The Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls

For many years in high school and early college, I was obsessed with watching the Food Network. Almost any time the TV was on when I was watching, it was more than likely a show about designing cakes, making meals, or food competitions. One year a new show came on called The Pioneer Woman. I immediately fell in love with the show and ended up buying one of her cookbooks. This one to be exact.

After spending time perusing the cookbook, I finally came across a cinnamon roll recipe I wanted to try. However, the recipe would make 40-50 rolls, which is wayyyyy too much for me to eat by myself. I spent time halving the recipe then worked through it a couple of times to tweak it some more to my personal tastes. It’s sweet but not overbearing and has just the right amount of spice and flavor to it. Unfortunately with this batch I left out a few ingredients (so that step won’t be pictured). The good news is that the cinnamon rolls proofed and baked just fine and don’t taste too bad!

Ingredients for dough:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 heaping tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 scant teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
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Notice the missing ingredients – make sure you don’t forget your baking soda, baking powder, and salt!

In a large saucepan (I used a Dutch oven mainly because I’m not a fan of making messes, which are so easy for me to do) heat the milk, vegetable oil and sugar over medium heat. Be sure not to let your liquids boil! Keep the heat on long enough to dissolve the sugar. Set aside and let cool to lukewarm temperature.

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Add the package of yeast and let it sit for a minute.

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Add 4 cups of flour. Stir and cover with a towel. Let it sit for an hour.

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While you wait, let me tell you about my dish towel! It’s by catstudio who does a lot of awesome geographical designs among other things. When I was interning on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, my parents came to visit one weekend and we took a day trip to Savannah, Georgia to eat at the Lady & Sons (Paula Deen’s restaurant). We ended up passing by this cute little kitchen shop before leaving town and I of course had to stop and look around! These towels were hanging on the wall and I immediately fell in love with them! Sadly they were out of the Alabama towels and I had to wait for it to be shipped to me directly from catstudio, but I’ve loved it ever since! Now, back to the cinnamon roll dough, which has risen nicely.

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(This is the step I forgot. DO NOT FORGET THIS STEP PEOPLE! Your cinnamon rolls won’t be nearly as awesome.)

Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup of flour and stir.

Roll out the dough onto a floured surface. It should be about 1/2-inch thick.

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Ingredients for the filling:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/8 cup cinnamon
  • 1/4 granulated sugar
  • 1/4 brown sugar

Pour the melted butter over your rolled out dough and spread evenly. Although the directions say to used 1/2 cup, I ended up using maybe a little more than half on the dough. Save the rest for the baking dish! I used the back of a spoon to spread the butter and it worked just fine.

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Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture and spread evenly making sure not to spread it all the way to the bottom. Leave a small gap so your dough will stick to itself when you roll it.

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Roll the dough towards you and pinch the seams. I make cinnamon rolls every week at work so I’ve gotten accustomed to flipping the seam down to the work surface. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, you can certainly leave the roll the way it is!

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Butter your dish. You may need to add a tablespoon or so of butter to whatever is left over from the filling. Make sure you tilt the dish so as much of the surface as possible gets buttered. I used a 9×13-inch baking dish.

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Cut the dough into 1 and 1/2-inch rolls and place evenly in the bottom of your baking dish.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius). Cover the pan and let the rolls rise for 20 minutes.

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Hello, beautiful rolls.

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Bake the cinnamon rolls 13-17 minutes, or until golden brown. While the rolls are in the oven, prepare the icing.

Ingredients for icing:

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/8 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • Splash of strong coffee (about 2-3 Tbsp)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 scant tsp. vanilla extract

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Whisk together all of the ingredients, adding any of the above (or extra!) ingredients to suit your taste. While you’re here, let me tell you about the milk and coffee in my picture. I recently moved to Knoxville, Tennessee and have absolutely fallen in love with the local food scene – especially since it’s so big here. The milk is Cruze Dairy Farms whole milk and the coffee comes from The Golden Roast who sells their coffee at Three Rivers Market. If you’re from here or are passing through, be sure to stop and get something local. I can promise you you won’t regret it! Now back to these delicious rolls.

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When the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, pour the icing over the top.

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Let the rolls cool, if you can wait that long, and then enjoy!

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