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My mom is the healthiest person I know. She is a firecracker, an energizer bunny. For as long as I can remember, she has gotten up early every morning to workout, meticulously counted her calories and refused to sit still for long periods of time. Most of the food she eats is fresh, grown in the ground, whole wheat, low fat or sugar-free. But even the healthiest of people have at least one weakness. My mother’s, Sweet rolls. Specifically, cinnamon rolls.

The woman I’ve seen resist chocolate, donuts, cookies, cupcakes and ice cream is powerless in front of a soft, sweet bun rolled with cinnamon and sugar, and topped with cream cheese frosting. Aren’t we all?

That’s why on Mother’s Day my dad, brother and I would treat Mom to a freshly baked pan of giant, fluffy cinnamon rolls.

In our experience making these delightful treats, here is what we’ve found:

  • Soft, fluffy sweet rolls fresh from the oven are best. Give your sweet rolls extra time to rise.
  • Cinnamon rolls need plenty of frosting-thick fudgy-type frosting, not a thin glaze.
  • They also need plenty of filling. Tightly wound rolls with lots of filling between thin layers of rolls are best.
  • They need a lot of flavor. If it’s a cinnamon roll, use good quality cinnamon. If it’s a maple or orange roll, use lots of maple or orange flavor.

Based on what we learned, we made changes in how we make sweet rolls. We have incorporated these changes into our sweet roll mixes and the instructions for those mixes. You can make the same changes to your favorite recipes.

  • We are careful to let the rolls rise until they have all their volume, a very soft dough.
  • We increased the quantity of the frosting and the fillings by 15 to 20%. It’s hard to have too much.
  • We rolled the dough out until it was 1/4 to 3/8-inch thick. This way, there was lots of filling between thin layers of bread.
  • We tried applying the butter and sugar in three ways, but we found that brushing the dough with melted butter then cinnamon and sugar was best.

If you would like to use a proven mix or have never made sweet rolls before, consider our Cinnamon Rolls with Sweet Cream Frosting, popular Orange Blossom Rolls, or Maple Nut Rolls. 

How to Make a Thousand Sweet Rolls

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You never have to make the same sweet rolls twice. By varying the frosting and the filling, you can create an endless variety of sweet rolls. Here we’ll explore some of the ways in which you can create new and exciting sweet rolls.

Cinnamon-type sweet rolls have three components: dough, sweet filling, and frosting. Not all sweet rolls are frosted. The filling is often made with sugar and spice.

Dough

The dough can be made with a bread dough. Often it is made sweeter and richer with sugar and butter, though that isn’t necessary. Here are your options for dough:

  • Make it from scratch.
  • Use a sweet roll mix. It will have a packet for both filling and frosting and will be especially formulated for sweet rolls. We sell cinnamon rolls, orange blossom rolls, and maple nut rolls.
  • Use a bread or dinner roll mix. We are especially fond of Sour Cream Potato dinner roll mix.
  • Use a bread helper. It is a quick, inexpensive way to make dough. You add the flour.

Filling

While the filling is traditionally a mixture of sugar, butter, and spices, it doesn’t have to be. You can use fruit, nuts, or pastry filling. Look over the ideas below and then get creative.

Sugar

Usually you’ll make your filling with sugar. You can use either brown sugar or white. A brown sugar, with the addition of butter, will make for a caramel-like filling.

Spice

Cinnamon is the traditional spice but a touch of nutmeg or allspice is terrific.

Frosting

You can use any thick, rich frosting. Since your rolls are likely to be eaten by hand, it’s nice to have the frosting thick enough that it doesn’t drip and run. The addition of either egg whites or meringue powder will set your frosting up. Add enough and you will have a hard shell.

Cream cheese frosting is especially yummy.


  A fudgy ganache with chocolate sweet rolls is superb. Try melting white chocolate and adding it to y our frosting for a change.

For a special occasion or for a holiday, consider dressing up your sweet rolls with sprinkles or crushed bark.

Raspberry Cream Rolls

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If you can make cinnamon rolls, you can make these sweet rolls. You can use a bread recipe, but to make it even easier, use a mix. You can make it with your bread machine set on the dough cycle or with your stand-type mixer.

If you use your stand-type mixer, use the dough hook and let it beat for four minutes on medium. Roll the dough out on the counter, cover the sheet of dough with a layer of filling and roll it up pinwheel fashion. Cut slices, put them in a greased pan, and let them rise. When fully risen, bake, let cool, and frost them.

Ingredients:

1 bread mix, Buttermilk White, Sour Cream Potato Rolls, or equal

3/4 cup raspberry baking chips

1 cup (about 1/2 pound) raspberry pastry filling

1 cup (about 1/2 pound) Bavarian Cream pastry filling

Raspberry Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x13-inch baking pan.

