Breakfast, Dessert, Winter

#13: Maple-Coffee Cinnamon Rolls


These cinnamon rolls scream “Crunchy snow! Sleeping in! Balsam-scented candles! Flannel pajamas! Lazy Sunday!” so loudly that I have to eat them very, very quickly and in copious quantities to quiet them down.

Maple-Coffee Cinnamon Rolls

The Rolls

2 c. whole milk

1/2 c. vegetable oil

1/2 c. white sugar

1 package active dry yeast (.25 oz packet)

4  cups (plus 1/2 cup extra, reserved) all-purpose white flour

1/2 t. (heaping) baking powder

1/2 t. (scant) baking soda

1/2 T. salt

3/4 c. melted, unsalted butter

1/4 c. white sugar

1/4 c. brown sugar

lots of cinnamon

The Frosting

3/4 of a standard bag of powdered sugar

1/8 c. real maple syrup

1/4 c. milk

1/8 c. melted, unsalted butter

1/2 c. strongly brewed coffee

shake of salt


I halved the original recipe and still ended up with four full pans of rolls. I also used quite a bit less sugar, and butter, and made the frosting less sweet, and more maple-coffee flavorful. I am not one to shy away from sugar and butter – don’t get it twisted – but I honestly feel the original recipe is excessive. And if I think it’s excessive…it may actually be.


This is the easiest dough you will ever make. Trust me, please. In a stockpot, heat the milk, vegetable oil and sugar over medium heat. Heat it to just below a boil (one of the worst instructions ever, and I apologize – it’s tricky for most folks to figure out when something is just about to boil, unless they’ve boiled it before. Good luck, and don’t fret.). Turn off heat, and set aside for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, add the packet of yeast, and let sit for 3 minutes or so.

Now, add the 4 cups of flour. Mix in with a wooden spoon until just combined, cover with a clean hand towel, and let rise for 1 hour.


After 1 hour of rising has passed, add the baking soda, baking powder, salt and the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Stir to combine.

Preheat the oven to 375F.


Flour your workspace generously, and roll out your dough into a very long rectangle. Roll the dough out quite thinly.


Now, pour the melted butter onto the dough (yes, all 3/4 cup of it). This will be messy, and it will feel strange – do it anyway! Massage the butter into the dough. Next, sprinkle tons of cinnamon, and your white sugar and brown sugar over the dough, as well.

Now it’s time to get cinnamon-rolling…


It’s best to roll toward yourself, rather than away (note: do the opposite of what is pictured above). Roll gently, no need to apply pressure. Once the roll is made, pinch a seam along the length of the roll as best you can – it won’t stick well, ’cause it’s too damn buttery.


Slice into 1/2 inch slices, and put them into lightly buttered pans. Don’t worry about crowding them if you’re not concerned about appearance, but if you want them to be beautiful individually, leave space between each roll in the pan.


Now, let your rolls sit in their pans for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking.

While you are baking them (15-18 minutes, until golden brown), let’s make the icing.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, melted butter, coffee, maple syrup and salt. Whisk until smooth. That’s it.

Once the rolls are baked, immediately drench them in icing. They really need to soak it up. They belong together, warm rolls and icing. Just let them get to know one another. Get fresh, even. Don’t skimp!


These rolls are meant to be shared with friends and family, doled out to lonely neighbors over the holidays, etc. Or, I recommend eating them all by your lonesome, greedily, while your friends and family eat Lean Cuisines, ignorant of the Eighth Wonder of the World hiding in your kitchen. I won’t tell if you don’t.


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