This is how we roll…



There are benefits to being married to the world’s best partner. He’s fun, he’s got groovy tattoos*, he juggles three demanding dogs and a job and he likes to surprise me with tasty treats after long days at work. In fact when I got home yesterday he made carnitas. Carnitas! Damn if this white man hasn’t perfected Tex-Mex and Mexican food, slowly working his way through Chile Rellenos, Mole, Tortillas and Enchiladas. You taste his cooking and realize it’s made with love and talent. Thank god for my big redhead, and thank god I love to eat.

I don’t remember what we were talking about but the other day I made a comment about my disdain for those mall-type cinnamon places. They make cinnamon rolls as big as your face that are purposely practically raw and so sweet you either get a stomach ache or your teeth begin to rattle in your head. Cinn-a-Raw or Cinn-a-Blech or whatever you call them. I know some people love them but I am not one of them, and trust me, I can get down-and-dirty, no food snob here! I like things a bit more balanced, which explains why I’m crazy about half-sweet desserts and the latest craze for sweet-with-salty. After going off as I’m used to do doing (opinionated? stubborn? me? me?) Adam mentioned a recipe for cinnamon rolls that are neither too sweet nor too raw, and since they are made at home from scratch one can control the level of doneness, right down to the frosting. I said "Well knock yourself out, babe!" and in true Adam fashion he took the challenge with spirit and grace.

I just didn’t know how long it would take.

As you may know, I don’t really bake. I eat. And boy am I ever good at that. But Adam is precise, paying attention to every nuance and step, right down to closing off the kitchen and turning on a space heater so that his dough will rise on a chilly Southern California afternoon. If that’s not pure love then I shall never know it, I am convinced.

After slaving away in the kitchen over two batches of fresh cinnamon rolls while I played clean up crew (it’s all about give and take, working together and compromise, ya know!), I was face to face with warm cinnamon rolls, freshly frosted and ready to eat. Of course I had to take pictures and asked Adam to whip up a frosting I could drizzle for a photograph, and wouldn’t you know it he was accomodating. His rolls were so perfect I didn’t even know which image I wanted to post, hence the collage of cinnamon-y goodness.

After packaging some extra rolls up for his mom and our friend, I finally enjoyed what I was craving thanks to the generousity of my man. And can I tell you what he did with the leftover cinnamon rolls? He made bread pudding. My heart be still.

Glazed Cinnamon Rolls from Baking Illustrated
The book says that since cinnamon is the predominant flavor you should use a high-quality cinnamon. You should always use high quality spices, I say.

1/2 cup milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 to 4 1/2 cups (20 to 21 1/4 ounces) unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface

8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

3/4 cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. For the dough: Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan or in
the microwave until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat and
set aside until the mixture is lukewarm (about 100 degrees).

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together
the water, yeast, sugar, eggs, and yolks at low speed until well mixed.
Add the salt, warm milk mixture, and 2 cups of the flour and mix at
medium speed until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Switch to the
dough hook, add another 2 cups of the flour, and knead at medium speed
(adding up to 1/4 cup more flower, 1 tablespoon at a time, if
necessary) until the dough is smooth and freely clears the sides of the
bowl, about 10 minutes. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work
surface. Shape the dough into a round, place it in a very lightly oiled
large bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm,
draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

3. For
the icing:
While the dough rises, combine all of the icing ingredients
in the bowl of a standing mixer and blend together at low speed until
roughly combined, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and mix
until the icing is uniformly smooth and free of cream cheese lumps,
about 2 minutes. Transfer the icing to a small bowl, cover with plastic
wrap, and refrigerate.

4. To roll and fill the dough: After the
dough has doubled, press it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured
work surface. Using a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 16 by 12-inch
rectangle, with a long side facing you. Mix together the filling
ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle the filling evenly over the
dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the far edge. Roll the dough,
beginning with the long edge closest to you and using both hands to
pinch the dough with your fingertips as you roll. Moisten the top
border with water and seal the roll. Lightly dust the roll with flour
and press on the ends if necessary to make a uniform 16-inch cylinder.
Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces
using dental floss and place the rolls, cut-side up, evening in the
prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm,
draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

5. To
bake the rolls:
When the rolls are almost fully risen, adjust an oven
rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the
rolls until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into
the center of one reads 185 to 188 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Invert
the rolls onto a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Turn the rolls
upright on a large serving plate and use a rubber spatula to spread
icing on them. Serve immediately.


