Butter! Sugar! Cinnamon! Icing!


Do I have your attention? :D 

Last night’s baking fail was ultimately trumped by this afternoon’s success at making The Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls!!! Like I said… Butter! Sugar! Cinnamon! Icing! Wheee! (clearly I’ve had too much of all of the above!)


This recipe is one of The Pioneer Woman’s classics, that she swears up and down by. I’ve been dying to give baking with yeast another try and this recipe seemed like the perfect one to do just that.


I started by scalding (heating until just barely boiling) milk, vegetable oil & sugar in a large saucepan.


Notice my first failed attempt at making this recipe in the background…


Mmm yeah… I…don’t know what happened…I just…AHH! They never rose!


Anyways, after the milk mixture scalds, let it cool down to a hot but not too hot temperature (real specific, huh?) then sprinkle in some yeast.


The yeast packet says to let the liquid cool down to 110 degrees before adding it, but other sources say add it at 140 degrees. My gut says add the yeast when the liquid is just a wee bit hotter then hot tub temperature. :)


I think that was the problem with my first batch – I was la-di-da’ing around the house and let the milk mixture get too cool – therefore the yeast couldn’t do its thang. Today I stayed on top of it and added my yeast at just the right time! 


Let the yeast sit for a couple minutes, then add flour and stir to combine.


The dough needs to rise in a warm place for an hour at this point, so I put the saucepan on the stovetop with the oven set to 300 degrees. Perfectly toasty.


He is risen!


Next add more flour along with salt, baking soda and baking powder.


Combine, put a lid on the pan and pop it in the fridge. That’s also something I didn’t do the first time and the dough was just a hot mess. Refrigerating it made it SO much easier to roll out.


Which is what we do next! Flour a biiig board, or flat countertop if your home’s previous owners were smart enough to not install white tile countertops…


I rolled my dough to about 1/8 inch thick, but you can do go to whatever thickness you want. The recipe for these cinnamon rolls isn’t too precise, which I just love. 


On goes the butter. Ohhh, the butter!!!!!


I think the PW herself said it best… "My approach is to add butter until I think there’s enough, then add more. If I roll up the long roll of dough and butter does not violently ooze out of it, I believe I have not used enough butter." Amen! :D


Then a generous sprinkling of sugar,


and cinnamon.


Then we roll! 


Tightly and towards you.


Pinch the seam to make sure none of that luscious, buttery-sweet filling escapes.


Finally, fill a glass with hot water and warm a knife in it. Cut the rolls 1 inch thick, dipping the knife in the water between each and every cut, wiping it off with a paper towel. Trust me – don’t try and skip the dunk, warm & wipe step!


Aren’t they puuuurty?!


Much better than the first time! :D


Throw the rolls back onto the stovetop with the oven turned to 300 degrees and let them rise for about another hour.


Then CLEAN! There’s going to be a lot of butter & sugar on your countertops. ;)




This time they friggin’ rose – thank Heavens!


A quick 13 minutes in a 350 degree oven, and, we’ve got cinnamon rolls! 


Real, honest to goodness cinnamon rolls…in my kitchen!


Whip up some Maple Cinnamon Icing…


and you’ve got ICED Cinnamon Rolls!!!!


No words!



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Flaky, indescribably (perfectly) sweet and cinnamony. GET YOUR MILK READY!!!!


Unraveled and eaten fresh out of the oven while pic messaging the good news to my husband.

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He almost left work "sick". ;)


Here’s the recipe – I quartered it and am going to freeze half the pan so I can enjoy these bad boys at a moment’s notice. MUWAHAHAHAHA!

Oh yeah – get your milk ready and also get a treadmill warmed up – I followed two of these up with a 5 mile jog. WORTH IT!

What are some of your favorite recipes with yeast? I feel as though it’s reviving the dormant-until-recently baker inside of me. Did you know that baking is what first got me into the kitchen? A passion for yummy baked treats turned into a passion for ALL food…and well, here we are. :)

In other news, my Mom and I were supposed to take our annual Mall of America Holiday Shopping Trip in Minneapolis this weekend, but alas our neighbors to the north are getting a wicked snow storm and travel is not advised. :( Luckily we were able to cancel our hotel room and we’re still going to shop ’til we drop tomorrow…just here in town. It’s the company that counts!

