Monday, November 16, 2009

DIY XMAS: Cinnamon Rolls

OK, sorry, The Frugal Hostess has yet to post a single episode of the DIY XMAS series.  Oops.  She's been working on it, don't you worry, but she realized that two of her three total readers are family members and thus potential DIY XMAS gift recipients who, you know, might not like to know how cheap their gift was prefer a surprise.  So, TFH had to do a bit of shuffling.  But, she's supposedly got it together now, so let the D-ing IY commence!

Well, except for, in just this one case, FruHo is DI-ing it a la The Pioneer Woman and Paula Deen.  (And, seriously, if you read this blog and don't read The Pioneer Woman, you have your priorities completely jacked up and need to have your internet connection taken away.)  With some major minor changes, as per usual.

These cinnamon rolls are a great holiday gift for neighbors and co-workers.  It's also a good idea to make these if you'll have a lot of holiday company, as they are impressive (play up the "from scratch" angle) and make the house smell good.  And, you know how TFH feels about cinnamon, so these must be good if she will choke them down.

While The Frugal Hostess is ordinarily quite firmly opposed to disposable, well, anything other than toilet paper, delivering or freezing these in disposable aluminum pie pans is a good way to accomplish using them for a gift, unless you have been buying up pie pans at the thrift store for a few months.  New pie pans = $6 or so, whereas a package of three aluminum pans is about $1.50.  Again, this is only for anyone experiencing the drier end of a cash flow problem; if you have enough to budget about $10 per person, make the pie pan the real gift and the cinnamon rolls a bonus.

Here are directions for making 12-15 rolls adapted from Paula Deen; The Pioneer Woman has a big batch recipe if you want to make a great deal at once.


1/4 oz pkg yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk (you know, just under boiled.  TFH always adds a splash more to account for the milk that sticks to the pan.)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3.5 - 4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup melted butter (use the extra for the pan)
3/4 granulated sugar
2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
Optional raisins and/or pecans

4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons of hot water

Directions - Make dough and let rise for 60-90 minutes. 

1.  Dissolve yeast in warm water.  TFH usually adds a pinch of sugar and whisks this lightly, as it supposedly "feeds" the yeast and makes it more excited or something.  Who knows if this is actually necessary.
2.  In a large bowl, mix milk, butter, salt, and egg.  Add two cups of flour and mix, then add yeast mixture.  Add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough is easy to handle (although it will still be sort of sticky).  TFH found 3.5 cups, plus another perhaps eighth of a cup, of flour were plenty.
3.  Kneed for five minutes or so on a floured surface, then place in a greased bowl and cover to let rise, at least one hour.  Cooking spray is fine for greasing the bowl, and you can just rinse out the ingredients bowl and use it again rather than dirtying up a new bowl.

Make the rolls, and let them rise again.  Unlike the South.

4.  When dough has doubled in size, punch it down like that dough has thoroughly pissed you off.
5.  Roll out on floured surface to about 15" by 9".  Easier said than done, of course, but your best bet may be rolling it too big and folding over the excess, since it won't affect the appearance of the final product.
6.  Melt filling butter and brush all over the rolled out dough, followed by the sugar and cinnamon (mix together first).  Add any optional ingredients.
7.  This is the exciting part!  Roll the filled dough longways (from the 15" side), and then pinch the crease to the roll to seal it.  GIANT LOG OF CINNAMON ROLLS!!!  Cut the log into slices (12-15, with 14 being the ideal amount for two aluminum pie pans).

8.  After you butter the pan(s) and sprinkle sugar all over the place (fine to use leftover sugar and cinnamon mixture, BTW), arrange the rolls closetogether and let rise for another 45 minutes.
9.  Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes.

Make the icing while the rolls are baking.  Please note, ingredients listed produce about twice as much icing as you actually need.  You could use the excess on cookies or some gross foods you may have received.

10.  Mix melted icing butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together.  Then add hot water a little bit at a time until you like the thickness of the icing.
11.  Spread icing on rolls after letting them sit for ten minutes.

Long-Term Planning

The Frugal Hostess suggests that you make and bake off rolls for gifts before freezing, rather than refrigerating or freezing the raw dough.  This dough gets a little tough when it sits, so you are better off to freeze the baked rolls and then ice them when you're ready.  TFH promises, because her mama told her so, that baked goods do really well in the freezer, so quit worrying (lookin' at you, FruHubs).

The Frugal Hostess loves Christmas! That is all.

Bookmark and Share


  1. Wow these sound good. But $10 is a lot to spend on someone for a gift. You can reduce that cost by hanging around the frozen pie section at Walmart looking for someone who buys a bunch of frozen pies for Thanksgiving. Then all you have to do is follow them home so you know where they live. Then come back on trash day after Thanksgiving and get those used pie pan, wash them up and put your cinnamon rolls in the and voila´a nice homemade gift using recycled aluminum, just like Reynolds Wrap does.

  2. "Make the rolls, and let them rise again. Unlike the South."
    ROFL my teeny tiny heiney off

  3. Duane - love your solution! We wash out any aluminum pie pans and reuse them, so you can't have ours.
    Thanks, Karen!!


please write your lengthy, flattering comment here.