Home Is Where My Story Begins

Cinnamon Rolls, A Family Tradition

Not long ago I shared about our family tradition of getting together to celebrate birthdays. My extended family gathers about once a month, sometimes every other month, to enjoy appetizers, a meal, way too many desserts, kid play time, adult conversation time, and cinnamon rolls.

My grandma (we call her Nanie) started making cinnamon rolls for our dinner parties as far back as I can remember.

Here’s my grandma and my mom at our party last week.

I know cinnamon rolls are traditionally a breakfast or brunch item, but they have always been part of every family celebration in my family. I have fond memories of watching my grandma roll out the dough. She always let me scoop up the cinnamon and brown sugar crumbs off of the cutting board when she was done. I remember my Nanie teaching me to make her cinnamon roll recipe just after I was married. They weren’t as hard to make as I thought, but mine just never turned out quite as good as hers. I would guess my grandma had made those rolls about 300 times over the past 30 years. Yep, 10 parties a year for 30 years or more.

Now that Nanie is 92 and living in assisted living, she isn’t able to make her rolls any more. My mom and I are really the only people in the family who truly enjoy baking. (Well, except for the Ellensburg folks, but we just have them bring chips and pop since they have to cross the mountains.) So, it’s up to us to carry on this family tradition.

I’ve tried making my grandma’s recipe many times, but since I just can’t live up to these standards I’ve decided to branch out and try a new recipe. Believe me, my family is full of cinnamon roll experts. They critique the size, gooeyness, amount of cinnamon versus brown sugar, and even the frosting. (My mom tried to switch to canned frosting one time. BIG mistake… BIG MISTAKE!!!) You should hear the wrath of the family when the rolls fail to rise, or you didn’t make a double batch and they are starting to run out.

So, let’s get to it. Cinnamon rolls are really not as hard as they look. I have to admit. I cheat. Nanie did not have the luxury of throwing the ingredients into the bread machine to make her dough, but I couldn’t live without my bread machines.

I have two bread makers and they both have a DOUGH CYCLE. That’s very important because the machine only does the work of making the dough.

I cannot take credit for this recipe. I found it online many years ago. Now the website is called The Fresh Loaf. I can’t wait to explore it a little more. Click here to find the recipe. It suggested using a bread machine for the dough and I decided to give it a try. It was so easy and the recipe is fantastic!

Yep, it’s a Cinnabon knock off recipe.

When I printed it out many years ago, the hit counter said I was the first view, but who knows.

I always use this yeast. I buy the big jar because I bake a lot, but it also comes in little packets.

You just follow the directions and throw everything into the bread maker.

At that point, you walk away. When you come back, your dough will magically be ready to turn into rolls. It really is as simple as that. (Just remember to use warm ingredients because warmth activates the yeast.)

Now for the fun part. Roll out the dough on a cutting board.

Add the margarine.

Add the cinnamon and brown sugar. The recipe calls for a specific type of cinnamon, but I don’t have it. The generic Safeway cinnamon has always worked just fine for me.

Roll it up.

Slice it. This is the point where my son yells, “Wait! I want to come listen to you slice them! I love that sound.” Is that not the cutest thing??? Here’s my big sports loving nine year old who just loves to be part of the baking experience. I told him that the sound of the rolls slicing will always be something he remembers and looks back on.

Place them in a pan to rise.

Don’t forget to let the kids nibble the cinnamon and sugar leftovers.

Fresh out of the pan, ready for frosting.

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the frosted rolls. The minute you get the frosting on, it’s all over… they disappear faster than you can get them out.


Check out these parties I like to link up to.

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The Comments

  • Petie
    May 19, 2010

    Great post. Must be baking day. I just shared my Grandmother's banana bread.

  • Snappy Di
    May 19, 2010

    Ooh MY! Teasing me after I just went on a low carb diet this week… I HEART CINNAMON ROLLS!!!!


  • kim
    May 19, 2010

    Those sure do look good. I LOVE anything with cinnamon. Thanks for sharing your family times and the recipe.

