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Brown Sugar Cinnamon Rolls

April 15, 2020


One blustery, moody sunshine-y April morning, it felt just right to mix some dough together, let it rise, and then lightly get my hands into it, getting it ready to be rolled out. Once the dough was rolled out in a large rectangle, and having realized I didn’t have enough cinnamon for the original recipe’s filling, I searched for a filling idea with brown sugar. Finding the right combination, the sweetness of the brown sugar and cinnamon that I covered the dough with raised my hopes for a warm cinnamon roll and cup of tea, to be savored later in the day.


Dough (adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks)


2 cups of whole milk

1 cup vegetable oil

½ cup sugar

1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast

4 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

½ heaping teaspoon baking powder

½ scant teaspoon of baking soda

½ tablespoon salt

  1. For the dough, heat and stir together the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat; keep it from boiling. Remove from the heat and let it sit out till lukewarm.


  1. Sprinkle the yeast on top, letting it sit on the milk for 1 minute.


  1. Add 4 cups of flour into a large bowl and then add in the liquid-yeast mixture. Stir until just combined, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour; it will spend this rising and doubling in size.


  1. Remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining ½ cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away. (You can place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The dough will rise during this time, so punch it down when it rises to the top.)


  1. To assemble the rolls, remove the dough from the pan. On a floured baking surface, roll into a large rectangle… not too thin and not too thick.


  1. Spread melted butter all over the rectangle and then sprinkle the sugar mixture on top of the butter, so that it covers the surface. (If you want more butter and more sugar mixture, go ahead and do it!)


  1. Starting on the long side, roll the rectangle tightly toward its other side. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Pinch the seams together.


  1. On a cutting board, with a sharp knife, make 1½-inch slices.


  1. Melt a little more butter and pour all over the bottom of your chosen baking dish (I use a 13×9 baking dish).


  1. Place the sliced rolls in the baking dish; try not to overcrowd them (I always seem to do this, and they turn out okay).


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Cover the baking dish with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake in the oven for 13-17 minutes (pay attention, it may need more baking time; but, don’t let them get overly brown). Use a toothpick to make certain they are thoroughly baked inside.


  1. Once the rolls are out of the oven and are still warm (not too hot), drizzle icing over the top… as much you want and all over!

The Filling (adapted from Ambition Kitchen)


2/3 cup dark brown sugar

1½ tablespoons of ground cinnamon

½ cup unsalted butter, melted (or more if you want!)


Mix together the brown sugar and the cinnamon in a bowl and set aside for step 6.


The Icing (adapted from

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 to 4 tablespoons milk or half-and-half


In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients until smooth, adding enough milk for desire glaze consistency.


The featured image is courtesy of Leslie Bustard and used with her gracious permission for Cultivating and The Cultivating Project.


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