Cinnamon rolls

cinnamon rolls baking

Have you ever visited a Cinnabon?  Well, I have!  And anyone who has ever visited an airport in the United States has likely been tempted by the smell of fresh cinnamon rolls coming out of the oven!

I’ve tried several different cinnamon roll recipes, and Kennon-Green has it just about right.  Here’s my version of Kennon-Green’s recipe, with slight changes.  Try it, and tell me if these aren’t just the most delicious cinnamon rolls you’ve ever had!


Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 package yeast (1/4 ounce)

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

Cinnamon Roll Dough spread

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

Cinnamon Roll Icing

  • 3 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • Use a stand mixer for all mixing! 
  • This is a yeast based bread product.  it isn’t a cake.


There are several groups of instructions here, each pertaining to a separate “sub product”.

Cinnamon roll dough

  1. Heat milk in microwave until between 105° F–115° F (41° C–46° C) .  Proper temperature is required for yeast to work properly.  Remember the bowl will cool the milk.
  2. Heat large mixing bowl so that it will not cool the milk significantly.  Make the bowl warm enough so that when the milk is poured in the mixing bowl, the milk is still in the proper temperature range.
  3. Pour the warm milk in the warm mixing bowl.
  4. Dissolve yeast in warm milk.
  5. Add sugar, butter, salt, eggs, and flour.  
  6. Using a stand mixer (if available), mix well until a bread ball forms.  Add a little flour if ball does not form.
  7. Put the dough ball into a bowl sprayed with cooking spray.
  8. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap
  9. Place the dough ball bowl in a warm oven (around 100 degrees) and let it rise for 1-2 hours.  The dough ball should be doubled in size.

Cinnamon roll filling

  1. In a fresh mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter.  Mix very well.  It is difficult to over mix sugar and butter.

Rolling out the cinnamon rolls

  1. Find a flat surface and measure out a rectangle about 16″ x 21″.
  2. Spray the area with cooking spray or sprinkle with flour.
  3. Roll out the dough ball.  The resulting rectangle should be around 1/4″ thick.
  4. Spread the Cinnamon Roll dough spread (melted butter) over the entire surface of the dough.
  5. Sprinkle the sugar/butter mixture over the cinnamon roll dough.  It is okay if the coverage is not 100%, do the best you feel comfortable with. 

Rolling up the cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls cutting in pieces
Cinnamon rolls cutting in pieces
  1. Lightly grease a glass baking dish (probably will need at least a 11″ x 15″ dish).  Have a second dish ready for any additional rolls.
  2. Roll up the flat dough starting with the longer side.  This will make a 21″ long dough roll.
  3. cinnamon rolls in dish
    cinnamon rolls in dish

    Cut the long cinnamon roll into individual rolls around 1″ to 1 1/2″ thick.  This will produce around between 14 and 21 rolls.  I tend to make them 1″ thick.  Remember the “end cuts” aren’t going to be as perfect as the others, but they are just as tasty!

  4. Cover the glass dish with aluminum foil and let rolls rise to roughly double size, about 45-60 minutes.

Baking the rolls

cinnamon rolls baking
cinnamon rolls baking
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C)
  2. Bake until golden brown, around 18-20 minutes.  Use the toothpick test to determine if center of rolls are cooked sufficiently.  

Preparing the icing

  1. While the rolls are baking, prepare the icing.  
  2. Mix the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and salt in the stand mixer until it is thoroughly creamed, light, and fluffy.  Recommendation is 10 to 15 minutes

Spreading the icing

  1. Cinnamon rolls adding topping
    Cinnamon rolls adding topping

    When the cinnamon rolls are ready and out of the oven, spread the icing over the rolls.  Do this while they are still very hot.  Do not remove them from the glass baking dish.  This helps to “melt in” the icing, into the rolls.


  1. Pour a very nice cup of cold milk.
  2. With your left hand hold the cup of milk.
  3. And with your right hand…. pick up a cinnamon roll, and take a nice big bite
  4. Rinse and repeat!
  5. Yum!

Fluffy buttermilk pancakes

These are the best pancake recipe I’ve found, made with improvised buttermilk.  Try them!  If you like them, please send me a note!

Ingredients to create buttermilk

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons of white vinegar

Dry ingredients for pancakes

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (can use all purpose flour, but I’d recommend whole wheat)
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Additional ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chip
  • 1/2 cup sliced nuts (almonds work great!)

