Jan 262011

These cinnamon rolls are so good. They are definitely worth the time to put them together, considering that you can do most of the work the night before, and in the morning, you can just set them out for a half hour or so before you preheat the oven. I also really like the tang of the cream cheese frosting. It adds a richness that tempers the sweet to perfection, and the pecans and raisins are options that our household enjoys whenever I make them.

Of course I frequently start my breads with yeast that has been proofed with the water from a boiled potato, and not wanting to waste the potato that I boiled, I mash it and add it to the recipe. It seems to add extra tenderness to the rolls.

To simplify things, peel and cube a medium russet potato and boil, in enough water to cover, until tender, approximately 15 minutes. Drain  1/4 cup of the boiled potato water into a 1 cup measuring cup and let it cool to 110 degrees (I can keep my finger in it). Discard any extra water. Once cooled enough, add three teaspoons instant yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar to potato water and set it aside until it gets nice and foamy. In the same pot you boiled the potato, mash it up with a fork, adding in 1/2 cup room temperature butter and 1/2 cup of sugar. Mash and mix this together until it is smooth. Heat 1 cup of milk for 1 minute in the microwave on high, and add it to the mashed potato mixture, along with 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla. Beat 2 eggs with a fork (in the cup you warmed the milk–don’t want too many dishes) and add it to the pot. By now your yeast should be nice and foamy, so pour it into the pot, too. P1010089P1010090

In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups of unbleached bread flour, 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten (if you have it) and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. If you have a stand mixer, now is the time to use it. Otherwise, use your big wooden spoon. Pour your liquid potato mixture over the flour mixture and combine to make a soft dough. Change to a dough hook and stir in remaining 2 cups unbleached flour. Let dough hook work at a medium low speed for 6 –8 minutes, or, if you are doing it by hand, once combined turn out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for 8 – 10 minutes. Try not to add in any additional flour or your bread may become tough. This will be a soft dough. Place dough into an oiled bowl, turning to coat dough with oil, cover with plastic or a dish towel, and let rest for 15 minutes.


At this time I would like to explain a couple of things. Instant yeast does not have to be combined with a liquid to proof. It can be combined with the dry ingredients and then have warm liquids added to do its job, as in a bread machine. It does, however improve its efforts when it is combined with a liquid and a bit of sugar to give it a kick start. There are a couple of things that yeast doesn’t like. Milk enzymes and salt. That is why we heat the milk first; to decrease the enzyme action. And, we keep the salt away until the yeast has activated. Oh, and have I mentioned dollar store shower caps? For a buck you can get 15 clear plastic elasticized (disposable) shower caps to cover your mixing bowls and other containers for short term, like resting or rising bread. (-: Gently place your dough onto a lightly oiled surface and flatten and shape into an approximately 15” X 24” rectangle. If it doesn’t cooperate, let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes while you melt 1/2 cup of butter and mix in 1 cup,  packed, brown sugar, 5 tablespoons of a good ground cinnamon, and a teaspoon of ground cardamom for the filling. Gently finish shaping the dough.


Now, sprinkle and spread the brown sugar mixture, as evenly as you can, over the dough, using your fingers, the spatula, or the back of a spoon. If you want to add in nuts and raisins, now is the time. I like to scatter about 3/4 cup of each over the dough, then top with about a tablespoon of granulated sugar before I roll up the dough, forming a nice fat log. Tug or pull to keep things kind of even. Don’t worry about how it looks right now. Once it’s baked, no one will notice! P1010101P1010103

Okay, now you can cut it into 12 pieces, using a serrated knife, or…….dental floss!!! The floss makes a nice, clean cut. Slide an 18” piece under the log to the very center. Look at the picture of the log closely. Center top, you can see the floss, and center bottom, dangling off the table from under the roll. Cross these ends over each other on the top, and pull in opposite directions and you can get a clean cut. Repeat, and you get the job done fairly easily, once you get the hang of it. (-: P1010104P1010105

Cut into 2 equal pieces, then divide those pieces in half, and each half then into thirds and you will get 12 pieces. Butter a 9” X 13” baking pan and place the rolls in the pan, gently pressing them to level them. Lightly spray with non stick spray and cover with plastic wrap. At this point, you can place in the refrigerator to rise slowly overnight, or you can let rise for 45 minutes to an hour and bake.

In the morning, set out for a half hour to an hour to come to room temperature and raise a bit, then lightly spritz with water (it gives the bread an extra lift to rise)and bake at 365 degrees for 30 –35 minutes, to an internal temperature of 190-205 degrees on an instant read thermometer. My convection oven seems to bake bread at about the same rate as my oven in the bus, or even takes a bit longer. If it seems to be taking too long, use the combo-bake at 5 minute segments to reach the internal temperature.  Once done, set on a cooling rack, or your stove top, and mix your frosting up while you wait for them to cool (hah!) a bit, then slather frosting generously over and serve while warm. If you have any left, wrap in foil to reheat in the convection for 4 or 5 minutes, or cover with a paper towel and microwave on high, on a paper plate, one at a time, for 45-60 seconds.