*PSA for the day: Many people with tattoos and body modifications are intelligent, educated people. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses, even art directors! It’s always ok to ask someone about their tattoos and big earlobes–always. It’s not always polite to stare and point. Modifications like big earlobes and piercings have been practiced globally for thousands of years and I always find it strange that people still freak out about it in this land of plastic surgery and facial reconstruction. Remember, we’re all the same inside!


  1. says

    I think I’m in love with your cinna-buns Matt. And the tats on your man aren’t so bad either. You should have seen the ones my grandfather had – all over his body, no kidding. I remember loving them when I was a kid, especially the dancing hula girl on his bicep. Seriously now, I was planning on coming up with a recipe like this for my dad who loves gooey things, but he also likes pecans, so other than this perfect recipe, I just slip in some chopped nuts and pass on the love. Thanks.

  2. says

    love this post and ALL the power back at Adam for his beautiful tats. Living in SoCal, land of the morphing body and routine plastic surgery, its good to remember that all that body work is NOT to look unique but to look like the “ideal”. Its more about fitting in and being the uber-specimen of that group one is fitting into than about being an individual.

    But you do not need me to tell you this!

    I can still remember the discomfort I felt walking around on Melrose Street. I wasnt tall, beautiful, hyper-endowed in an extremely overt way (wasnt showing cleavage), didnt have long shiny flowing hair, didnt look like I just got off the set.

    I felt much more comfy in Silverlake and the soccer fields near my apartment by Griffith Park (back in 94.. dont know what its like now).

  3. Diane says

    Awwwwwww…you’ve got a good man there!

    I am a good cook – very occasionally a great one. I am CERTAINLY a great eater. What I am NOT is a baker of any kind…good, adequate, or even “not terrible.” All the skills that make me a good cook – the ability to experiment and improvise, measuring things by hand and taste, love of experimenting, make me quite a bad baker.

    Baking is more like science, and preciseness is rewarded. Consequently, I am over the moon whenever someone bakes for me. Lucky, lucky you.

  4. says

    Is a 3-way marriage legal in California yet? Because if so I’m moving. I have such a crush on y’all.

    Those cinnamon rolls look delicious and I liked your PSA. Since practically everyone has a tattoo these days, I think it’s hilarious people act all shocked when they find out I hold down a high paying “corporate” job even though I have, as my mom likes to say, “A BATTLESHIP ON HER CHEST”.

  5. says

    I love the collage, because it shows the roll in its many stages… including BEING EATEN…. *munch munch damn, the monitor does not bring through that fluffiness I can just feel between my teeth right now. Bahhhh! I mean, your pictures make me feel it, but chewing on my monitor- just ain’t the same. Hehehehe.
    PS I don’t bake either, no patience. I give props to anyone who has the patience and dedication for it- props to Adam over and over again. Can I borrow him? No? Well, can I just have some cinnamon rolls? :)

  6. Excelsior says

    I love cinnamon rolls even though I don’t like cinnamon that much. What I really odn’t like is frosting on my cinnamon rolls, which limits the ones I eat.

    I am afraid of yeast so I can’t make them myself. I do have a recipe which makes a cinnamon roll-like item out of biscuits, however…

  7. says

    I think I’m in love with your buns AND your husband!!! I know I don’t have any chance with him (but only because I’m married too, sure not because I’m a woman… But at the end, what is gender???;-D), but when I saw this very picture on your flickr page I thought “God, this is a very sexy look!!!”

  8. says

    Adam, you ROCK with the power of a thousand dark suns! I heard a friend say that once and I love it. I’m not sure exactly what a “dark sun” is, but, it’s meant as a total mega compliment.

    My man rocks too, but, he doesn’t bake. You’ve heard of that show “Wife Swap” right? Hhmmmm… Just for a weekend is all I’m sayin!

  9. says

    Where can I find an Adam for myself? Seriously?

