cups of flour than 6, but flours vary widely; humidity can also alter how
much you use). I use bread flour because I prefer the texture, but all purpose flour will work
6. Once the dough is the desired consistency, place in a greased bowl in the refrigerator, and
cover with a dish towel overnight. Depending upon the time I have available, I sometimes
make the dough in the morning and make the rolls in the afternoon as opposed to sitting in
the refrigerator overnight (if you do this, you don’t need to refrigerate it).
7. Next day (or that afternoon, depending upon when you make the dough), roll the dough to
approximately 1/4” thick*.
8. Spread with melted butter. I use 1 – 1 ½ sticks of butter for this. You can also spread softened
(not melted) butter instead if you prefer. 9. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon (I also use a pinch of nutmeg – but this is optional).
Sprinkle the mixture over the butter on the entire surface of the dough. I’ve actually tried
different ways to do this. If you prefer, you can melt the butter and add it to the brown sugar
and cinnamon. This will make a paste-like mixture you can spread over the dough if you
10. Roll up from the widest side and cut into slices about 1” wide and place in a non-stick pan***.
11. Cover with moist cloth and let rise about 2 hours.
12. Bake in a 400 degree oven until slightly browned on top. (About 15 minutes).

*If you want to make a loaf of bread instead, roll out to approx. 1/2″ thick.

**The original recipe from my mother didn’t use brown sugar. It instead used a sugar/cinnamon
mixture in place of the brown sugar/cinnamon. Feel free to try this instead – it’s equally good!

***DON’T CROWD THE PAN! It’s very important not to crowd the pan when you put the rolls
in. The rolls will still expand and the middle won’t cook properly if there are too many in the

NOTE: Depending upon what I’m using the dough for (cinnamon rolls or straight dinner rolls), I
will add a tablespoon of vanilla to the dough at the same time as the eggs/yeast mixture. It’s
actually a great addition even if you’re making dinner rolls.

Cream Cheese Icing****
1. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, margarine, vanilla extract (in addition to vanilla
extract, I make an orange extract that I sometimes use as well. This gives it a slight flavor
difference that is worth the trouble), confectioners’ sugar and milk.
2. Beat until creamy.
3. Spread the icing over the rolls

****This is another area where the original recipe from my mother varies from this one. The
original recipe uses a much simpler icing. If you’d like to try this, simply mix together one and
a half pounds of confectioner’s sugar, one and a half teaspoons of vanilla extract and just
enough milk to make a fairly loose frosting. Again, it’s different from my recipe but excellent
(some of my family would tell you it’s better!).

Best when served warm.

COOK’S NOTE: These also make very light dinner rolls. Just roll out and cut with a biscuit
cutter. Baste with melted butter and fold over slightly off center. Cover and let rise for
approximately 2 hrs. Then bake as above. Alternately, you can roll the dough into small balls
(approx. 3/4 inch). Place three of these in each indentation in a muffin tin, then bake as directed.

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