As you can see, I got too impatient, and almost missed the photo op! Nick was already hanging over me, waiting eagerly for a fresh, hot roll.

Here are a couple of tools I use often. (-:


Shower caps, spray bottle, and pastry mat.  I tried to find a food-safe plastic spray bottle, but wasn’t sure, so I use fresh water each time I use it, never leaving water to sit in it. The plastic shower caps don’t touch the food and the pastry mat makes for really easy clean up! I’m all for that! I keep forgetting to get a picture of the instant read thermometer……sorry! )-:

I’m having a little problem with line spacing on the recipes, so please bear with me. I’ll get the hang of this sooner or later! 

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

1 medium russet potato, peeled, cubed, and boiled until soft, reserve ¼ C cooking water                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 1 C milk (heated approximately 1 minute in microwave)
¼ C reserved warm potato water (110 degrees F.)
1 T pure vanilla
½ C butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature, beaten
½ tsp salt
½ C plus 1 tsp granulated sugar
5 C unbleached bread flour
1 T vital wheat gluten
3 tsp instant yeast

½ C butter, melted  

1 C firmly-packed brown sugar                                                                                                                                                                                    5 T ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cardamom                                                                                                                                                                                               ¾ – 1 C chopped nuts (optional)                                                                                                                                                                                ¾ – 1 C raisins (optional)                                                                                                                                                                                              1 T granulated sugar

BUTTER FROSTING-  Cream together:
2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ C butter, melted and cooled 
1 C powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!


  1. It looked so good I was trying to take a bite out of my computer screen!!
    Cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite meals!! Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Oh my! It sounds like a lot of work, but we know from Nick’s comments that it is worth it! Thanks for the excellent presentation of the “how to.” I used to have a Kitchen Aid mixer, and I’d love to have one again, but honestly I really can’t justify it. We do have a good stand mixer with a pair of hooks, and I really don’t use that a lot.

    We’re going to want to try those rolls some day!


  3. Oh yeah! The secret is out. This is the perfect recipe. Just involved enough to only do them periodically, otherwise we would do them too often!

  4. Thank you, thank you, Miss Terry. These look terrific and I can’t wait to try them.

  5. Yours look so much yummier (is that a word?) than the ones I bought yesterday at a professional bakery!

  6. Tell Berni to buy me a Kitchenaid mixer and I’ll make some….Maybe even for your next visit so you can critique them 🙂

  7. The dentist I reccomended is Carlos D Rubio
    Clinica Intergral Rubio
    Calz Saratoga #188 (a large white building)

  8. Greg and I have had these cinnamon rolls, and they are incredible! They are big and puffy, and the joy continues as you unroll the pastry. Now you encounter the lucious buttery filling that is loaded with nuts, all the time making sure the sweet frosting makes it on each bite. Oh My!! Delicious…

  9. Hello Terry
    I was just looking thru your reciepe’s and saw the cinnamon rolls now you most defintly have my mouth watering for them. I have made them before but never used the potatoe and it has me inthraille to try it I have a bread machine so i use the vital wheat glutin all the time just seems to help the bread . Im most defintly gonna have to make a store run and get the ingredents and try this one!!!!!

  10. Hubby and I are planning to fulltime next year. Love my kitchenaid, wondered if I could really take it. Nice to know that we can, and know where to find recipes!

    Where do you store the mixer?

  11. Hello “Miss Terry” I was inspired to comment because of what Karen said about the kitchen Aid mixer! May I say to Karen — Ditto! Word for word, same comment! So funny to hear her say that! Well, except we may be able to hit the road a little sooner than next year. Hopefully this summer.

    So HAPPY to see the pic of your Kitchen Aid! Truth to tell, I was grieving about having to leave my mixer at home, but if you can fit your mixer on a teenie tiny RV kitchen counter, maybe I can to! Well, not all RV kitchens are created equal, so maybe not. Would most certainly have to ignore the inevitable whining from my husband about packing too much in the RV! I’ve already had to shed some really cool kitchen stuff. I might even stash (hide) my Vitamix in there somewhere for good measure – any suggestions? 🙂

    BTW, my “nick” name is Gypsy, but Nick’s got that one tied down – now what? Gypsy Rose? Oh, better not. Might get the wrong crowd visiting my blog! That would be the blog I don’t have (yet). But if we embark on such a life-changing road adventure, isn’t it worthy enough to be recorded on a regular basis? Not sure I can be that responsible. Really like your blog – plan to visit regularly. We have ALOT to learn – already flooded the bathroom with black water on one of our first trips! Not sure we are full timer material – but we’re sure having fun planning it!

  12. Popped over here to check out the recipe after Nick mentioned your cinnamon rolls in today’s journal . . . what wonderful, detailed instructions!! I’ll just have to check out some more of your recipes! Thanks!

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