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Total Cinnamon Rush

I can't believe I've never shared this recipe!  Though it is a bit Total Cinnamon Rush With Milkof a bother and has caused "issues".  It kinda reminds me of a line in The Beatles song about desserts, "Savoy Truffle" where they sing, "But you'll have to have them all pulled out after the Savoy Truffle!"  Yeah, it's THAT sweet!

This recipe is based on a recipe in Bernard Clayton's wonderful book, “Small Breads.” I converted it to use sourdough and to work at higher altitudes. These cinnamon rolls are addictive, more addictive than any mere sticky bun.

While we were testing this recipe, I gave it to two people. One made it the way I gave it to him. He gave some to a lady-friend who said that I had to be in league with the devil to make something so rich and seductive (not guilty!) The other decided that the recipe called for too much butter, too much cinnamon, too much brown sugar and made all sorts of heart and weight conscious changes. He then complained the recipe was for hockey pucks. Of course, he had changed the recipe into one for hockey pucks. Personally, I like cinnamon rolls more than hockey pucks, so please try it the way it's written, at least once.  This recipe makes 12 very large rolls.

Let's start with the dough ingredients:

Volumetric Measure (Cups)IngredientGramsBaker's Percentage
3/4 Cup + 3 TBSPMilk200 Grams50.1%
2 eachLarge Eggs100 Grams25.6%
3 TBSPUnsalted Butter43 Grams11%
1/2 CupsActive Sourdough Starter130 Grams33.3%
2 CupsBread Flour260 Grams66.7%
1 CupsWhole Wheat Flour130 Grams33.3%
2 tspSalt5.7 Grams1.5%
1/4 Cup + 4 tspBrown Sugar73 Grams18.8%

You may develop this dough by machine, kneading by hand, or stretch and fold - all work very well with no adjustments needed to the recipe.  When the dough is developed, cover it with clingwrap and allow it to rise until doubled in size.  I prefer to use whole milk at room temperature.  Cold milk slows the rise, and using skimmed milk won't turn this into a health food, though it will cause you to lose out on some of the flavor.

While the dough is rising, measure, mix and set aside the Cinnamon Sugar mix.  As a hint, use a GOOD flavorful and aromatic cinnamon.  If you don't know what I mean, go to a spice shop and sniff some of the good stuff.  The stuff in grocery stores can be quite old and dull.

Volumetric Measure (Cups)IngredientGramsBaker's Percentage
3 cupsDark Brown Sugar660 Grams98.8%
1 TBSPCinnamon7.8 Grams1.2%

Next, measure, mix and set aside the nut and fruit mix:

Volumetric Measure (Cups)IngredientGramsBaker's Percentage
1 1/2 CupsChopped Walnuts or Pecans190 Grams69.4%
1/2 CupCurrants or Raisins82.5 Grams30.6%

The last bit of prep work is to melt some butter and set it aside to cool.  You might do this an hour or so after you let the dough start rising.

Volumetric Measure (Cups)IngredientGramsBaker's Percentage
1 1/2 "Sticks" or
3/4 Cup
Unsalted Butter170 Grams100%

After the dough rises, it's time to make the rolls!

Put the dough onto a work surface
Put the dough onto a work surface

Gently roll it out until
Gently roll it out until

It is a 20 x 24 inch rectangle,. This will take some work – keep at it! If the dough gets stubborm, cover it and let it rest 15 minutes or so.
It is a 20 x 24 inch rectangle,. This will take some work – keep at it! If the dough gets stubborn, cover it and let it rest 15 minutes or so.

Pour the melted and cooled butter onto the dough
Pour the melted and cooled butter onto the dough

Forming a butter lake,  Yes, use all that butter!
Forming a butter lake, Yes, use all that butter!

Spread the cinnamon and brown sugar mix to absorb the butter before it's all over your table
Spread the cinnamon and brown sugar mix to absorb the butter before it's all over your table

Cover the surface fairly evenly with the cinnamon and brown sugar, topping it with the nut and raisin mixture
Cover the surface fairly evenly with the cinnamon and brown sugar, topping it with the nut and raisin mixture

Roll the 24" side towards you, like a jelly roll.  Or, perhaps, a cinnamon roll.
Roll the 24" side towards you, like a jelly roll. Or, perhaps, a cinnamon roll.

Keep rollin'
Keep rollin'

Finish with the seam down
Finish with the seam down

You can carefully measure the 2" segments, or you can divide it into quarters
You can carefully measure the 2" segments, or you can divide it into quarters

And then each quarter into three more segments.  Hint – use a sharp knife or sewing thread!
And then each quarter into three more segments. Hint – use a sharp knife, or sewing thread!

Put the segments into 9 x 13" pan.  Optionally, if you have a large muffin or mini-cake pan, you can put the segments into separate cups in the pan.  This makes it easier to separate and serve the rolls later.
Put the segments into 9 x 13" pan. Optionally, if you have a large muffin or mini-cake pan, you can put the segments into separate cups in the pan. This makes it easier to separate and serve the rolls later.