Cooking tools

  • Cooking spray
  • Recommended griddle
  • Recommended blender


  1. Combine milk and vinegar.  Stir quickly (only five seconds or so, just to mix the fluids).  Let stand for at least five minutes to sour.  Continue on with measuring other ingredients while the milk and vinegar sour.
  2. Preheat griddle to 350 degrees.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt).
  4. Pour the sour milk into the blender.  Add egg and butter.  Blend.
  5. Combine the dry ingredients into the blender while it is blending.  Blend for around one minute at a medium speed.  The mixture will have a foamy top.
  6. Start making pancakes!  Pour the size of pancake you wish to make.  Sprinkle toppings on the pancakes immediately, as in right away, before the pancake cooks through.  

A few hints

  • You’ll know the pancake is ready to flip over when cooking bubbles form and do not “resolve”.  There will be a light crust on the top of the pancake, firming up the mixture.  The light crust is really just identified by noticing the crust is no longer wet.  When the light crust forms, flip the pancake.  
  • Let cook just for a few moments on the backside, then when the pancake mix is cooked through the pancake is done!
  • Use cooking spray on the spatula that will be used for flipping.  This helps to slide the spatula under the pancake without breaking it.
  • Only spray the griddle on the first set of pancakes.
  • Make sure the griddle is fully preheated before cooking.
  • Don’t use a Magic Bullet or anything with an enclosed mixing bowl! Trust me on this, it will explode.  violently enough that you’ll be cleaning your kitchen for awhile.  🙂


Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie

For those of you who know me, you know that I lead my life the way President Reagan was taught by the Russians — trust, but verify.

In the late 1900s (gosh that sounds like a long time ago!), about thirty years after Al Gore created the Internet, I received an email about a Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie.  The email was a rant, someone claimed to have paid $250 for the recipe and wanted to “stick it to the big man” by sending everyone and their cousin the recipe.Neiman-Cookies

But receiving this email coincided with my first job as a Professional Pastry Chef!  Okay, well, it wasn’t a job exactly, and I wasn’t a professional.  But I did have my first Kitchenaid Stand Mixer.  At least that part is true… 🙂

Anyway, as I looked over the recipe that baked somewhere like a hundred dozen cookies, the ingredient mix just didn’t look right.  For example, it seemed there was just a bit too much baking power, and too much baking soda, which would have resulted in what I believed to be a bitter cookie.

So, in true form to doveryai no proveryai (Russian proverb Trust but Verify), I called Neiman Marcus.  The conversation went something like this:

Nice Neiman Marcus lady:  Hello, this is Neiman Marcus, how may I help you?

Mark:  Hi Mrs. Neiman Marcus!  I received an email today about a Neiman Marcus cookie recipe that cost $250, can you give me some idea of what all this is about?

NM: Well, thank you for calling us!  That is a nice chain letter that as far as we can tell started sometime in the 1970s, before Neiman Marcus even had a bakery or any baked goods.

Mark:  Haha, well, I thought it might be a hoax.

NM:  It actually is better than a hoax.  We had so much free publicity that we decided to create a cookie.

Neiman Marcus wound up sending me a gift wrapped box of cookies along with the recipe.  I was quite impressed — not only with their response, but with the cookie itself!

So what is the take away from this experience?  Never trust an email.  Never trust gossip.  Always verify sources and information.  And most importantly, bake these cookies!  They rock!

NM Cookie Recipe

 An urban myth is a modern folk tale, its origins unknown, its believability enhanced simply by the frequency with which it is repeated. Our signature chocolate chip cookie is the subject of one such myth. If you haven’t heard the story, we won’t perpetuate it here. If you have, the recipe below should serve to refute it. Copy it, print it out, pass it along to friends and family. It’s a terrific recipe. And it’s absolutely free.


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream the butter with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy (approximately 30 seconds).
  • Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract for another 30 seconds.
  • In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds. Stir in the espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips.
  • Using a 1-ounce scoop or a 2-tablespoon measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough with the back of a spoon to spread out into a 2 inch circle. Bake for about 20 minutes or until nicely browned around the edges. Bake a little longer for a crispier cookie.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Reference documents

  1. Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.
  2. Al Gore never actually said he created the Internet, that’s just a funny story for those of us who remember it.  Read here for more.
  3. Even Snopes talks about the famous Neiman Marcus Cookie!
  4. Trust, but verify.,_but_verify