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Grandma's Cinnamon Rolls

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I recently got my hands on my grandma's cinnamon roll recipe... Or at least part of it. I used to help her with them when I was a kid and distinctly remember the dough rising twice (once in a big ball and once after the rolls were formed) and I remember they go in to the oven... these steps aren't in the recipe. Everyone in my family loved her cinnamon rolls and unfortunately she has Alzheimer's and can't help with any questions about it since she barely remembers their existence. I'll copy what I have and hopefully someone can help me out. I just tried them for the first time and they aren't even close. Her's were huge and soft and airy and mine looked like browned versions of the rolls right after I had cut them. Help please!


3 T. crisco

1 T. salt

1 C. sugar

5-6 C. flour

3/4 C. warm water

1 beaten egg

2 pkg. yeast

1 cup warm water


melt crisco in warm water, add salt sugar and beaten egg

mix yeast and 1 C. warm water

add crisco mixture to yeast and add 3 C. flour, stir

add up to 2 1/2 C. flour until the dough is not very sticky but shiny and moist

cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in warm area til doubled in size

punch down the dough and turn it out onto floured counter and roll it out

combine 3 T. sugar, 3 T. brown sugar, 1 T. cinnamon and spread over dough

roll it up and slice into 1 inch pieces


That's where her recipe ends. I remember some steps so I did those and followed the baking directions of another recipe I found. I added butter to the filling (as I remember her doing) and once I sliced the rolls I let them rise again. Both times the dough was left to rise, it didn't really do much. I baked them for 25 min at 375 (random guess plus other recipes) and they didn't do much. They smell good, of course, but like I said... not even close to grandma's. Any help would be awesome. I know her list of ingredients is a lot different than most recipes and I'm not looking for a whole other recipe. I just want to recreate hers, if possible.




post #2 of 13

I would first check the yeast, make sure it's active. 

From a bread website:  To proof yeast, add 1 teaspoon sugar to 1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°F). Stir in 1 envelope yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons); let stand 10 minutes. If the yeast foams to the 1/2 cup mark, it is active and you may use it in your recipe. RapidRise™ yeast loses its fast rising capabilities if dissolved in liquid, and will require two complete rises. 


And make sure the warm water is in the specified temperature range for the yeast.  

Is the dough kneaded in any way?  Or just stirred together?  I knead the dough for 5-10 mins on a mixer with a dough hook until smooth and elastic.  I usually just use a Brioche dough when I make cinnamon rolls, which the differences would be butter instead of Crisco, and milk instead of water. 

post #3 of 13

Who doesn't love a good cinnamon roll, warm from the oven on a cold morning?

If the recipe is one handed down like a precious heirloom all the better!

Try rlyv tips to proof and if it passes muster, then the other problem may be the salt (known to inhibit the rising power of yeast).

It helps to mix the salt into the flour and go from there.



post #4 of 13

I’m curious, is it one tablespoon or teaspoon of salt?

A tablespoon sounds like a lot.


I am not the best baker, but I have my SIL's recipe for Cinnamon Rolls (a family fav), not sure really where it came from, but I only make this recipe once a year for Christmas morning, and we haven’t been home for Christmas in the past two or three years now.  I had to pull it down to look at it.


Her recipe has a filling to the dough of butter, granulated sugar, cinnamon, karo syrup, nuts and raisins.  In addition, the pans are prepped with karo syrup and brown sugar in the bottoms prior to placing the rolls to rise.

Oh, and the dough has softened butter as rlyv mentioned and a cup of sour cream, all the difference in the teture, to us anyway.  I made this once without the sour cream, they were okay, but not as soft and fluffy.

post #5 of 13

I would go with a teaspoon of the salt and like flipflopgirl said, be sure that your yeast and salt do not come into contact with each other.

The only other thing that I can see is that you need to be sure to proof it both times in a pretty warm place 85-90 Degrees Fahrenheit and keep it covered while it rises if you can't control humidity or are in an area with dry air.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

You all are so awesome, thank you so much for helping out! I'm less than a novice, just wanted to try my hand at grandma's magic. I had no idea about yeast and salt being enemies! I think I got the super fast rising yeast... I know it wasn't just regular bread yeast at least. I'm going back to the store to pick up some more yeast and I'll just stick to the regular stuff and wait all day, just to be safe. The 1/4 cup trick about proofing is super smart, I'll try that this time too. Just to double check, I'll proof the yeast and do the crisco stuff separately, leaving out salt. Should I just wait til after I add a few cups of flour to add the salt? Would that make it better? I like the idea of using butter, and possibly sour cream (sounds interesting), but I wanna get the plain ol' rolls as close to grandma's as possible first. I'm a purist when it comes to CRs thanks to grandma, I don't like icing or nuts or dried fruit with mine. I'll let you all know how batch #2 comes out, I'll probably have more problems with it but the yeast and salt issues will be solved.


Thanks again so much!


post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Oh, and how long and how hot do you all bake the CRs? Like I said I found another recipe that said 25 min at 375, but I have no idea if that's a standard cook time or what... They are decent sized rolls and I'd like them a little underdone as opposed to overdone of course. Any help would be awesome!




post #8 of 13

kaneohe...would you mind sharing your SIL's recipe?

I usually make my Gma Van's (may she rest in peace) but would like to give her's a whirl!

Sounds decadent!



OP...just mix the measure of salt into the flour (in  bowl) and give a quick mix with a whisk then add flour to liquids and go from there.

Simpler IMO.

375 sounds a bit high, unless it is for the initial rise.

If that is the case, I would decrease the heat to 350 after a few min. and bake until a nice light golden brown.



post #9 of 13

I have a kolache (dough) recipe that uses the same amt of flour and it calls for the same 1 T measurement of salt.

Always turns out fluffy and rich with a good flavor .



post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

flipflopgirl, how do you bake yours??

post #11 of 13

Cinnamon Buns

k~girl's family favorite




1 C Sour Cream

3 C AP Flour

1 pkg. Dry Yeast

1/4 C warm Water

2 Tbsp soft Butter

2 Tbsp granulated Sugar

1 tsp Salt

1 Egg, beaten



1 stick (8 Tbsp) soft Butter

1/2 C granulated Sugar

1 Tbsp ground Cinnamon

1 C Karo Syrup

1 C chopped Nuts

1/2 C Raisins


Prepare two 9 inch round cake pans by spreading into each 1/3 cup of Karo Syrup and 1/4 cup of Brown Sugar.


Preheat oven to 375º


Heat sour cream in a saucepan over low, just to lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in the warm water, allowing to proof.

In a food processor, combine warmed sour cream, butter, sugar, salt, egg, yeast mixture and one cup of flour until smooth.

Add remaining flour until the dough pulls away from the bowl; continue to process for additonal 30 seconds until the dough is elastic.

Turn out into a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Allow to rise until doubled in size (over night is fine).

On a well floured surface, roll out the dough evenly into 24" X 12" rectangle.

Spread the stick of softened butter evenly over the entire surface and then sprinkle over the filling sugar and cinnamon, then the nuts and raisins; drizzle the syrup all over.

Roll up the dough "jelly roll style", starting with the longer (24 inch) side, as tightly as possible.

Cut into 16 pieces.

Place 8 pieces into each of the prepped pans, cut side down and allow to rise for about 1 hour.

Bake for 15 minutes, until buns are firm but not hard, an additional 5 minutes may be needed

Remove; allow to cool for a minute then turn out on to a platter.

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

Awesome, thank you!

post #13 of 13

My kolache or my cinnamon rolls?



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