Guys, I did it. I mastered the cinnamon roll.

I’ve been trying to find a good recipe for several years. I’ve made many less-than-great attempts. But last weekend, it all came together. Here’s what happened.

cinnamon-roll-dough

Yeast

First, it took facing my fear of yeast.

Something about those powerful little granules make my armpits sweat – which isn’t good when you’re baking. Yeast really intimidates me. It’s delicate and sensitive, yet critical for a good batch of dough.

It’s taken me awhile to learn the difference between “too hot” and “not hot enough” water. I learned the hard way after several recipes falling (literally) flat because I either burned the yeast or didn’t add enough.

But last week, I got it. (Much in part to a $3 candy thermometer from Hy-Vee). The dough rose! Well, sort of.

cinnamon-roll-filling

Temperature

Although I faced my fear of yeast, I was not out of the woods. The other hurdle to overcome was temperature. This one almost ruined the day.

I pre-made the dough right before going to bed to give it time to double in size. When I woke up at 6:30 am the next morning, the dough had barely changed.

Grrrrrrrr.

I’d originally put the dough in the oven since it wasn’t drafty, however a cold front came in and the oven wasn’t warm enough. So, early in the morning with a hot cup of coffee in hand, I quickly pivoted. I turned the oven on very low heat and put the bowl in there.

And… the dough eventually rose! It wasn’t in the time I’d hoped (we ended up missing church over this ordeal). But it taught me a good lesson on temperature – sometimes to transform you’ve got to let things heat up.

Mae-helping-bake-rolls

Roll With It

When the first batch of dough didn’t go as planned, I got afraid I’d totally messed it up. So I whipped up a second batch of dough. I was determined to master the cinnamon roll. (Can you tell I’m an enneagram 1?)

After several hours, I had two bowls of perfectly good sweet roll dough on my hands. So what did I do? I made two different types of rolls, of course.

Half of the household loves fruity, jam-filled treats while the other half likes things straight-up sugary sweet. With a morning off track anyway, we re-arranged the day and everybody got the type of treat they desired. I added Orange-Glazed Sweet Rolls to the docket.

And what’s even sweeter? At one point, Mae even wanted to help me bake (which of course makes my heart sing).

Although my plans didn’t unfold like I originally hoped, things turned out better than I imagined. I had to roll with it (and the pun is totally intended).

danielle-burgess-sweet-rolls

Delish

In the end, both the cinnamon rolls and orange sweet rolls turned out great. (Anything with several sticks of butter and cups of sugar has a pretty good shot.) Baking took way more time than I originally planned. But along the way, I began to enjoy and appreciate the process and not just the end result.

And that’s why I find so much joy in it.

Not to mention the fact I felt accomplished and appreciated. It felt awesome to put two types of sweet rolls before a hungry crew that waited patiently as they smelled sugary goodness baking all morning.  Their eyes light up as they dove in and smiles spread across their faces.

I will definitely be making them again.

Corner-of-monroe-gang-cinnamon-rolls

What Recipes Did I Use!?

I’ve tried many attempts at cinnamon rolls but these are a winner. Big thanks to Anjee who I work with – she tipped me off to this recipe. Here’s a website not only with the recipes for the cinnamon & orange rolls – but many other varieties too!

Southern Sweet Rolls

If you have another favorite cinnamon roll recipe you recommend, let’s hear it!