I remember my brother making a variation of biscuit cinnamon rolls after taking a home ec class when he was in seventh grade. Dad made them sometimes instead of his usual Sunday morning biscuits. They are a quick alternative to regular, yeast-raised cinnamon rolls and are always a crowd-pleaser.
I have tinkered with the concept over the years, starting with my brother’s mimeographed school recipe and memories of Dad’s version. I added more butter, substituted brown sugar for white, added more cinnamon, and topped them with a powdered sugar vanilla icing.
You can make these in just a few minutes. This time I was making them for a breakfast for dinner meal after Calvin’s fiddle lesson. We get home about six o’clock on those days, so I am always looking for a quick dinner. Often that means breakfast, and this week was no exception. I actually was on the ball and cut the butter into the dry ingredients before we left. It was a hot day (in October!), so I chucked the bowl in the fridge while we were gone. Making the dough was a matter of stirring in the milk and kneading for a few seconds. I had the rolls ready before the oven had time to preheat and we were eating warm cinnamon rolls and scrambled eggs twenty minutes after I started cooking.
We enjoy these most often as a Saturday breakfast. I make them so often that I don’t have to look at a recipe anymore. I measure the dough ingredients, but usually just wing it on the filling and icing – spreading brown sugar, flinging cinnamon with abandon and eyeballing the vanilla. These aren’t pretty, elegant rolls, but they are full of buttery, cinnamon-y filling, topped with vanilla glaze that runs down between the layers to puddle on the plate. They are perfect for Saturday morning lazy breakfasts, or Sunday brunch (or Thursday dinners around our house).
Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls
From The Cook’s Life
Makes 12 cinnamon rolls
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour, if you prefer)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ cup cold butter, cut into 1-inch pats
¾ cup milk
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
½ – ¾ cup brown sugar
2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons milk, approximately
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13 inch pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking powder. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the milk all at once. Mix well, until a stiff dough forms. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead briefly, about 10 turns. Pat or roll into a rectangle about ½ inch thick, keeping flour underneath so it doesn’t stick.
Brush or drizzle surface with melted butter, saving any extra for the icing. Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar and then cinnamon. Roll up loosely, starting with long side and pinch seam closed with fingers. Cut into 12 pieces and place cut side up on prepared pan. Bake 12-15 minutes, but watch closely so any leaking filling doesn’t burn.
While rolls are baking, make icing. Using any remaining melted butter (I usually use the same bowl I melted the butter in), add the powered sugar and vanilla. Add milk a teaspoon at a time, until a thin icing forms. Better to start with less milk and add more to avoid lumps.
Remove hot rolls to plate and drizzle with icing. Serve warm. These keep for a day or two, if you have any left.