The Glory of Cinnamon Rolls

Swirly, swirly, swirly...


Around four years ago, I made my first attempt at zimtschnecken or German-style cinnamon rolls.  The recipe I used was the one from Nigella Lawson‘s How to be a Domestic Goddess baking book and it worked quite well – for a while.  In the years that followed, people who ate my cinnamon rolls said that they could have been softer / fluffier / chewier / less sugary / more syrupy; and so on and so forth.  As a result, I would make these curly buns at least once a month and try to see what could be done to improve them.

Woohoo!  Cinnamon buns!


I guess all that practice finally paid off!  The batch I made over the weekend were declared “perfect” by everyone who tasted them.  Soft, fluffy, buttery, syrupy, nutty…ah, bliss!  I took the last one to work – and I now have to fend off voracious officemates and a certain ravenous Mr. W away from it.  Go figure…!


  • 500 grams all-purpose flour
  • 50 grams sugar
  • 1 sachet fast-acting / rapid-rising yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine/iodized salt
  • 150mL milk (it doesn’t matter if you use whole, lactose-free, skimmed, or low-fat milk; all that matters is that is should come from a cow!)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 100 grams salted butter (that’s about 1/2 of a block of butter)
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Two tablespoons muscovado sugar
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with about 1 tablespoon milk
  • cinnamon sugar mix (1 tablespoon muscovado + 1- 1/2 tablespoons granulated white sugar + about 1 teaspoon cinnamon)

In a large metal bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. In another bowl, pour in the milk and add the butter; microwave on HIGH for two minutes. Whisk the eggs into the butter-milk mixture until it resembles a thin custard. Pour this custard into the dry ingredients. Stir everything together until it all clings together and becomes something of a shaggy mess.

Flour your hands and start kneading the dough in the bowl. Use all the force you can muster: punch the dough, massage it, flip it around, smack it around – clobber it, by all means! (Now you understand why I specifically asked that you use a metal bowl!) Maul – er, knead – the dough for about ten minutes. After ten minutes, form the dough into a ball and set in the middle of the bowl; cover with a clean dishtowel and place in a warm place to rise for about an hour or till doubled in bulk. (Alternatively, if you’re making the dough at night, just leave it out to rise overnight.) In the meantime (or in the morning, depending on when you made the dough!), preheat your oven to 350 degrees/Gas Mark 4.

Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish and preheat oven to 350 degrees/Gas Mark 4. Combine margarine, syrup, honey, muscovado, and the nuts until well-whipped; spread this mixture evenly over the bottom of the baking dish. 

When the dough has risen in bulk, punch it down and cut in half.  Roll half the dough out into a rectangle on a floured surface. Brush the surface of the rolled dough with egg yolk glaze and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mix over it evenly. Roll tightly, beginning at the long edge. Cut into twelve even slices. Place slices cut-side-down onto the syrup in the baking dish.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Let rest for 20 minutes and let it get nice and puffy.  Brush the tops of the buns with the remaining egg-yolk glaze before baking.

Bake the rolls for 20 – 25 minutes until they’re nicely brown and crisp in parts and magnificently gooey and chewy in others. Serve them syrup-side-up with coffee, tea, or hot cocoa.  Makes 24 gorgeous buns.

2 thoughts on “The Glory of Cinnamon Rolls

  1. love love cinnamon rolls!!

    was so happy to see Cinnabon cereals in Market! Market!.. yummy also! satisfy your Cinnabon cravings for lesser calories 😛

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