Thursday, May 20, 2010

my great grandmother's cinnamon rolls

These cinnamon rolls are unique. 
First of all, the recipe is over 80 years old.
And I should really just stop there.  That isn't proof enough??
Okay, okay.
Secondly, you can tell by the picture that these aren't your normal cinnamon rolls. 
Fluffy?  No.  Yeasty and doughy?  No.  Tender?  Well, okay, they are rather tender. 
But these cinnamon rolls are flat, dense and really really chewy.
And did I mention the ooey, gooey, not-too-sweet, crunch, nutty, and did I say gooey already?
And thirdly, these rolls are tradition.  We have them at every Thanksgiving (that's right, Thanksgiving) dinner.  (yes, dinner.)  Italians, at least my Italians, don't have Italian bread at Thanksgiving supper.  We have these cinnamon rolls. 
Cinnamon rolls. 
In place of bread. 
At supper. 
Because, I suppose, why just have bread when you can have sweet, ooey, gooey, bread.
Need more than three reasons?  Email me. 
And my mom. 
And my dad. 
And my great grandmother.

My Great Grandmother's Cinnamon Rolls
Makes one pizza pan.  Yes, do it on a pizza pan.  Just do it.
Serves about 6 for breakfast or about 12 for supper.
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 1/3 Tablespoons butter, very cold, cut into cubes
3/4 cup milk
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1-2 cups chopped pecans
2 teaspoons cinnamon

*I have altered the original recipe for ease (obviously, there were no food processors 80 years ago) and replaced the oleo with butter*  (Where can you even buy oleo anymore????)*

Sift dry ingredients into a food processor.  Pulse for a few seconds until blended. 

Add cold butter and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. 

Add milk and pulse until the dough just comes together. 

Dump onto floured workspace and knead about 10 times.  Roll out dough into a large-ish rectangle. 

Mix the softened butter and the brown sugar together. 

Smear the paste over dough, sprinkle on the cinnamon and the chopped nuts. 

Roll up lengthwise.

*At this point, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze the whole log.  Just defrost for a few hours in the fridge and continue.*
Cut into 1/2" slices and fill the pizza pan. 

Bake at 425* for 12-15 minutes, until golden and bubbly.  Enjoy!


  1. okay i found it and I am in love with your Italian ancestors... my polish one can do some awesome things with potatoes and cabbage ...but Italians can seriously DO desserts!

  2. Glad you found me! Come back :)


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