I currently live in Charlotte, NC and after spending 7 years as a personal chef and caterer, I am now happy to share my love of cooking with friends and family. My heart is in the kitchen, but my soul is in the stars!


A little while ago, Lis from La Mia Cucina and a few of her blogger buddies hosted a cinnamon roll smack down between the ooey-gooey Cinnabon and the recipe that was chosen for one of the Daring Bakers monthly challenges. Sadly, my hectic work schedule and chaotic personal life prevent me from being one of the Daring Bakers but I dutifully read posts by some of my favorite bloggers each month. When I read about all those beautiful fresh-from-the-oven buns, memories of my first days as a caterer came rushing back.

One of my first pieces of business was providing continental box breakfasts for the flight crew in Captain Sturm's flight department. I had a fabulous recipe for cinnamon rolls and it would thrill me when the crew ordered boxes for themselves and a few passengers because the recipe would make a dozen rolls so that meant that I could feast on leftovers for the next few mornings! I was so proud of those breakfasts, all nice and pretty with a fresh fruit cup, yogurt and homemade granola, a spork package complete with wet nap, and a huge ooey-gooey cinnamon roll taking center stage in the box. I was a proud caterer!



Captain Sturm brought home the bad news.....

The other pilots didn't want the cinnamon rolls because they were fattening. WTF??? Men worried about fattening??? Give me a break! So that was the end of my lovely box breakfasts. Oh, sure, I still make them for the crew but somehow that low fat muffin pales in comparison to my beautiful buns.

I made the rolls a few other times for another client but she developed health problems and had to abstain from my ooey-gooey buns (okay, so maybe the pilots knew something I didn't and wanted to be pro-active against health problems associated with eating too many cinnamon rolls, I dunno....) and soon, sadly, the cinna-madness was over. It has probably been 2 years since I last made them.


One glorious day last week when a friend of said client with health problems waltzed into my store and asked for a special order of cinnamon rolls. He said he'd heard they were the best. I baked the rolls and man, oh, man did they smell good! My entire staff oooohed and aaaahed over them all afternoon. And I'll admit, they tugged at my heart strings a bit too and caused me to wax nostalgia about the good ole days.

The next day I whipped up another batch just for myself and the staff to enjoy over the weekend. And don't you know, said friend from said client waltzed into my store again yesterday and wanted not one, but two more dozen of the beauties! And so cinna-madness has returned!!

But folks, lean close 'cause I'm gonna be completely and utterly honest with you. First, I'm a cheater when it comes to making the rolls. And too, I don't put cinnamon in them. SSSSSHHHHHHH! Don't you breathe a word!!! As far as cheating goes, can you blame me? My rolls turn out much, much better when using the dough cycle on my bread machine. I gave up trying to pretend that I could conquer the yeast beast. I can admit when I've been beaten. So, the recipe as posted below is for those of you who are cheaters as well. And for those of you I-don't-need-no-bread-machine snobs, well, just have right at it the old fashioned way! And I know you're dying to know what in the tarnation I use in my rolls if it's not cinnamon..........

That would be Chinese Five Spice Powder.

Yep, that's my secret weapon. It imparts a "what exactly is that flavor?" taste and no one can quite figure it out. Drives 'em mad, I tell ya. Try it. You'll see.

Naked, fresh-from-the-oven yummyness.

* Exported from MasterCook *

CinnaMadness Rolls

Serving Size : 12
Categories : Breads, Rolls, Muffins Breakfast

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 C)
2 each eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour minus 2 Tablespoons
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons Chinese Five Spice Powder
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press Start.

After the dough has finished its cycle and doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and Chinese Five Spice Powder.

Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with brown sugar/five spice mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (200 degrees C). Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes (check after 10 minutes and cover with foil if getting too brown).

While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving. Remove rolls from pan before completely cool or they will stick.

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