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Happy Swirls: Cinnamon Rolls

6.May 2010

Over Christmas last year, my mom made these amazing potato cinnamon rolls.  I ate something like five of them in a day.  They were light, cinnamon-y, and luxurious.

I mean, cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite things – you all know how I feel about spice in baked goods; I even like those Pillsbury cinnamon rolls (you know the ones that have an almost marbled-looking crust of cinnamon on top?), and walking through airports and malls where there’s a Cinnabon booth is agonizing, even knowing that the taste isn’t that great (there’s always something a little chemically tasting, even if the smell is divine).  It’s not a mild flirtation that I have with cinnamon rolls.

So, when Dan and I were invited to some lovely friends’ house to have brunch on their porch and soak up some springtime sun, I was thrilled that they said, “we are decidedly not members of that class of people who self-satisfiedly declare that they simply have no appetite for sweet things in the morning.”  I knew just what I was going to do.

But there was the small matter of a recipe.  I couldn’t find one I liked!  I finally settled on this one, but you’ll note it has VERY little cinnamon in it.  What’s the point in that?  So what I did was step up the cinnamon a little (a lot).  I ended up with something that looked like this:

Potato Cinnamon Rolls


  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 3/4 c hot mashed potatoes (about 2 potatoes)
  • 1-1/2 c warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t salt
  • 6-1/2 c all-purpose flour 


  • 1-1/3 c packed brown sugar
  • 2 T ground cinnamon (increased from 1/2 teaspoon – bish plz)
  • 4 T butter, softened

  1. Make mashed potatoes.
  2. Mix together sugar and mashed potato, then add water and yeast.  Mix well. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, combine filling ingredients (except for butter) and set aside. 
  4. After the hour is up, stir potato mixture.  Beat in the butter, eggs and salt. Gradually stir in flour. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  5. Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each portion into a 12″ square. Spread half the softened butter (2 T) onto the surface of each dough square – don’t be afraid of using your hands!  Sprinkle/spread the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture to within 1/2″ of the edge. Roll up jelly-roll style, as tightly as possible. 
  6. Cut each roll into nine slices – I found a sharp knife and a sawing motion helped to preserve the swirl. 
  7. Place, slice side up, in a greased 9″x13″ baking pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  8. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. 

The recipe also thought it would be cute and say that icing is optional (hah!).  Here’s what I came up with:

  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 2 T butter melted
  • 1 1/2 T almond milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  1. Beat together powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla.  
  2. Add almond milk as needed to achieve desired texture for drizzling or spreading.  Remember that the icing will loosen up when it hits the hot rolls.
One Comment leave one →
  1. 11.May 2010 10:20

    These look amazing. Beautiful photo. Can't wait to try the recipe.

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