    The cinnamon buns look utterly delectable and the thought of bread pudding made out of these delicious morsels make me swoon with delight.

    Swooningly yours,

  10. Steve says

    i get asked like one a week “did that hurt?!” as people point to my pierced eyebrow.

  11. says

    okay, i think you know my penchant for cinnamon rolls, so i won’t go on and on about how the photos of your cinnamon rolls sent me into the kitchen to bake a batch of pillsbury grands with creamcheese frosting. nothing at all like yours, but damn it, they’ll sure do in a pinch.

    and did i tell you that this past christmas my mother made a bread pudding – with cinnamon rolls & donuts???

    christmases like that one are why each member of my family shop at texas tent & awning for our recreational wear.

  12. says

    Hey Matt,
    Adam is already a star here and very much in demand so i guess I’ll just have to join the queue :-).Or perhaps he could just do weekend sessions called “Training the partners” and teach our other halves to be such absolute sweethearts.Very fortunate fella u are i tell u ….warm ,fresh cinnamon rolls…man u lucky b***** !Please tell me,the friends u send it to has my name somewhere on it and its arriving anytime now by mail :-)))

  13. Charmaine says

    Those look so good. Perhaps I will try if I get some money from my tax return and I can finally purchase a Kitchen Aid mixer.

  14. says

    I’m relatively new here but I must say how much fun I’ve been having with your blog – amazing!
    The cinnamon rolls are perfect, so delicious and beautiful!

    You’re both very lucky to have each other.

    Hugs from Brazil,

  15. says

    This week end in fact, I intend to play with the levels of sweet and savory in a rolled yeast dough by mixing items like fruit and meat and chilis. It seems so basic in its idea and yet people I’ve mentioned this to have looked at me as if my fourth head had a booger on it.

  16. Lissa says

    What is this “leftover cinnamon rolls” you speak of? I had no idea such a thing existed!

  17. says

    This fat fella has 4 tats and while discretely placed, I am very proud of them. More power to you guys.

    I find it extremely insulting that here in Singapore, whenever the media wants to portray an ex-con, they always use someone with tattoos. Sigh…

    Oh, and of course, your buns look great! (heh heh)

  18. says

    Well, I decided to make this recipe and they came out excellent! I have tried so many different cinnamon bun recipes over the years and none of them came out perfect.
    I made them, but personally was unable to eat them…a long story…anyways, I made them for my husband’s birthday and he was absolutley thrilled! I remember when he took the first bite, his eyes got really big and he looked over at me and asked what the ingredients were in the frosting b/c it was perfect and not lumpy like all the other ones. When I am finally allowed to eat sugar again, this will be the first thing I make!!!

    Thank you so much! I will be blogging about it on my blog in the coming week…when I get around to it!

  19. Hypnotic Aubergine says

    Guys, you can’t imagine how much I adore you…wait a minute, wait a minute..I even don’t know you! Aaah, silly details! Hugs from rome italy *

  20. Hypnotic Aubergine says

    Guys, you can’t imagine how much I adore you…wait a minute, wait a minute..I even don’t know you! Aaah, silly details! Hugs from rome italy *

  21. e says

    Oooh they look so good!

    Is it possible to use this recipe without a dough hook and mixer? Or will it just not work with kneading? I know I could find another recipe but yours (Adam’s) just looks so yummy!!

  22. says

    Since we are talking about recipes that come from magazines, I would like to invite Matt, and anyone else so inclined to try the sticky buns published in the Washington Post Food Section about 10 years ago. The title of the article is In Pursuit of the Perfect Sticky Bun ( ) . I still owe my website an update of the photos since I got my new camera, so don’t be deterred by the photos.

    The key is not to overcook so you get that “slimy” center.

    This is an open challenge to Matt…

    Let me know what you think, and I will try to make yours by the end of the month and we can compare notes.


  23. says

    right here goes. i a making thesetoday for my boyf getting back from work… fingers crossed. love from colin, edinburgh scotland.

  24. Spooky says

    Made these tonight. I think this recipe is by far the best one I’ve seen. They turned out perfectly! Only needed 17 mins cooking time in my oven, though, so I recommend checking them before the 25mins suggested to ensure you don’t over bake them.

    Love it. Thanks so much!

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