Keep going. Once it's all filled up put any spilled nuts, fruit or sugar mix on top of the rolls.
Keep going. Once it's all filled up put any spilled nuts, fruit or sugar mix on top of the rolls.

Cover the rolls with cling wrap and let them until they are doubled in size.  This is often overnight.  If they aren't doubled, bake them anyway – there will be great oven spring and the rolls will be just fine.
Cover the rolls with cling wrap and let them until they are doubled in size. This is often overnight. If they aren't doubled, bake them anyway – there will be great oven spring and the rolls will be just fine.

Make sure you put the pan with the rolls onto a baking sheet pan– the sugar will bubble over! The rolls are baked, nice and brown.
Make sure you put the pan with the rolls onto a baking sheet pan– the sugar will bubble over! The rolls are baked, nice and brown.

To get the rolls out, put another sheet pan on top, flip the mess over, and then remove the formerly bottom pan.
To get the rolls out, put another sheet pan on top, flip the mess over, and then remove the formerly bottom pan.

Leave the rolls like this for a good 10 minutes.  This will allow the sugary cinnamon goodness to flow back into the rolls – the secret of these rolls!
Leave the rolls like this for a good 10 minutes. This will allow the sugary cinnamon goodness to flow back into the rolls – the secret of these rolls!

It is worth re-emphasizing, when you're ready to bake, put the pan on a sheet pan. There is so much sugary filling in these rolls that the filling will bubble up, over and out. The pan will catch it. Otherwise, the goo will hit the floor of the oven and catch on fire. (Don't ask how I know this.)

Bake at 350F about 35 minutes, until the rolls are A sheet pan almost filled with our rollsbrowned and the filling is bubbly. If you don't bake it long enough, the filling will be granular rather than gooey, like a sugar candy that hasn't been cooked enough.

Nutrition analysis of Total Cinnamon RushThese rolls are more or less rectangular, and they aren't terribly tightly sealed. If you prefer a more round roll, one that isn't a Siamese twin with up to 8 other rolls, you may want to use a cupcake or mini-cake pan to make these. Instead of putting them into a single pan, put them into the wells of the cupcake or mini-cake pans.

However, the rolls may be too large to fit well into the wells and have room to rise. If you put too large a roll into a cupcake pan, it will mushroom and I think that's less attractive than a more uniform roll. One way of handling this is to cut the 20" side of the rolled dough into two 10" segments, or even three 6 2/3" segments. However, this will reduce how many layers there are in your roll. This isn't "right" or "wrong", it's just a matter of taste.

Or you can cut the 24" length into manageable segments and then roll them out to a greater length, the way you rolled out modelling clay "snakes" in grade school. This keeps the number of layers the same, but makes them thinner.

As with the rolls in a baking pan, you need a sheet pan under the cupcake pan, and need to use a second pan to help you flip the rolls over.

Rolls in a cupcake pan– I should have cut them down a bit more , they are already mushrooming!
Rolls in a cupcake pan– I should have cut them down a bit more , they are already mushrooming!

A nice roll, no mushrooming
A nice roll, no mushrooming

A roll with a little mushrooming.
A roll with a little mushrooming.

"Serving suggestion"  Serve with milk.  Lots of cold milk.  Coffee is optional. And remember to brush your teeth afterwards.

"Serving suggestion"

Serve with milk. Lots of cold milk. Coffee is optional. And remember to brush your teeth afterwards.

8 thoughts on “Total Cinnamon Rush”

  1. Wow! Awesome looking decadent Cinnamon rolls.
    ….. but I definitely will not let my wife see this recipe.

    Maybe a once a year holiday treat.

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. If you like rich, sweet and nutty, they are amazing. I started with a good recipe, but the sourdough made it better!

      I hope you try it and share some pictures!
      -Mike

  2. This is a slightly scaled up version of Jerilyn Brusseau’s widely known as the Cinnabon recipe or actually the one she started with to develope the Cinnabon recipe now so famous and sold worldwide. The backstory is that Jerilyn learned to bake these cinnamon rolls from her grandmother in Montana, Maude Delaney Spurgeon. Jerilyn mixes it up using raisins walnuts and up to half whole wheat flour for some variety. The Cinnabon recipe is not online but this one i available at multiple web sites and in West Coast Cooking by Akinson (Google books has the recipe as a preview). So Mike uses 2 Cups of sourdough starter instead of three packets instant yeast for the rise. His recipe is 8 cups flour to 4 eggs vs 7 cups flour to three eggs for Jerilyn’s recipe. And Mike really ups the cinnamon sugar from 3.5 Cups to 5.5 Cups. That is a huge increase in sugar compared to the original well known recipe. No reason not to cut it back, especially if you are Danish and make your authentic Kanel Snegle using real puff pastry and much less sugar than American sweet tooth desserts.

    Watch out for the cinnamon here and use a Vietnamese true Cassia Cinnamon like Jerilyn Brusseau does or cut the cinnamon down by half. Vietnamese Cinnamon is lower in that Red Hot Cinnamon flavor that will burn your tongue. Store bought cinnamon tends towards a course hot flavor profile that will blow out your buns at 5/8 C ground cinnamon per 5 cups sugar.

