Roll It Out

If there is one thing that starts some form of battle in our home, it is the way in which cinnamon buns/rolls are to be prepared.

Firstly we argue about the question: Are they cinnamon buns, or are they cinnamon rolls? My sister always formulates an overly complicated method of distinguishing between the two. In addition, we dispute the way in which these should be prepared, with the European version shying away from the over-sugared syrup found in the American variety.

I like the European cinnamon rolls, but I’m always outvoted, and if the sis is doing the baking, then she makes them as she desires, and I cannot be bothered telling her I prefer them the other way, otherwise I’d be slaving away at the stove and not watching scintillating football.

Then there is my mother who uses the terms interchangeably and prefers to sit on the sidelines, as long as when the dust settles, she has a cup of tea with whatever cinnamony thingy accompanies it.

You see, she’d rather put her feet up and be spoilt. She has two grown children after all.

Anyway, with the Euro Championships going on, I often find myself done with dinner long before the final game of the day is played at 21h00.

By then the dish of the day has been devoured and the plates are washed (well, put in the sink at least). My favourite spot on the couch is well preserved, the remote control firmly in my grasp and my mobile in my hand so I can engage in long-distance banter with family and friends.

However, I tend to notice the tensions and stresses of football leaving me wanting for something to indulge in with a late cup of hot chocolate or coffee, and with this weather, a warm cinnamon roll or two hits the right spot, especially if the team you are supporting is doing relatively well.

So, in the spirit of warmth, sweet treats and something different, I thought it best I shared this recipe of a sort of hybrid between the European and American cinnamon roll/bun.

This recipe has three components: the dough, the filling and the icing. You want to make these a few moments ahead of time, like before dinner, so that the ingredients get enough time to get to know each other as you prepare to devour.

Midnight Cinnamon RoIls


For the dough:

5 cups bread flour

2/3 cup melted butter/margarine

3 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon salt

3 tsps bread machine yeast

¾ cup white sugar

1 cup warm milk

For the filling:

3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1½ cup brown sugar, packed

2/3 cup butter, softened

For the icing:

2 cups icing sugar

¾ cup butter, softened

1 pack plain cream cheese, softened

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

A little bit of water to thin out the icing


  1. Place milk, eggs, margarine, flour, salt, white sugar and yeast into the bread machine pan as recommended by the manufacturer. Select the dough cycle and press ‘Start’. You can use your hands too, it’s just more work.
  2. Rest dough in an oiled bowl in a warm area. Once the dough has doubled in size, transfer it to a lightly floured surface, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
  3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 40×54-centimetre rectangle.
  4. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread softened butter over the dough, then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly on top.
  5. Roll up the dough from the longer edge and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 23×33-centimetre baking pan, cover, and let rise until nearly doubled, for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 190°C.
  6. Bake rolls until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While baking, beat together confectioners’ sugar, butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt until creamy. Add a little water if too thick. Spread/pour icing on warm rolls before serving.

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