Meredith's Cinnamon Rolls

Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls*

Makes 2 dozen 3 inch rolls


  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, sliced
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm (105° to 115°F) water
  • Two ¼-ounce envelopes active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour


  • ¾ cup granulated sugar  
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk

As Meredith Hayes (Short-Straw Bride) tries to make a home for herself on the Archer ranch, she takes refuge in her baking. Finding the cupboards rather bare in the bachelor household, she unearths some forgotten cinnamon and decides to put it to good use on her wedding day. She might not have a cake, but she can't let the day pass without some kind of special treat to mark the occasion, so she fills the house with the aroma of yeasty goodness as she bakes cinnamon rolls for her new family.

Pour the milk into a small saucepan and add the butter. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the ½ cup sugar and add the remainder to the milk. Warm over low heat, stirring occasionally until the butter melts; remove from heat and test the temperature. If the liquid is hotter than 110°F, let it cool to about that temperature.

Place the reserved tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl and add the warm water, stirring once or twice. Sprinkle both packages of yeast over the surface and let soften for a minute. Stir to dissolve, and let it proof until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl and whisk in the proofed yeast and the warm milk mixture. Beat in 3 cups of the flour. Then beat in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, sticky dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until soft and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough once to oil the top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Grease two 13 x 9 inch baking pans.

Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead a few times, cover, and let rest 5 minutes. Cut the dough in half. With your hands, form one half into a rectangle that measures 12 x 9 inches. Repeat with the other half.

Prepare the filling: In a small bowl stir together the sugar and cinnamon. The melted butter should be cooled slightly. Brush half of the melted butter over each rectangle of dough. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar over each. Starting with one 9-inch side, tightly roll up one piece, jelly roll style, and place seam side down. Repeat with the second piece. Cut each roll into 12 equal slices and arrange the slices, one cut side down, in the two prepared pans. Cover and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, evenly space two racks in the over and pre-heat to 400°F. Uncover the rolls and bake them for 30-35 minutes, switching the position of the pans halfway through the baking, until golden brown. The rolls will sound hollow when tapped with a finger. Turn out onto a rack, flip the rolls right side up, and glaze while hot.

To prepare the glaze: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the butter, confectioner's sugar, and cinnamon. Work together with a spoon until blended. Stir in the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the milk. Stir in as much additional milk as needed to make a smooth glaze with a good spreading consistency. Spread over the hot rolls and let the cool for about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

*Recipe taken from Jim Fobel's Old-Fashioned Baking Book (Ballantine Books, 1987)