Homemade Cinnamon Rolls — Three Recipes Reviewed
Making homemade cinnamon rolls is a lot of fun, but unless you bake them often and have a tried-and-true family favorite, you may have a hard time choosing a recipe. That’s the case at our house. I make homemade cinnamon rolls occasionally, but haven’t settled on an all-time favorite. So given the situation, I took on a little post-Thanksgiving project and baked three different recipes back-to-back to pick a winner.
First up was a recipe called Classic Cinnamon Rolls from Allrecipes, which calls for a cup of mashed potatoes and some potato water. Adding mashed potatoes made for a softer and squishier dough which resulted in a pillow-y, fluffy, baked roll. My family loved the texture of the warm rolls, and the flavor was very good, though not what you’d call potato-y. A drawback to this recipe (other than having to boil a potato) is that the filling is kind of boring and there’s not quite enough of it. Like most homemade cinnamon rolls, the rolls get kind of stiff after being covered and left overnight, but it seems rolls made with potatoes get even stiffer. Overall, they very good warm, but kind of “meh” at room temperature. They lacked structure and weren’t quite as stately. Interestingly, the simple vanilla icing that went with this recipe was the best. The cream cheese didn’t get in the way of the good vanilla flavor.
Next I tried “Sin” Amon Rolls from Food.com, which I chose based on the silly name and the number of good reviews. It was amusing to see reviews from people who totally ignored Karen’s note regarding margarine. Karen says that only margarine should be used, but a lot of people, including me, used butter anyway. I would have tried Karen’s margarine version just for fun, but it seems several margarine brands have been reformulated since 2006, so even if I had used margarine I probably wouldn’t have had the same results as Karen. Either way, the butter worked quite nicely and the rolls tasted great. They also rose much higher and had a sturdier build than the potato rolls. The filling was good too, with brown sugar and loads of cinnamon. If serving rolls to a group, I’d serve these based on presentation. One caveat — the icing from that recipe is on the greasy side. You might want to use more sugar or use a different cream cheese icing.
The final recipe in this tasting was Cinnamon Rolls III, the recipe from Allrecipes that calls for half a pack of pudding mix and is supposed to be similar to Cinnabon. Maybe I was just burned out on cinnamon rolls by this point, but I wasn’t overly impressed. The pudding mix softened the dough somewhat and gave the rolls a nice color, but I don’t think these were any better than the rolls without pudding mix. The cream cheese icing in this recipe was better than the icing in the previous one, so if you want to stick with cream cheese icing, go with this one and use it on whatever roll you choose.
The winner of this experiment was Karen’s “Sin” Amon Rolls made with butter. The recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but I think these would be even better with bread flour, and I would use a regular vanilla icing (as in the Classic Cinnamon Rolls recipe) or the cream cheese icing from the third recipe. It’s funny how sometimes it takes three different recipes to build the perfect cinnamon roll.