Sweet Rolls and Cinnamon Rolls are a staple at most of our holiday and family dinners. This recipe is our special occasion recipe. It just isn't a special occasion without these rolls. This recipe is versatile because you can make sweet rolls, a.k.a. dinner rolls, or cinnamon rolls, or a combination of the two. We usually make a combination of the two so that we can have the sweet rolls with the dinner and cinnamon rolls for dessert or breakfast the next day. Sometimes, someone will sneak a cinnamon roll as an appetizer!
My family refers to this recipe as "Mom Chase's Sweet Rolls" because the recipe came from my great-grandmother, who the family referred to as Mom Chase. The sweet rolls and cinnamon rolls both freeze well, but freezing them doesn't happen too often!
I like to put butter on top of the cinnamon rolls and heat them in the microwave for a few seconds, so that the butter melts and the roll is slightly warm. Delicious!
The sweet rolls are good as is because they have a little pat of butter inside them. You can add butter, or your favorite spread. They make really good gravy bread, too! In our family, gravy bread is bread or rolls that are torn into bite size pieces and covered in gravy. Gravy bread is always a Thanksgiving treat!
When we traveled, Mom made a batch of the sweet rolls then shredded chicken to make yummy little chicken sandwiches. A picnic with the little sandwiches is much better than stopping at a restaurant!
Some members of the family make this dough into a loaf, instead of rolls. It will make a soft loaf of bread. One aunt uses a bread machine to do the initial mixing, too. I do all of the mixing by hand. You can mix this dough by hand or use a dough attachment on your mixer.
I hope you enjoy!
Sweet Rolls / Cinnamon Rolls
- 5 teaspoons yeast You can use 2 packages of yeast. A package of yeast is about 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. Using a package will be a little less yeast, but that is ok.
- 1 cup milk scalded
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 4 1/2 - 5 cups all-purpose flour
Cinnamon Roll Filling
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar (dark brown sugar is ok if you don't have light brown sugar)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water. I do this in a 2-cup glass container.
- Add 1 teaspoon sugar to the yeast and let rest for 15 or so minutes. Yeast should bubble and grow. After 15 or so minutes, the yeast usually rises to the 1 1/2 cups mark in my 2-cup container.
- Put shortening, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
- Scald milk. I scald milk in the microwave for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
- Add scaled milk to the shortening mixture.
- Stir to mix ingredients and dissolve the shortening. This will also cool the milk a little.
- Let milk mixture cool for a few minutes.
- Beat the eggs in a separate container.
- Add eggs to the milk mixture.
- Once the yeast has grown, add to the milk mixture. Stir well.
- Add 1/2 cup or so of flour, incorporating well. Continue adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until mixture is a smooth, silky dough.
- Place in greased bowl, cover with greased wax paper and let rise until doubled. This step can take 2-3 hours.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, you can make sweet rolls (dinner rolls), or cinnamon rolls, or a mix of both. I usually make both. If you want to make both, split the dough in half, or whatever ratio you desire. Follow the steps below.
- Roll out the dough into a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.
- Using a cookie cutter or a glass, cut dough in circles about 3 inches in diameter.
- Put a dab of butter in center of each circle. Be careful to not touch the edges with the butter. The rolls will not seal well if butter is n the edges.
- Fold over each circle and crimp the edges together with your fingers. If butter gets in seam, rolls may open up during rising. No worries, they are still tasty!
- Put the rolls on greased cookie sheets or cookie sheets with silicone mats.
- Cover with greased wax paper.
- Raise until doubled.
- Bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
- Let cool a few minutes on the cookie sheet.
- Enjoy a roll or two while they are still warm.
- Finish cooling on wire racks. Rolls will squish if put in a bread basket when they are still warm.
- Roll out dough in a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick.
- Dissolve butter and coat rolled out dough except for one of the short edges. This edge will be the outside of the roll and it won't stick to itself if there is butter on it.
- Mix 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup sugar and spread evenly across dough. I grab small handfuls and sprinkle the sugar mixture over the buttered dough.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on top of sugar mixture.
- Roll into a jelly roll starting with the edge that has the butter and cinnamon/sugar mixture spread to the end.
- Once the dough is rolled, you can gently squeeze it to seal the unbuttered edge, and to even out the roll is one part is a little larger than another.
- Using a serrated knife, cut into slices 1/2 inch slices.
- Place the cinnamon rolls on greased cookie sheets with room to raise in between.
- Cover with greased wax paper.
- Raise until doubled.
- Bake 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
- Let cool a few minutes on the cookie sheets. Be careful, the cinnamon, sugars and butter mixture will be hot and could burn.
- Move to wire racks to cool. The cinnamon mixture may drip, so you might want to put paper towels under the wire racks. It cleans up easily, so the towels aren't necessary. It just makes clean up faster.
- If any cinnamon rolls are leftover for the next day, they are yummy with butter on top and warmed in the microwave a few seconds. Too long in the microwave will make them hard.