Amazing Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

Amazing Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls that were worth the trial and errors (recipe below)

Warning graphic image of the cinnamon rolls that looked like a massacre. It was ugly, sad, and gory so I should of prepared you for it.

The beginnings….

I think of recipes as suggestions. I use what I like from the recipe, rarely measure, add and remove things depending on what I have in the kitchen. Things almost always turn out good. Sometimes even great. It’s something that is instinctual as a person who likes cooking.

Because of that I have always said I am a cook and not a baker. Than came a very sad day in July and for some reason I started watching the Great British Baking show. After bingeing seven seasons in seven weeks, I thought the next logical step was bake my way though the entire series. After all, I have baked at least five cakes in my lifetime. That totally qualified me.

Now the massacre details:

Two weeks ago I made cinnamon rolls. They were amazing! The best thing I had ever made. I was like “this baking thing is so easy I am going to figure out how to make money at this blog and makes lots of money”. That arrogance was probably my first mistake.

Than last week my husband asked me if I could make three batches of cinnamon rolls, two for our HOA meeting and one batch to freeze for ourselves. I jumped at the opportunity. After all I was an accomplished baker of one good bake.

  • First attempt, I had to throw out after adding the full amount of sugar as apposed to 1TBS
  • Second attempt, I did not melt the butter and I could not figure out why it looked so weird. I threw it out and than realized that I did not add flour (OMG, so embarrassing)
  • Third attempt, after wasting so much yeast I decided to do smaller batches. I kneaded the dough and thought something was weird. I put it in the bowl to rise and went to start the next batch, only to realize I forgot to add the butter. Yep, that one was thrown out too.

Finally, I gave up and went to Sams club and bought muffins for the HOA instead.

Today my husband asked for Cinnamon rolls again. He loved the first batch so much and was craving them. I jumped at the opportunity to prove myself. I moved everything out of the way in the kitchen so I had an open work space. I pulled out all the ingredients, measured and organized them so I would not miss anything. I kneaded the dough into a perfect ball, than rolled it into a perfect rectangle on my new rolling mat. I was so proud and excited at how much better I was doing.

Now, this is where the massacre happened — and it was ugly!

The last time the butter/sugar filling was hard to spread. Being the genius that I am, I melted the butter. It spread so nicely. Perfect and even. I honestly had no idea why I did not think of this before. Literately genius!

Next, I was also able to use my new silicone baking mat that would allow me to perfectly measure out 12 x 24. I rolled it out. The dough looked so great. So much better than the last time I even proudly took a picture.

As I started to roll the dough up I realized I made two massive errors:

  1. Melting the butter was probably the dumbest idea I could have come up with. The filling was soup and ran all over the place.
  2. I should have dusted the mat with flour because the entire thing stuck and I had to scrape it up. Leaving me with loose rolls.

To save the day I hand rolled them back into pace and poured the filling on top. They were a mess, but saveable ugly delicious cinnamon rolls.

It really did look like a cinnamon roll massacre.

There were a lot of lessons learned in this bake. Mostly, that I am a beginner and I need to go slow and be humble. I should probably read and reread everything all the way through a couple of times. I also had to remember that all things new are hard in the beginning. Every new hobby I ever under took was full of mistakes, frustrations and even embarrassments. Baking will be too. But the goal is to learn how to bake. To have something fun to do in a winter that will be defined by social distancing and isolation. To be able to share the results with friends and family along the way. That’s what really matters, sharing this adventure (and baked goods) along the way!

Oh yeah, the recipe:

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 1 cup warm milk (95 – 105 degrees)
  • ½ cup + 1 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1 TBS dry active yeast
  • 2 large eggs (room temp)
  • 6 TBS butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 – 4.5 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2.5 TBS cinnamon
  • 6 TBS butter (soft, not melted)


  • 8oz cream cheese
  • .25 cup of butter, soft (1 stick)
  • 1.5 cup powdered sugar
  • .5 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt


Cinnamon Roll Dough

  1. Warm the milk. Use as thermometer if necessary to ensure it is not above 105 degrees.
  2. In your mixer, combine the milk, 1 TBS of sugar and yeast together and let stand for five minutes to activate the yeast.
  3. Add the ½ cup sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla to the mixture in the bowl of your standing mixer
  4. Begin to add the flour, cinnamon, and salt in small batches using the dough hook (I normally add the ingredients about a cup at a time. However the exact amount is not as important as long as you add them slowly and remember to add them – true story.)
  5. After the dough forms a ball on the end of your hook, remove the dough and kneed by hand for 3 -5 minutes until the dough ball is smooth. If the dough is tacky, add in flour a little at time until you are able to kneed it smooth.
  6. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a warm towel for an hour. The dough should doubled in size.

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  • Using soft butter (not melted) combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon


  1. Lightly flour the surface
  2. Release the dough of it’s air and shape dough in a rectangle
  3. You will want to roll the dough out to a 12×24 rectangle that is about a quarter of an inch thick.
  4. Spread the filling across the dough (you might want to grease your hands for this)
  5. Tightly roll up the dough.
  6. Cut the dough in one inch increments. (yes, measure)
  7. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and place rolls in the dish evenly spaced.
  8. Cover and let rise
    1. You can let them rise for 30 minutes and then bake
    2. You can place them in the refrigerator tightly covered over night, than remove from the refrigerator the next morning and allow the to come to room temperature and rise for an hour before baking.
  9. Preheat the oven to 350, than place the rolls inside for 18 – 20 minutes.
  10. While the rolls are baking make the topping by beating together all the ingredients.
  11. Remove the rolls from the oven. Once cooled top the rolls with the topping and enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Amazing Ugly Delicious Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Every time we go camping we have cinnamon rolls, from a can, on the fire. They burn. Every. Single. Time. My kids have no idea what a “pretty” cinnamon roll is. They request the “ugly” cinnamon rolls for every trip. So, take heart, your scrumptiously ooey, gooey, sugary rolls, I’m sure, taste AND looks like nothing but HOMEMADE LOVE.

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