I’m off to go enjoy the night – hope you do the same – see ya’!


Do you like baking or cooking better?

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  1. These look incredible! I’ve been dying to her recipe… but i know we’d eat the whole pan ;)

  2. Paige 12.03.2010

    I can’t remember whose blog I read it on (Joe and Betsy I think…) but apparently dental floss is a good way to cut the cinnamon rolls as well!

  3. Sarah 12.03.2010

    I’ve been wanting to try her recipe for awhile. I really should do it when I’m at home for Christmas break. Have fun shopping even if its just in town!

  4. I enjoy baking better than cooking! This recipe was my first attempt with yeast and although time consuming, so easy to make! And soooooo tasty. It made a boatload, so I froze half of the dough, plus one of the uneaten pans! But, I made them differently and I followed the instructed… I thought? I didn’t have to wait an hour for them to rise BEFORE putting the final product in the oven…? The two rises were before I even rolled them… no?

  5. I like baking better. I’ve been meaning to make a go at cinnamon rolls too. I need to study these yeast tips!

  6. I can’t decide! I love both baking and cooking equally.

  7. Caylie 12.03.2010

    I read two blogs daily – yours and PW’s… And I made those cinnamon rolls last year, (my first attempt with yeast), and they were delicious!! I think I made it with a different icing though… Something with orange juice in it. But still, delicious!!
    Glad your second attempt was a success!!
    And that massive winter storm to your north – yeah, it’ll be hitting here sometime tomorrow… I suppose… it’s time for the first ‘sticking’ snow fall.

  8. Tracy 12.03.2010

    These look absolutely DELICIOUS. I probably SHOULDN’T make them, but may make them at some point, because MMM~ :D

  9. Dream Mom 12.03.2010

    The Pioneer Woman has some good recipes. I prefer cooking over baking, mainly because the sugar doesn’t make me feel very well. As for favorite yeast recipe, I make these hamburger buns from one of Lora Brody’s Bread Making Cookbooks. They are delicious-basically you mix the dough up in the bread machine, then take it out and it rises two more times. I brush the tops with an egg wash and then add flaxseed on top instead of sesame seeds. It’s really great.

    You did a beautiful job on the cinnamon rolls! Working with yeast isn’t easy!

    I make my own cinnamon rolls the night before Christmas-then bake them in the morning after the dough has risen.

    FYI- Sandra Lee of the Food Network has an icing recipe that tastes almost exactly like Cinnabon’s icing.

  10. girliefriend 12.03.2010

    If I have to choose one I guess it would be cooking, but honestly, I thinking it’s eating. :) I just got Ree’s cookbook from the library and really enjoyed it. Loved how she did process pictures for all the recipes, like you do, and there’s a picture of The Marlborough Man that made me melt. One of the best cookbooks I’ve seen lately. Happy shopping with Mom tomorrow!

  11. Claire 12.03.2010

    Oh my heavens… those look to DIE for. I may just make some this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Gretchen 12.03.2010

    I make this exact recipe all the time! I made them with my students (I teach in alternative ed and have 3 middle school boys in my social studies class) for open house. No kidding Board members and the district superintendant came looking for my classroom because they heard about the “rolls”! A few admins and board memebers asked for the recipie. Good choice! Rock on!

  13. Kristin from MN 12.03.2010

    Holy freakin delicious! Those rolls look TDF. My son loves caramel rolls so maybe I will need to make ’em homemade for him! CrAzY! My hubs and I plan to go to MOA tomorrow too! We have about a 2-3 hour drive so we are going to decide in the morning. I guess the storm is done late tonight so I am hoping that by mid-morning we can hit the road. That sucks you had to cancel your trip. Are you going to reschedule? What are some of your favorite places to shop/eat in the twin cities?

  14. Kristin 12.03.2010

    Those cinnamon rolls look fabulous. That sucks that you had to cancel your trip but at least it is staying north of us :) We had more than enough snow last year.

