Cinnamon Rolls

One of my favorite food magazines, and I have subscribed to several over the years, is Cuisine At Home.  I found this cinnamon roll recipe in the June 2007 issue and have been making them ever since.  They are best warm, right out of the oven, and most people love them slathered with cream cheese icing, except my dad.  The icing knife barely glazed the top of his roll but, he did love the rolls.  These have become our traditional Thanksgiving Day breakfast.  I make them the day before we’ll be eating them, cover them with press and seal, and refrigerate them overnight.  In the morning I let them come to room temperature while the oven is preheating, bake and enjoy!  My Cincinnati brother and sister-in-law and their family come by us the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year.  They’ve occasionally gotten to sample leftover rolls so, when I knew they’d be here last weekend, I decided to let them enjoy fresh cinnamon rolls instead of 2 day olds.  With all the bread making that has apparently been going on lately, if you have yeast, you need to try these.  You’ll be really glad you did.

Dough Ingredients:

1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) dry yeast

1 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)

3/4 cup whole milk

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 T sugar

2 T unsalted butter (room temperature)

5 cups of flour (divided)

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer proof the yeast in warm water for 5 minutes or until foamy.

While the yeast is proofing warm milk to 100 degrees in a saucepan over low heat.  Add the warmed milk, buttermilk, sugar, butter, salt, and 3 1/2 cups of flour to the proofed yeast.  With the paddle attachment of your mixer mix on low speed until combined.  Then increase the speed to high and beat for two minutes.

Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour.  Mix on low speed until incorporated , then increase the speed to medium.  Mix for 5-7 minutes or until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  If necessary add a tablespoon or two of additional flour.  Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 1-1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

While the dough rises, butter two 9” round pans and prepare the filling.

Filling Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

Soften the butter for the filling in a bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds.  You don’t want it to melt completely.  Use a hand mixer to blend in the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.  Do not chill.

Once the dough has risen, hook your fingers under the edges to release the dough from the bowl onto a well floured surface.  Gently press out air bubbles and sprinkle flour on the top.  Divide the dough in half and roll one portion into a rectangle about 10×16”.

Spread half of the filling onto the dough, leaving about a 1/2 inch border.

Roll the dough, jelly roll style, into a log.  Repeat with the second half of the dough.

Transfer logs to a baking sheet and freeze for about 10 minutes to make them easier to slice.  Slice each log into 6 rolls and arrange them in the prepared pans.

At this point I cover both pans or rolls with press and seal and refrigerate them overnight.  Or, you can cover with a towel and let them rise for one hour.

While the rolls are refrigerated or rising, make the cream cheese icing.

Icing Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese at room temperature

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

zest of one orange

Beat all ingredients together with a hand mixer.

I put the icing in a container and let people us as much or as little as they want.

Preheat the oven to 350.  Once the rolls have risen, uncover and bake for 25-30 minutes.  If you refrigerated the rolls allow them to come to room temperature before baking.

Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Remove.  Ice.  And enjoy.

NOTE:  I use dental floss (not the mint kind) to slice the logs into rolls.  It makes for quick, easy cuts without flattening the rolls.

Handsome Johnnies and Four Sassy Sisters

Since this pandemic started in early March we have pretty much socially isolated.  We’ve been all about following the rules and staying safe and healthy.  My husband and I are blessed that we not only love each other, but we also like each other…because three months, 24/7, is a lot of togetherness.  But this past weekend, after those three months, we had a wonderful long weekend with family.  Two of my brothers and sisters-in-law, a nephew, and a surrogate sister.  We spent the majority of our time outdoors.  We ate outdoors, drank outdoors, and we spent a lot of time around the bonfire.  The weather cooperated and it was great fun.

One of the very special events we missed because of Covid-19 was a John Prine concert in Louisville KY.  Sadly, John Prine lost his life to Covid-19.  We listened to a LOT of Prine’s music that weekend and enjoyed a few Handsome Johnnies, his signature drink.  If any of you are John Prine fans you know the song “When I Get to Heaven” where the chorus goes:  “And then I’m gonna get a cocktail, vodka and ginger ale [and] I”m going to smoke a cigarette that’s nine miles long.”  So, in honor of John Prine, we enjoyed several vodka and ginger ales.  His song didn’t give us a recipe so we made our drinks with equal parts of vodka and ginger ale.

Enjoy.  And raise your glass to John Prine who went to heaven far too soon.

The other cocktail we made was also a vodka drink.  It was based on a cocktail I saw on Michael Symon’s site that I modified.  After we mixed it and tasted it the four of us decided to name it after us.  Four Sassy Sisters.  We’re not sisters by blood, but we’re sisters by choice, and we can be a little sassy.  The drink is really tasty and refreshing.  Perfect summer cocktail hour drink, no matter the hour.


1 cup vodka

3/4 cup cranberry juice

3/4 cup pineapple  juice

3 oz grand marnier

2 7-oz bottles ginger beer

Mix the vodka and juices in a pitcher, add the ginger beer, and pour over glasses of ice.

This is a picture of the four sassy sisters.  Cheers!

NOTE:  My brothers bought Canada Dry ginger ale with lemonade to cut down on the gingery taste but an authentic Handsome Johnny contains just ginger ale.  As with any recipe, it’s all a matter of personal taste.  I’m typically a whiskey drinker and I’m thinking a Four Sassy Sister with whiskey might also be pretty tasty.  I have a preference for Fever Tree tonic and ginger beer.  Those bottle are 6.8 oz.  I think between 14-16 oz of any ginger beer would work fine in the sister’s drink.