Tag Archives: biscuits

Sweet Sticky Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

**This gem is a re-run from earlier this year, but as the Autumn air crisps up, I found it appropriate to re-post. I am in Los Angeles shooting a movie so will be doing some re-posts here till I have a second to shoot some new content.**

When I was a kid, we’d make the drive from Alvin to the ranch in Johnson City, TX, in the big grey Buick LeSabre, and we always got there without mom and dad murdering us. This bakery is one of the institutions I credit with allowing me to be alive today to write this article for you.

The Bon Ton Bakery, now known as Weikel’s Bakery (www.weikels.com) located on Highway 71 in LaGrange, TX, was a usual stop on our road trip. Yes, that LaGrange, TX. The one with the infamous chicken ranch brothel. We never stopped there.

But we DID often stop to empty our bladder and fill up our belly at the bakery. They particularly specialized in a Texas treat derived from German and Czech traditions called kolaches. That’s another post. But they also had fantastic cinnamon rolls.

Being a little porker, I always appreciated a sweet roll. Even as an adult, it’s a weakness I still possess. Mind you, not any sweet roll will do.

So, I have spent a few years developing this one: the one that cries out to be eaten as soon as it is cooled down enough not to hurt you. With much fanfare I present The Gentleman Caller’s Sweet Sticky Cinnamon Roll with Maple Cream Cheese Icing.

Diametrically opposed fat sources.

What you need:

  • Half recipe of The Gentleman’s Sweet Roll Dough*
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup vanilla bean sugar**
  • 3-4 Tablespoons grated cinnamon
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • Cream Cheese Maple Icing

*A full recipe will make two pans of cinnamon rolls.

**Vanilla bean sugar: in a jar or container, store a few cups of white sugar with a vanilla bean. Measure your 2/3 cup of sugar when ready to use and add vanilla bean caviar to your liking.

“Exquisite dough, and fortunately Jill got me this beautiful dough cutter for Christmas.This is very straightforward, especially if you watched the video.

Roll the dough out to approximately 16″ x 22”.

The Gentleman Caller’s Sweet Sticky Cinnamon Rolls

Smear that barely softened butter on that dough. After that, grate all the cinnamon. Yes, grate it.

Throw brown sugar and vanilla sugar all over it.

This is round one… Keep spreading. Not nearly enough.

Make a thick layer of sugar and spice, then roll that dough lengthwise.  Be careful initially, it’s tender. But the further you get, the easier it is.

It’s time to cut the log into pieces.

These are just risen, and so demure.

Allow to rise again for an hour. Then brush with butter (actual butter).

Bake them for 12 minutes initially. Check them. Do not overcook them. 14 minutes is probably your number, but watch.

I am so careful about instructions sometimes because I know what you’ve done to get to this place. I am never offering you a Pinterest fail.

It’s time to ICE.

The Gentleman Caller’s Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Writers usually don’t tell stories about icing, but I am.

My family members love icing like they love meat, Christmas and possibly their kids.

This sort of loose cream cheese frostings sinks down into a cinnamon roll, but not too deep. I do not enjoy a cinnamon roll with no icing bleed-down into the roll itself.

I recommend that you ice when the rolls are warm, as the video states.

What you need (to ice 1 pan of rolls, double for 2):

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons good maple syrup (If you use Mrs. Butterworth’s and that’s your jam, don’t tell me. Just send me pics.)
  • A whisper (one squeeze) of lemon juice
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

In the bowl of a mixer, marry the butter and cream cheese. Beat them until they are well combined and almost fluffy. Add the vanilla, maple syrup, and lemon juice. Make sure the mixture is combined. You’ll likely need to use your rubber spatula and stir it together.

Once that is combined, incrementally add the confectioners sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.

*A hint – I grated a whisper of orange rind into this. My maple syrup wasn’t as robust as I wanted, so I grated some orange rind. Even with a robust maple flavor, you can’t go wrong with this.

Continue to blend that at a high speed until it’s like sinuous pancake batter. Thick.

Once it reaches that consistency, spoon the icing into a ziploc bag. Work it into a corner. Snip the edge of the corner on the diagonal and let the frosting go.

Spew it onto the rolls at your discretion.

Allow to sit briefly, then eat!

Trust me, these are evil. And thank you.


The Gentleman Caller


The Gentleman’s Sweet Roll Dough – for the softest pillow of a dinner roll you’ve ever had

Fluffy pillows of beautiful yeast dough.

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

I am in the minority here, but I am not a big bread eater. I know, I know, shut up, etcetera. I know some ladies very close to me who can mow down some french loaf like they’re going to the electric chair. I shan’t name names.

I have one exception. My Mawmaw used to make these insane yeast rolls when I was a kid. Despite her continually worsening Rheumatoid Arthritis, she made these rolls for every family gathering.

As I got older and took on the challenge myself, I realized that there was no way in hell she was following that recipe from the old Betty Crocker cookbook that this recipe supposedly came from. No possible way. To the laboratory!

I know she used butter flavor Crisco. Crisco, are you my sponsor yet? The bill is on the way. After a few years of meddling with it, this is the closest I have come. This asks for 1/2 cup of sugar; if you’re making a true sweet roll (like cinnamon), up that to 2/3 cup.

This is the basic recipe that makes delicious, buttery rolls, but there will be many more recipes to follow for which this is the base.

Diametrically opposed fat sources.

What you need:

  • 5 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2  teaspoons sugar
  • ½ cup water, at exactly 115 degrees
  • ½ cup lukewarm milk, scalded then cooled*
  • ½ cup sugar (yes, more, it makes more sense to write it this way)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup butter flavor Crisco
  • 1/3 cup good quality butter, softened
  • approximately 3 ½ cups all purpose flour**

*Put milk in a sauce pan. Whisk and gradually bring just to a boil. Turn heat off.

**Air moisture makes a difference; high humidity areas will require a touch more flour. 

Dissolve the yeast with the 2 tablespoons of sugar in 115 degree water. It will foam up.

Add scalded milk, remaining sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and butter.

In the bowl of a mixer, using the hook attachment, add 2 ½ cups of flour. Beat into a soft ball. Add remaining flour. Dough should be an easy to handle but slightly damp ball.

Flour a board, a piece of stone or other hard flat surface. Put the dough ball on the floured surface and knead, knead, knead until it’s elastic. You are going to have to put some muscle into it. It will take 5 minutes. Consider this your exercise.

Spray cooking spray in a decent size bowl. Hopefully your dough is a pretty, even ball. Put the ball into the greased bowl; cover with a towel and place in a warm location.

Allow the dough to rise to at least double – an hour and a half at least. Longer is better.  But you’ll know it’s ready when you can smash your thumb into it and the print remains.

Punch down the dough. Shape into desired shapes or sweet rolls. Allow to rise again, covered, at least half an hour. It should expand to about 2/3 of its original size.

For traditional rolls, brush with butter and salt the tops judiciously.

Bake in a 400 degree oven. Start checking at 10 minutes. You will likely need to rotate them in the oven. Bake till just brown – don’t overcook.

Here’s the printable PDF: The Gentleman’s Sweet Roll Dough

Now, butter one up and stuff your face!

Happy carb loading.


The Gentleman Caller