Cinnamon Rolls

This holiday season was pretty much hell for me. It started with me dropping my car at the shop after a tire exploding and my bumper falling off. Then, I started feeling an internal sick tsunami; i.e., the feeling that I’m about to be very, very sick washing over me (it’s intuitive as much as it’s physical). Soon after, I tested positive for COVID and couldn’t get out of bed for a week. Every plan I had, including going out of town to see Jim’s mom and meeting my brother and his girlfriend in New York, went completely out the window.

I was really depressed about everything for about a week, but then I started looking for the silver lining. I think my body needed a break for a long time, and I kept overlooking it. I was so busy at work and at home from Thanksgiving on that I barely allowed myself time to just lie in bed and rest. The good news is, I got plenty of rest between December 19 and now, and I’m finally starting to feel better.

This morning, I slept late and then made cinnamon rolls from scratch. Some of you might be wondering how I could make cinnamon rolls in one morning. Most recipes call for them rising for several hours or overnight. The answer is, I used this brilliant recipe from Sally’s Baking blog (one of my go-to sources for basic pastry recipes). The recipe calls for instant yeast, not active dry, which makes the dough rise faster.

Sally also gives a tip for getting the rolls to rise quickly that is pure genius. You set your oven for 150 degrees (or in my case, 170 because that’s as low as it would go), and then once your rolls are formed into spirals, turn off the oven. Place the rolls in your prepped baking dish, put a piece of aluminum foil over the top, and then put the pan in the oven with the door cracked open for about 30 minutes. After that, close the door and leave them in the oven for another hour. The rolls will rise perfectly. Don’t forget to take them out before you preheat the oven to bake them.

The tip that Sally does not give but I would recommend is cutting your rolls with a very thin string. I’d read about this technique before but I was nervous to try it. However, after messing up cinnamon rolls and chocolate buns many times by cutting them with a knife, I was ready to try something new. It paid off. I cut off some unused fishing line from a roll that Jim keeps in the house. I used a knife to mark 11 places to cut to form the rolls. Then, I slid the inch-long string under the cinnamon roll log and used both sides to cut the log into pieces. It worked like a charm. If you want a good tutorial, King Arthur Baking has one. It calls for unflavored, unwaxed floss, not fishing line, but any thin string will do.

I hope you get to try these rolls soon! They do take a little work, but overall they come together way faster than overnight cinnamon rolls and taste even better. They’re soft, pillowy and sweet- the perfect thing to eat to start the new year. Here’s a song to get you started on your cinnamon roll journey.

About Emily Wasserman

Bonjour! My name is Emily and I'm a writer based in St. Louis. I'm also a home baker with a small business, Amélie Bakery. I'm a self-proclaimed francophile and love French pastries and baking.
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