Hot, fresh, light-as-a-feather cinnamon rolls for breakfast. What could be better?!?

Many moons ago – as in living-in-Tahoe-in-the-’70s-many-moons-ago – I had a sweet dough recipe that was pretty fool-proof. Granted, this was Tahoe in the ’70s and we were smoking so much pot that any recollections can be viewed as suspect, but I did make some good cinnamon rolls back then.  Actually, cinnamon raisin rolls… It’s slowly coming back to me… I remember making them once in a while as a breakfast special at The Old Post Office when I cooked there – and they were an inevitable part of our fabulous Sunday Brunches at home.

That recipe faded away and over the years I tended to go back to my earliest days of baking and make convoluted 196-step-all-day-in-the-kitchen Danish.  They are absolutely fabulous and are worth every step and moment it takes to make them – but sometimes I just want something a bit simpler.

And last night on Facebook, Ruth posted a recipe that could well have been that recipe from 1976.

I didn’t quite realize it at the time that it would be so similar – I was caught up with the fact she had said the dough came together easily and rolled out like a dream.  And, that she was switching them out to make a savory garlic and sun-dried tomato version. I like that kind of versatility! But biting into one this morning brought back a lot of fond, mimosa-addled memories. Tahoe in the ’70s. Ya should have been there…

The basic recipe is easy and quick to put together. It’s a single-rise dough, so depending upon your weather and temperature, you can have fresh danish in a couple of hours – or, in 30 minutes if you make the dough before you go to bed.

The recipe Ruth found from Sally’s Baking Addiction calls for rapid-rise yeast. I generally avoid the rapid-rise because I like a slower, more complex rise for my baked goods. It’s a personal preference – nothing more. Basic active dry yeast requires liquid to activate it – the ‘proofing’ step – while rapid-rise can be mixed straight into the dry ingredients.

Cinnamon Rolls


  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2  1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large egg

Cinnamon Sugar

  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp milk


Mix yeast and sugar in mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup warm water (110°). Allow to proof while getting other ingredients together.

Melt milk and butter together and cool to no more than 110°.

Add flour, salt, milk mixture, and egg to mixing bowl. Blend on low speed until flour is incorporated. Knead about 4 minutes. Cover bowl and let dough rest for 10 minutes. This relaxes the gluten and allows the flour to fully-incorporate the liquid.

On a lightly-floured counter, roll the dough to an 8″ x 14″ rectangle. Spread with the soft butter and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. (Add chopped walnuts and/or plumped raisins, if desired.) Tightly roll and slice into 12 rolls.

Place in greased 9″ pan and allow to rise until doubled – about 90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°. Place pan in oven and bake about 30-35 minutes, or until nicely-browned.

Allow to cool slightly and then apply glaze.

To make glaze:

Mix powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Drizzle over warm rolls.


Right out of the oven before the glaze.

I made these in a 10″ springform pan. I rolled them out, formed them, and placed them in the pan and then covered it with a kitchen towel before heading off to bed.

This morning I preheated the oven and baked them off. The recipe called for a 375° oven but without thinking, I preheated to 350°.   I think my old Tahoe recipe was 350° and I just went on auto-pilot. They came out perfect at that temperature without having to worry about over-browning.

They are feathery-light and can definitely be reworked to suit your gastronomic desires. I’ll be adding plumped raisins, for sure, next time around – and probably walnuts.

So thank you, Ruth, for yet another fantastic culinary idea. Think of the fun we could have if we did this for a living…