Directions:

1. Mix bread dough according to package directions. Set dough aside to rise

2. After dough has risen, fold in raspberry chips, kneading until they are dispersed. Do not knead more than necessary

3. With rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangle on floured counter until 1/4-inch thick

4. Spread pastry fillings on dough so the two flavors are mixed together. Roll dough into log with filling trapped inside. Pinch seam to keep filling from falling out.

5. Cut slices horizontally 1 1/4-inches thick. Place slices in prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until done.

6. Invert pan onto cutting board to remove the rolls (you may need to loosen rolls first) then invert rolls and cutting board onto wire rack so they finish cooling right-side-up.

7. Let rolls cool for five minutes then frost.  

Raspberry Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

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4 ounces of cream cheese, softened.

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon raspberry flavoring

1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

2 tablespoons milk

3 to 4 cups powdered sugar

1. Beat butter and cream cheese together with whip attachment of your stand-type mixer.

2. Add flavors and milk. Beat mixture, adding powdered sugar until soft consistency.

How to Make Lemon Cream Rolls

This recipe is very similar to the raspberry cream rolls, but with a citrus zing to it.

Ingredients:

1 bread mix, Buttermilk White, Sour Cream Potato Rolls

2 cups (about one pound) lemon pastry filling

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

1/4 cup Sweet Sensations Lemon Cream Bark Topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x13-inch baking pan.

1.Mix bread dough according to package directions. Set dough aside to rise.

2. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a rough rectangle on a floured counter with dough about 1/4-inch thick.

3. Spread pastry filling on dough. Roll dough into a log with filling inside. Pinch seam to keep filling from falling out.

4. Cut slices horizontally about 1 1/4-inches thick. Place the slices in the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until done.

5. Invert the pan onto cutting a board to remove the rolls (you may need to loosen rolls first) then invert rolls and cutting board onto wire rack so they finish cooling right-side-up.

6. Let the rolls cool for at least five minutes then frost them. While the frosting is still soft, sprinkle the rolls with the Lemon Cream Bark Topping.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened.

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon lemon flavoring

2 tablespoons milk

3 to 4 cups powdered sugar

1.


Beat butter and cream cheese together with whip attachment of your stand-type mixer.

2. Add flavor and milk. Beat mixture, adding powdered sugar until soft consistency.

Ideas for Your Next Sweet Roll Project

Cranberry Nut Sweet Rolls. Use dried cranberries and walnuts in the filling. Add a little orange zest to your filling.


Cranapple Sweet Rolls. Add dried cranberries and dried apples to your filling. Alternatively, use an apple pastry filling and add cranberries.


California Golden Sweet Rolls. Add golden raisins and orange zest to your filling.


Fruit Filled Sweet Rolls. Use a commercial fruit pastry filling with your sweet rolls. We sell apple, raspberry, blueberry, cherry, and lemon. Alternatively, make your own filling with fresh fruit.


Maple Nut Sweet Rolls. Make your filling with maple chips and walnuts.


Peanut Butter Sweet Rolls. Instead of butter in the filling, substitute peanut butter. Add chopped peanuts.


Chocolate Fudge Sweet Rolls. Add cocoa to your dough and some extra sugar. Add cocoa and chocolate chips to your filling. Frost your rolls with a thick ganache.


Cinnamon Burst Sweet Rolls. Add cinnamon chips to your filling.


Jammy Sweet Rolls. Use your favorite jam or jelly in the filling.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Sweet Rolls. Make the fudge rolls above but substitute peanut butter for the butter and add extra peanut butter.


Cherry Pecan Sweet Rolls. Add dried cherries or maraschino cherries and pecans to your filling. Make a cherry frosting with red or pink food coloring and cherry extract.


Pear and Pecan Sweet Rolls. Add dried pears and pecans to your filling.


Macadamia Orange Sweet Rolls. Add macadamia nuts, white chocolate and orange marmalade to your filling. Add orange zest to a cream cheese frosting for topping.


Coconut and Pecan Sweet Rolls. Add shredded coconut and pecans to your filling. Use brown sugar in the filling and omit the spices.

 

Author Biography

CaseyArchibaldtCasey is a journalist who has experience working in the newspaper industry. She was trained in English and journalism at Brigham Young University-Idaho. She has works in marketing and loves writing about cooking and baking at The Prepared Pantry. Cooking has been a hobby of Casey’s since she was a little girl.  She also enjoys cooking for her husband and trying new recipes.

She enjoys food photography and graphic design as she works as the editor of the “Country Home Kitchen” magazine at The Prepared Pantry.

Casey lives in Rigby, Idaho with her husband, David. Not to mention an energetic but adorable chocolate lab, Copper.


Top of FormdennisDennis Weaver has burnt food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking, available free in an e-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon for $10.

He loves to help people bake and is giving away Free Digital Cookbooks and Magazines. There is no cost or obligation. To sign up for the FREE subscription of “Country Home Kitchen” and other great E-books and giveaways, click here.

Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children.

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