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My dear neighbor Pat gave me this recipe for How To Make a Giant Cinnamon Roll.

She thought of us when she saw it in a magazine and cut it out for me. It’s been laying on my desk patiently waiting.

The ingredients are quite basic, most well stocked pantries could handle. The instructions are straight forward, albeit there is yeast and resting/rising involved. However I’m certain most modest cooks could tackle this recipe.

Yet day after day, week after week, I avoided eye contact. What was it about this recipe that I was avoiding?

Giant Cinnamon Roll on cooling rack
Jump to Recipe

Oh I knew. Deep down I knew. And I’m here to admit to you.

I’VE NEVER MADE A CINNAMON ROLL.

Nope, not one.

Like you, I’ve seen hundreds of cinnamon roll recipes floating around the internet. I’m fairly sure there are Pinterest boards entirely dedicated to this delicacy. Yet I have managed to avoid making them until now.

Fear of failure is the only thing I can think of that has kept me from attempting this family favorite breakfast treat. But on this day I’m going in!

Giant Cinnamon Roll Ingredients

Making the Dough

Step 1 of the instructions is to “dissolve yeast in warm water and cream until foamy.” Sounds simple enough. The picture above is the 3rd attempt at foamy, which also included sending my husband to the grocery store to buy more heavy cream. That’s how committed I was to making this Giant Cinnamon Roll.

As it turns out the problem was not the temperature of my water and cream. Remember last year when covid first hit and everyone was home. We were all working on our honey-do lists, organizing closets, and baking bread. All that bread baking created a yeast shortage. Not sure the exact facts but my grocery stores were out for weeks, maybe longer. I finally broke down and ordered a 1 pound package of instant dry yeast online. That’s a lot of yeast and the same yeast I was using for this recipe, some 15 months later. There was no foamy action happening.

I thought about backing out. I mean this was part of why I have avoided making cinnamon rolls in the past. He must have seen the look in my eyes when he said “I’m going back to the grocery store to buy you fresh yeast.”

Bless him!

The moral of the story….face your fears & use fresh yeast.

As you can see in the above pictures I achieved “smooth and elastic dough” as Step 2 instructed. The dough also doubled in size and rolled out nicely into a 12″ x 15″ rectangle. The pizza cutter trick was brilliant too. Things were going my way. Confidence filled the air.

I rolled each 2-inch strip around the previous, creating a beautiful giant cinnamon roll, which doubled in size again! The magic that only fresh yeast can deliver (and an hour in a warm spot).

Giant Cinnamon Roll with Caramel Drizzle

Making the Homemade Caramel Sauce

But then came the homemade caramel sauce. Good God. “Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan, cook over medium heat until it turns light amber.” Amber was no where to be seen. My sugar crystalized and turned to sugar concrete. Two batches in and we’re going with homemade “golden” syrup. It was buttery, sweet and delicious. One day caramel I’ll get you, but not today!

Recipe Note: because this recipe calls for caramel sauce I didn’t want to leave you hanging. But clearly I’m no expert. Here is a great link on how to make Quick and Easy Caramel Sauce. The trick….resist the urge to stir.

Slice of Giant Cinnamon Roll

The Results

This iconic cinnamon bun, also known as a cinnamon swirl or danish was a giant hit with the whole family, including Ms. Pat. The dough was buttery crisp on the edges with a light center and a wonderful cinnamon flavor swirled throughout. I’m already thinking about my next attempt and how I’ll approach it with conviction.

Today marks what would have been my mom’s 90th birthday. Without question she would have loved this cinnamon roll. I have a folder of recipes cut, torn, rewritten from magazines and newspapers that mom knew I would like. It’s time for me to tackle the next one!

Don’t forget to follow us @LemonyThyme on Instagram and Facebook! And check out our latest TikTok videos and Pinterest boards too!

All my best,
xo Libby

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Giant Cinnamon Roll with Caramel Drizzle

How To Make a Giant Cinnamon Roll

Leah Rekau, Milwaukee, WI
This Giant Cinnamon Roll was a hit with the entire family. The dough was buttery crisp on the edges with a light center and a wonderful cinnamon flavor swirled throughout.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Rise Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Breads, Breakfast, Brunch
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

For the Dough

  • 1 pkg. (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast be sure yeast is fresh
  • 1/2 cup warm water 110° – 115° F.
  • 1/2 cup warm heavy whipping cream 110° – 115° F.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3-4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons butter melted

For the Cinnamon Filling

  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the Caramel Topping

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions
 

For the Cinnamon Roll

  • Dissolve yeast in warm (110° – 115° F.) water and cream until foamy. I verified the temperature with my instant read thermometer. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, salt and 3 cups flour. Stir in yeast mixture, beaten egg and melted butter. Add enough remaining flour to create a soft dough.
  • Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding additional flour if mixture is too sticky. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 12-inch x 15-inch rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into (6) 2-inch wide strips. Roll one strip and place in center of greased 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Wrap remaining strips around center. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake until golden brown about 35-40 minutes.

For the Caramel Sauce

  • To prepare the topping, combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook undisturbed until it turns light amber, about 8-9 minutes. Resist the urge to stir. Add butter, stirring vigorously. Remove from the heat, add cream and continue to stir vigorously. Cool slightly. Pour 3/4 cup over cinnamon roll. Serve with remaining caramel sauce.