    I am definately a baker. I can cook but I love to bake. My grandma taught me to bake during my years in 4-H and the judges used to love my pies, bread, and jams.

  15. BroccoliHut 12.03.2010

    I am much more of a cook than a baker–I don’t like to measure ingredients, which is kind of crucial for baking.

  16. dmcgirl 12.03.2010

    One of these days I am going to head east and come to the mall of America~ What a destination!
    The rolls look lovely!

  17. Christina 12.03.2010

    I love, love, love homemade cinnamon rolls. Here is a super easy way to cut the dough after you have rolled it, take a long piece of string put it under the dough roll, then cross the ends of the string and pull.It slices through like butter. A perfect cut every time.

  18. Vikki 12.03.2010

    Those cinnamon rolls look delicious. Your mom’s neighbor is correct. We are getting dumped on here in MN! Tomorrow’s 5K Reindeer Run should be interesting!

  19. LB 12.03.2010

    A piece of thread works great for cutting the dough into rolls!

  20. katielovespie 12.03.2010

    I love PW’s cinnamon rolls.
    My fave yeast recipe would have to be homemade soft pretzels, so amazing.

    For your scalded milk temp, better to err on the side of cooler rather than hotter. Too hot of a temperature can kill the yeast. I once heard that the general rule was to stick your finger in it and the liquid should barely feel warm; the same temp as your finger. This is what I usually go by. Too cold doesn’t usually kill yeast, just makes it harder to “activate though I have made yeast doughs with water straight from the tap, I just turn the oven on to 200 degrees while making the dough, shut it off, then put the covered dough in there. Never had any issues.

    Anyway, keep on trying with yeast and you will come to love it. Fresh baked bread is delicious!

  21. I have made PW’s cinnamon rolls 2 or 3 times, and each time they are better than the last!

    It’s 11:15 p.m. here in Minneapolis, and so far we have about 5″, with a reported 3″ more on the way. Pray for us.

  22. I’m drooling. And officially craving a cinnamon roll…

  23. I’m definitely more into baking…the rewards are just, well…sweeter ;)

    And…I will now be craving those cinnamon rolls the rest of the day! Yum!

  24. ummm yeah, those are amazing. i love ’em. and in indiana we have 2-3″ of snow with that storm too…. really early for this time of year :(

  25. Hannah Mize 12.04.2010

    I love to bake and bake with yeast all the time. The reason your first batch did not rise was because your milk was too hot. If you heat your liquid to 110 degrees, but do not go over, you will be successful. If your liquid is too hot, it kills the yeast.

  26. Jessie 12.04.2010

    I love to bake. My favorite yeast baking is 5 minute bread. Totally worth getting the book (http://www.amazon.com/Artisan-Bread-Five-Minutes-Revolutionizes/dp/0312362919/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291471378&sr=8-1). You throw all the ingredients in the mixer & there is no real work involved. Makes the BEST pizza dough.

    You can also use a piece of dental floss to cut your cinnamon rolls.

  27. Jacki 12.04.2010

    First of all, let me just say that I love reading your blog!

    Here’s a little tip for you: Whenever I need something yeasty to rise, I turn my gas oven on 250, and as soon as I hear it click on or ignite, I watch the clock for exactly one minute only so it can heat up just a little bit. Then I turn it right back off and put my dough in to rise according to the recipe. Things rise faster and better because they are in a very controlled environment and not in a kitchen where the air temp may be slightly different one time to the next. If you have an electric range, I’m not sure. It might take just a tad bit longer to get the oven warm enough for the same effect. You definitely don’t want the oven TOO warm, and just make sure that with either one, you remember to turn it off! I’ve forgotten before, and that’s not a good idea. ;-)

    You’ve inspired me to make some rolls for my family on this snowy Iowa day!

  28. Sarah R 12.04.2010

    So strange… I just made these yesterday only to get up this morning and read that you had made them too! They are heavenly. I’m serving a them with chili for a much of hungry men who are over helping my husband with a remodel project. Hopefully the guys will eat them all so I’m not too tempted!