  • Cole
    May 19, 2010

    This reminded me I have cinnamon rolls in the fridge. Not anything nearly as good as yours though I bet. 🙂

  • Fern Valley Farm
    May 19, 2010

    Cinnamon rolls are a family favorite at my house! I also like to use my bread machine to make the dough….makes it so easy. I love how you get together with all of your family on a regular basis, and what sweet memories you have of time spent with your grandma!

  • Santa's Gift Shoppe and Ideas
    May 21, 2010

    Hi..I’m Barb….I am from Fingerprints on the fridge friday…We could be sisters..My mom & I were just like you and your mom or granndma…only she let me put the melted butter,cinnamon & walnuts in the the cupcake pan that she used for cinnamon rolls..I make cinnamon rolls all year long & had to take a peek at yours..Great job girlfriend!!!! I'm very impressed but was really looking forward to seeing the "frosted" ones..My mouth was watering but What you said is sooo true..once the frosting is on THEY ARE GONE!!!
    I am your newest follower. I hope you will get a chance to visit my blog @ santasgiftshoppe.blogspot.com
    & get inspired by something for your family/home. I hope you will follow me as well. Nice to meet ya new friend!!!

  • Laura
    May 22, 2010

    Oh my gosh.
    These sound delicious.
    I linked to the same party-
    Come by if you have time.


    White Spray Paint

  • Gretchen Seefried
    May 22, 2010

    I am lovin these cinnamon rolls but I think I love that photo of your mom and Nanie more! Wonderful post!!! Coming over from I'm Lovin it and I am! Have a great day!

  • Gretchen Seefried
    May 22, 2010

    Oh forgot to ask….could you link this recipe post on my new website for women? Link yourself up on Midchix.com in the Mama Can Cook Flock! The members will LOVE this and the story behind it!

  • Sarah @HarriganHowdy
    May 22, 2010

    Aww, what a special family you have, and especially that y'all carry on your Nanie's cinnamon roll tradition. 🙂 Our family has a little cinnamon roll story too! lol. And, geez louise, girl- – do you ever have some amazing recipes! Love every single one of them. Thank you so much for sharing this one at the Recipe Share Party.


  • Erin
    May 23, 2010

    Hi there –

    I found you on Fingerprints on the Fridge. LOVE your cinnamon rolls. They look so yummy! (Mine wouldn't last once the frosting was on either) =o)


  • Mama Holli
    May 25, 2010

    Hi Becca..Gretchen asked me to help you post this up at Midchix,,,,,,so I
    am going to walk you through this okay………. I will go to the Flock named Mam Can Cook…….then I will look at the discussions and see where my recipe fits……I'm thinking it would fit perfect in the Fat Free NOT! Discussion ….so then I click that discussion topic and it will take me to that page….then I will scroll down to reply at the end of the page……this is where I am posting you up……..I will drag your photo from your blog to my desktop……..I am going to type your blog name and cut and paste your link on this post….I will use your link that will directly track back to this recipe post……..then I want to add a photo.so……I click UPLOAD PHOTO…….click UPLOAD MEDIA and then click CHOOSE FILE it should take you to your desktop……..or where you store your photos on your personal computer. I find the photo I want and add the file…then I add a title…I named your photo Home Is Where The story Begins.this tags it under your name and gives the owner credit, Then Click save at the bottom….it will take a moment to load it and then it will appear on the top left corner,…….just click it and it will load on to the post you created… I hope I am making sense!!! If not just let me know….you can find me on Midchix under the name Mama Holli! Have fun and feel free to invite other bloggers to do the same…I will alos add your name to the Blog Roll if I have not already,,,,,anyone can add their name! You might want to check out the Crafty Mamas Flock and the Perky Bloggers Flock as well…..you can link up goodies and link back to your blog there too…..Have Fun!

  • Mama Holli
    May 25, 2010

    URL for Midchix

  • Mama Holli
    May 25, 2010

    Don't forget to click SAVE at the bottom of your post!!! VERY important!
    Sorry I forgot!! I promise I am done!! I will leave you alone now!
    Bye Bye