Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls
Hey there! You may be wondering what this recipe for cinnamon rolls is doing on a paleo-ish food blog. Well…. it dates back to when I wasn’t a paleo-ish blogger, and it’s one of our favorites. And it’s apparently one of your favorites, too, because it’s been flying around Pinterest like crazy for the past few years.
Eventually I’d like to clean it up and make it (at least) gluten and dairy-free, but in the meantime it’ll stay and have a home here on my blog as totally-worth-it recipe we’d indulge in.
I tend to get dramatic when I talk about desserts around here, which is seldom. Really, have you noticed? This is only the 9th “dessert” post I’ve posted this year. A while ago I decided to cut back on baking. I love to bake, but let’s face it. . . baked treats aren’t good for you. And they’re dangerous to have sitting on the counter when you have little self control. (like me)
So I decided only to bake for special occasions. Like birthdays. Like when a 2-week cookie craving won’t go away. Like when someone in my family comes to visit. (That doesn’t happen much. We do most of the traveling.) The latter is why I made these cinnamon rolls for the second time this year. (I made them back in January, but didn’t get a photo because I was too busy stuffing them in my mouth. True story. I ate six in one day.)
I’ve tried a lot of cinnamon roll recipes in my years of baking and occasionally find a new “favorite”. Well, people, this one just rose to the top and clobbered the rest with its gooey, sticky goodness. Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls are, like, an institution.
According to Pioneer Woman (and I completely agree), the problem with most cinnamon rolls is that there’s too much bread and not enough goo. People fight over the center of the roll, but with these, there’ no need for that because . . .
THE WHOLE THING TASTES LIKE THE MIDDLE.
If you don’t like gooey-sticky cinnamon rolls, then you would absolutely hate these. For the rest of you, . . . at least try them once in your life. Life-changing? Absolutely.
By the way, this recipe makes about 50. I did the whole thing back in January and filled two rimmed cookie sheets. This last time I halved the recipe and made them in those little disposable foil baking pans and froze them. Pre-frozen or fresh, they turn out amazing. And I love that you can just make the dough and stick it in the fridge for a couple of days until you find a few minutes to finish them.
I tweaked Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll frosting because I don’t use coffee in anything I bake (or cook). So I added some cream cheese and maple flavoring to the frosting instead. Holy cow — they taste like maple bar doughnut frosting. Absolutely incredible.
I also use avocado oil instead of vegetable oil and usually swap out the milk for almond milk. It’s still super tasty. I’d love to make a gluten-free version of these, but honestly, I’d just rather have the real thing.
For the rolls:
- 1 quart whole milk (almond milk is ok)
- 1 cup avocado oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 packages active dry yeast (I used instant yeast that I store in the freezer)
- 9 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (scant) baking soda
- 1 tablespoon (heaping) salt
- 1 1/2 cups butter (yep, 3 sticks)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cinnamon
he maple frosting:
- 1 2-pound bag of powdered sugar
- 8 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 Tablespoon maple flavoring
- 1/2 cup milk
- pinch of salt
- Mix the milk, avocado oil and sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
- After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down.)
- When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape.
- Drizzle 1/2 to 1 cup melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.
- Starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.
- Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans. (At this point you can cover them and put them in the freezer. When you're ready to make them, just pull them out and stick them on the counter for a few hours until they thaw and rise, which happened quicker than I though.)
- Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.
- For the frosting, cream the powdered sugar, butter, and cream cheese together very well. The mixture will be very thick. Add the maple flavoring, half of the milk, and a pinch of salt. Beat until the frosting thins out and there aren't any lumps. Add the rest of the milk if you want the frosting to be thinner.
- Frost the cinnamon rolls while they're still warm so the frosting melts into the rolls.
- Try not to eat the entire pan.
Note: Adapted from The Pioneer Woman's recipe