Baking Through History: Great Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you remember my second video about Ginger Cookies, you’ll remember how much my great grandma Laura loved to bake. Read more on those cookies – HERE.

Here again is another recipe from her given to me by her daughter, my great aunt, Betty.

Betty wrote about this recipe in the email to me and said, “I love the taste of this dough because of the nutmeg in it. I loved helping so I could eat the dough. I liked my mother-in-laws caramel syrup better than mom’s, so I don’t have mom’s recipe for the syrup. Mom also used this dough recipe to make her kuchen. Hope this helps. I haven’t made these in years!” – – Betty

I love these kinds of recipes – ones passed down from mother to daughter and down the line. 

Caramel Rolls

It is interesting to me that there is shortening in the dough. I did quite a bit of research on this because I expected butter.

Shortening, according to King Arthur Flour, adds a tenderness to dough and cakes. It can also help if your all-butter cookies are spreading too much in the oven. Shortening can be substituted in any recipe 1-to-1 for butter. The reason so many recipes call for butter over shortening…flavor. Butter has more flavor than shortening. In this recipe, however, there is butter in the filling, which I am sure will make these delicious.

You can make them as regular cinnamon rolls and add your own favorite frosting recipe or you can make caramel rolls as listed below.
I tried both – baking half and half in different pans.
This can make 15 large rolls or 24 medium size rolls.
You’ll need multiple pans and an instant read thermometer.

Here is the recipe as sent to me by Betty:
Cinnamon Rolls
Betty Goetz from her mom, Laura Berreth

Step One:

  • 1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast

Dissolve yeast in warm water.

Step Two:

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 cup milk, scalded

Heat milk to 180 degrees. Mix shortening into the milk to melt. Milk will need to cool to below 110 degrees before adding to mixing bowl for dough, so it doesn’t kill the yeast.

Step Three:

  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs (beat them first before adding)
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 T. lemon juice (if desired)
  • 7- 8 cups bread flour
  • Mix all ingredients (including yeast mixture and milk mixture) into stand mixer or bowl. Slowly add in flour and knead dough until it can be handled without sticking to your hands.

Transfer dough to lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise 60-90 minutes, punch down, and then rise again for 60 minutes.

Step Four:

  • 1/2 stick of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup brown sugar (depending on size of rectangle)
  • 2 T. Cinnamon

Roll dough into large rectangle; spread with soft butter, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll up, beginning at wide side.
Cut into 1 and 1/2 inch pieces.
Place in pan or pans and let rise until puffy.
Add optional caramel syrup (recipe below) after they have risen but before baking.
Bake 20-30 minutes at 325 degrees.

Step Five (if making rolls with frosting):

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tblspn milk

Mix together to create cream cheese frosting.
Spread over cooled buns.

Caramel Syrup for Cinnamon Rolls
Betty Goetz from Stella Goetz (Dwight’s mom):

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup margarine or butter
  • 4 T. water
  • 4 T. white corn syrup
  • 1 T. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Mix together first 6 ingredients in a sauce pan, stirring constantly.
Bring to a boil.
Boil 1 minute and then, off the heat, add 1 cup cream.
Cool before pouring over unbaked, risen rolls.
Bake rolls as noted above.
**Caramel rolls might take a few minutes longer.

My great grandma’s recipe is absolutely delicious. The rolls come out tender and soft. I used bread flour in it, though the original recipe didn’t note which kind to use. I also added the measurements for the filling since those were not listed in the original.
I will definitely bake these on a cookie sheet with them separated rather than smooshed into a square pan. I think the air circulation will be better and they will brown more.

If you bake this recipe, let me know! I’d love to hear from you on how it went.

I have two more recipes from my great grandma that I’m going to bake up for you. One is called Peppernut Cookies and the other is a Christmas favorite in my family. Kuchen. I’ll be baking up the kuchen on Dec. 14, so stay tuned for that episode!

I have also come across a recipe for potato chip cookies and one for cookies baked in a casserole dish… I am too intrigued to not make those for you. Thanks for watching!

Other posts about Baking Through History:

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Sugar overload – oops!

Strawberry cookies

Sugar. Sugar. Sugar. Sugar.

That is running through my head right now at full speed. Know why? …… I just ate six cookies.

One thing I knew when I started Pig Dog Farm & Bakery was that I’d have to try any new recipe – and old ones just to make sure the quality is still there. What I don’t think I fully realized is that because there are a variety of ways to make a cookie – that I’d have to eat each variation to find the perfect one.

Today, I wanted to try out a strawberry cookie idea and also a St. Patrick’s Day idea. I started with my base sugar cookie recipe and divided it. The first 12 were for a snickerdoodle order for today – but I had the other 12 to play with.

So, I took half (six cookies) and added strawberry puree. The other half (another six cookies) I added green food coloring.

St. Patrick’s Day cookies

I am very happy with the strawberry cookie – though I think it could have a stronger strawberry flavor. The green cookies – were great because they were the normal recipe, just green.

Then, came the frosting dilemma. Do I use buttercream? Nah, too sweet… Cream cheese? Maybe… Plain? People don’t want a plain cookie… Lemon glaze? Ohhh… are we on to something?

Either way though…in order to know which is best…you have to taste them. Hence me eating six cookies already today.

I still have not decided which cookie combination is the best – so I’m going to make my husband be the guinea pig when he gets home.

Have an idea for the frosting? Let me know! Comment below.


Sourdough…sour what??!!

Remember back to March 2020 when a little thing called coronavirus shut everyone up in their homes…and then those people had to find things to do?

No knead Rye Sourdough bread

In that moment, everyone became a baker. Cookies, cakes, scones…and sourdough bread. People were baking so much that flour (especially good flour like from King Arthur Baking Company) became nearly impossible to find – just like toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

As people jumped into the sourdough bread scene, new bakers were posting questions about how to keep a sourdough starter, what kind of flour to use and how often do you have to bake.

I’ve had a sourdough started (her name is Sally) for about 5 years now. When she is not in use, she sleeps peacefully in the fridge. When it is time to bake, I slowly wake her up with some fresh flour and water – and away we go!

Over the years, I’ve tried many different sourdough bread recipes – for a boule (round loaf), a sandwich loaf, a long crusty french loaf and those varieties, but using whole wheat flour or rye flour.

When flour became super scarce, I turned to my favorite mill in Georgia to supply my flour.

Slow rise sourdough bread headed for the oven. Yummy!

Then, I started baking away. I personally love the no knead Rye bread recipe from Grow Forage Cook Ferment’s website. It is so easy to make and my husband loves the rye/caraway seed flavor.

Today, I’m trying a new recipe from Heart’s Content Farmhouse. It is a slow rise whole wheat sourdough bread recipe that she’s worked on for years. I am going to put it in the over in about an hour… so stay tuned!

What kind of bread are you baking? Do you use sourdough and have questions? Let me know in the comments below.