  29. In my tiny apartment, I like cooking more. When I lived with my parents, and there was lots of room. I loved baking more. :)

    These rolls look soooo good. I’d considering coming home sick too!

  30. GREAT tutorial!! Those look incredible –I have some yeast in the pantry for when I get brave enough to try it.

  31. Rachel 12.04.2010

    I definitely like baking better–Not just because I have a sweet tooth, but I like the structure that comes with baking better than trying to add some of this & a little of that when cooking. Which reminds me, I should probably go and get some bread started!

  32. Kristin 12.04.2010

    I am a long-time Des Moines reader and LOVE your blog! I had to comment on how INCREDIBLE this looks!!

  33. Teresa K 12.04.2010

    Love both – and Iowa Girl – sometimes you are just plain old evil! Those rolls look amazing! Sometimes it’s nice to just shop local – makes you feel like you’re supporting locally and keeping some jobs. :)
    Oh – and milk for yeast – I always do it like a baby bottle – feel it on the inside of your forearm – if you don’t feel it – it’s perfect! Too cold – it will feel lukewarm – too hot – well – you’ll know that too!

  34. Sara 12.04.2010

    Hi IGE- Another trick is to use a breadmaker for the dough- while you won’t have the bragging rights to making it by hand, it is just as delicious! I love my breadmaker cinnamon rolls! :)

  35. Alyse 12.04.2010

    I always use a candy thermometer to test my yeast temp. That way I know I have it perfect. :)

    I love baking whole wheat bread.

  36. Good god, woman. Those look like pure, unadulterated, fat-pants heaven. That amount of butter is probably lethal, but I agree with you, likely very worth it. I prefer cooking to baking because working with yeast and measuring things precisely intimidate me. I’d conquer that fear for a nibble of a homemade piping hot cinnamon roll though.

  37. Dee 12.04.2010

    Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. OH.MY.GOSH. I die.


  38. Amanda 12.04.2010

    I have been dying to try these ever since I got the Pioneer Womens Cookbook at Target the other day!! I will have to try these real soon!!! They look awesome!

  39. Sara 12.04.2010

    OMG PW’s cinnamon rolls are the most divine things I have ever tasted in my entire life. They are so rich, sugary and delicious that I am content with just one (at a time, anyways ;-) )! I can’t wait for my aunt to make them again this year.

    Yours look picture perfect BTW – just the way I remember them, right down to the slightly hardened flaky icing around the edges :D

  40. Megan 12.04.2010

    I LOVE THESE CINNAMON ROLLS!! and PW! I follow IGE and PW religiously! I’ve made them several times and the first time mine didn’t rise either! Glad to know it wasn’t just me! Good Work!

  41. Grace 12.04.2010

    These look great! I LOVE your blog and check it every day :) I’ve gotten some amazing dish ideas from you! I also thought I’d share this recipe from Cooking Light – its a little time consuming (you have to let the dough rest in between kneading a lot) but its delicious and easy. Also has relatively few calories!


  42. Melissa 12.04.2010

    I love both baking & cooking equally! I have been playing with yeast lately, too. It feels like such an achievement when something rises! The recipe for garlic knots over on Annie’s Eats is fantastic! I cut my dough smaller to make tinier knots. They are amazing!!!

  43. sippitysup 12.04.2010

    You title says it all. I too am a bit chicken when it comes to yeast. But congratulations are in order for your swirls! GREG

  44. Jacki 12.04.2010

    Just a hint for “cutting” the dough. After it is rolled, wrap a piece of sewing string or dental floss around it and than pull the ends together, cuts beautifully and doesn’t flatten out a side.

  45. ok so let’s talk about how i have made these 2-3 times for church functions and can’t make them anymore because i eat too many before i even take them up there? i’ve had so many stomachaches but don’t care because they’re SOOOOOOOO good!

  46. […] I’m dying here drooling over these cinnamon buns. Won’t anyone share a good recipe with me? Pioneer Woman’s is no use. 2 packages of […]

  47. Guillermo Showes 12.13.2010

    The source appears to be not working, does anyone have a backup or mirror website link I can use. Thanks, oh I got your link ok.

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