    5/8 Cup of ground Cinnamon is 78 grams or an extreme amount. I calculated 6.5 grams of ground cinnamon per serving and that is half a tablespoon per roll. Denmark and the EU have tried to limit the amount of cinnamon used in baked goods because cinnamon has a lot of coumarin in it and coumarin consumption is a liver killer and leads to liver cancer (the other big source of coumarin is adulterated Mexican vanilla and still banned in the US). This is a fact but eating too much cinnamon a couple times per year is probably no worse than drinking too much over the holidays. Cinnabon uses their own branded Makara® Cinnamon, which originates in the mountains of West Sumatra, Indonesia. You can buy it at their stores to bake with. Penzey’s and many other spice shops carry multiple different ground cinnamons to play with.

    So the big difference between this recipe and Cinnabon’s is no raisins or walnuts or whole wheat in Cinnabons recipe and the Cinnabon roll is frosted with a cream cheese sugar frosting when it is pulled from the convection oven at precisely 14 minutes and an internal temp of 165 F. That leaves the center super soft and almost raw but FDA approved as hygenic and ready for consumption.

    BTW, Johnson’s Corner Truck Stop in Johnston, CO on I25 north of Denver makes the best US cinnamon rolls hand’s down ( Johnsonscorner.com).

    1. Thank you for your note David! Your note made me look at the recipe I posted again and I was horrified! I’d posted a double recipe, added typos and conversion errors – the cinnamon quantity received the dubious benefit of both. The recipe is corrected now. I shouldn’t post before my second cup of coffee!

      I hadn’t known about the coumarin in cinnamon. Nor had I known about the connection between Mrs. Spurgeon’s rolls and Cinnabon. I just had the old copy of Bernard Clayton’s “Small Breads”.

      We considered topping the rolls with a cream cheese icing and decided that would just be too much, and they were more than good enough without it. We do put a cream cheese icing on our merely decadent Carrot Pineapple Walnut Cupcakes, and you could put that icing on these rolls, but that is too much even for me.

      Thanks again!
      Mike

      1. No problem, Mike. The reason I take the time to really “comb out” your recipes is that I find your site one of the most useful on the web so why not try and help make it even better for newbie bakers!

        I wasn’t saying your posted recipe was wrong, just that the formulations pharma guy in me thought it was up there with the YouTube cinnamon challenge. I am thinking I might make a scaled down version to see what the fuss is all about. True Ceylon cinnamon is a rarity in the US compared to the much cheaper Cassia cinnamon (only Cassia cinnamon has coumarin in it so you can use as much Ceylon cinnamon as you want). I have some and it is really mild compared to the flavor of any store bought ground cinnamon. I think that is why Jerilyn called for so much Ceylon cinnamon in her recipe. If you use Cassia, then do knock it back considerably or your tongue will pay the price.

        I have made the Spurgeon cinnamon roll recipe just as written for many years (20 plus I think) and it does compete for those trucker’s favs found at Johnson’s Corner Truck Stop. More cinnamon than most commercial bakers would ever use for cost reasons and commercial bakers are very cost sensitive so they buy a pretty fresh but harsh cheap Cassia grade of cinnamon and use less of it. It looked to me liked you scaled the Spurgeon recipe by (5.5 C / 3.5C) or 1.6X compared to the dough scale of 8/7 or 1.2X. That works out to be 33% more cinnamon sugar per roll than the Spurgeon recipe uses And you did scale the cinnamon to the sugar proportion the same per cup as Spurgeon.

        I would encourage cinnamon lovers to try it with more cinnamon than 1 TBS per 3 Cups sugar. Typically table cinnamon sugar is usually 1 TBS cinnamon per cup but my kids made it with at least 2 TBS when they were growing up. The right amount really depends on which cinnamon you buy. And how much you like cinnamon flavor.

        Cinnabon regular rolls have a calorie count of almost 900 kcals or 900 Cals if you eat the whole thing. The Pecan roll is just under 1100 Cal. So your are right in the money on your original recipe. I have never eaten a Cinnabon cinnamon roll (to date), as the thought of under cooked dough does not appeal.

        Anyone still reading should check out the Seattle Met article on Jerilyn Brusseau and how she created the Cinnabon cinnamon roll recipe from her grandmom Spurgeon’s original recipe. Online and also at The Fresh Loaf:

        Scents from a Mall The Sticky, Untold Story of Cinnabon Seattle Met

        1. Hi David,
          I wasn’t taking offense, I went through the recipe because I was concerned (correctly) that I’d messed up.

          With any spice, the quality of the spice, the freshness of the spice and the taste of the baker all play a role in determining how much to use. When we started making our Mexicali Heat bread we had to cut way back on the cumin – the stuff we got from food service companies was so much fresher and stronger than the stuff in the grocery store that it totally took over the bread! It was eye opening.

          On the cinnamon front, we’ve been very happy with Kirkland’s (ok, Costco’s) Saigon Ground Cinnamon. Deep rich aroma, great flavor, but I have no idea where it sits in the global pantheon of cinnamon.

          If you’re interested in the article David mentinoed, it’s here.

          -Mike

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