Homemade Cinnamon Rolls Are the Dessert Worth Waiting For

The proof is in the "proof."

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Photo by: Michelle Baricevic

Michelle Baricevic

There’s nothing better than digging into — and peeling back — the sticky layers of a cinnamon roll. From their flakey outer shell to their gooey cinnamon-sugar filling, I just can’t resist eating them whenever I’m craving something doughy. Though I love a warm cinnamon roll, the closest I’ve ever come to a freshly baked one has been at the Cinnabon kiosk at my local shopping mall. And with my mall closed for the foreseeable future, I’ve had to put my cinnamon roll habit on hold recently — until last weekend when I decided to make them for myself.

Though the process was pretty involved, I was surprised to find that making cinnamon rolls from scratch wasn’t difficult at all; in fact, forming the dough for them was actually super easy. All you need to do is add your ingredients, including rapid-rise yeast, into a bowl and mix them together with a hand mixer — or stand mixer if you have one — until a small ball forms. After letting it sit undisturbed for about 10 minutes, you then roll your dough ball out onto a floured surface with a rolling pin, cover it with a delicious mixture of ground cinnamon and superfine sugar, roll it up into a tight log and cut it into individually shaped rolls. (We used a piece of sewing string to do this since we didn’t have unflavored dental floss on hand, a hack I’ve seen chefs use to ensure even, precise cuts.)

Photo by: Michelle Baricevic

Michelle Baricevic

Next came the most important, and probably the most challenging, part of the entire process: the proofing. I say challenging because it involves a lot of patience — about an hour of it to be exact. I’ll be the first to admit that patience isn’t one of my strong suits; though I love baking, I’m the type of baker who's constantly opening up the oven door or who's pacing endlessly in front of the stove. Suffice to say, I kept checking the timer on my phone during this part of the process. But as time-consuming at it was, it was also necessary because that’s how the rolls achieve their light and fluffy texture.

Thankfully, my proof was just right and after another hour of baking in the oven, my cinnamon rolls were finally done. After covering half of them in a blanket of icing, my mom and I dug in and oh boy, were they delicious. From their soft coiled layers to their ultra-fragrant cinnamon flavor, they tasted even better than the store-bought varieties I had sworn by for years.

Photo by: Michelle Baricevic

Michelle Baricevic

After devouring a second roll in mere minutes, I realized I probably wouldn’t have ever attempted to make them before quarantine. But since staying at home leaves room for lots of baking, I’m quickly seeing that anything — from cinnamon rolls to souffle — is possible so long as you give it a little bit of time and patience.

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