I’ve been telling people my whole life that I used to be a picky eater when I was a kid. It wasn’t until recently that I realized I wasn’t necessarily a picky eater, just a very PARTICULAR eater. There’s a difference. It all stemmed around my mom. She’s an amazing cook. I remember many, MANY sleepovers that ended with breakfast and telling my friends’ parents when they asked what I wanted, “Oh….actually…I only eat my moms… (insert: waffles, pancakes, eggs etc).” My adult self cringes at the thought of me doing this but it was the truth! Did my friend’s mom use yeast in her waffles? Sour cream in her pancakes? Crack her eggs DIRECTLY in the pan (without added milk!!)?!? Probably not. This usually meant I went hungry or had to think of some creative way to throw my breakfast in the garbage.
While my adult self has learned to love pancakes without sour cream, waffles without yeast and eggs whisked with some milk first, there is one food item that I have yet to love (unless baked by my mom). Cinnamon rolls. I’ve had many cinnamon rolls in my day. Vegan, pumpkin, cream cheese frosted, overnight, whole wheat, you name it, I’ve tried it. But I’m sorry to report that “I….actually….only love my moms” (said in my best 12 year old voice). It makes sense because my mom uses some pretty random ingredients in hers. Canned evaporated milk, instant potato flakes and an almond extract icing. No other cinnamon roll comes close to this dynamic trio. Trust me. This is the one time I urge you to go buy those scary instant potato flakes. It will be worth it.
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar DIVIDED
1/3 cup instant potato flakes
1/4 melted butter, cooled
1 cup canned evaporated milk
4 1/2-5 cups flour
1/4 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
5 tablespoons softened butter
3 tablespoons evaporated canned milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- In a stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment, add the yeast, warm water(approximately 110°F), salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Set aside for about 6 to 7 minutes so the yeast can activate (it’ll look foamy when ready).
- Mix together 2/3 cup boiling water with 1/3 cup instant potato flakes.
- Once the yeast is ready, add the rest of the sugar, mashed potatoes, melted butter, canned milk, and egg. Whisk on low until combined.
- Once combined, switch to the dough hook and add the flour, starting with only 4 cups. Mix on low until it is fully combined then increase the speed to medium and add in additional flour, a tablespoon at a time. You may not need the full amount. Knead the dough for about 5-8 minutes until it’s no longer sticky to the touch; it should be smooth and elastic.
- Oil a new bowl and place the ball of dough inside. Flip the dough around so it gets lightly coated in the oil. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 1 hour (or until doubled).
- Cover your working surface lightly in flour and grab a rolling pin. Roll the dough into a large rectangle.
- With a pastry brush, cover the dough in softened butter evenly. If you need more than the 1/4 cup, add more to fully cover the dough. Add the brown sugar on top, gently spreading it with your hands and pressing it into the butter. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon.
- Grab the long side of the rectangle and roll it up, rolling as tightly as possible. Place it seam-side down once it’s rolled up. Use a butter knife to mark 1 inch–thick rolls. Grab some floss, lift the dough and carefully shimmy the floss underneath your first 1 inch marking. Twist the floss around the roll and pull the two ends across each other and cut. You should have around 12-18 rolls.
- Grab your cut rolls onto a lightly buttered baking sheet. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow them to rise for 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Make the icing. In a food processor, combine the powdered sugar and butter. Once creamed together, add the milk, vanilla and almond extract and blend well. Icing should be runny.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the cinnamon rolls. Bake the rolls for 18-20 minutes, until lightly golden in a few spots. Remove from the oven and allow the rolls to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Spoon the icing on top of the warmed rolls. Enjoy!