Cinnamon Rolls.

Cinnamon Roll Close up

I make really good Cinnamon Rolls, so I am told. And, I am told, I don’t make them often enough. All these years I thought the recipe was here on the site. I would get asked for the recipe and would gladly email it to whomever asked. So, tonight as I was rolling up the cinnamony, sugary, buttery goodness, I was thinking that I need to update the recipe. Notice I said update, not change. I went to the website and could not find the recipe. There must be a mistake. I did a search for cinnamon and every recipe that has cinnamon in it popped up. No Cinnamon Rolls.

All I can think of is when I moved to this domain five years ago, a  few things got lost in the move. You know how that is. You move tons of stuff and after you unpack, the water buffalo sandals that saw you through your best of hippie days, went missing. Never to be found. All people helping to move swore under oath they did not see them. It happens. Stuff gets lost.

Here is the recipe. My update was to the instructions.  I now make these in my stand mixer and do not knead them by hand. Thus, the flour amount is a straight forward measurement. No more of the “keep adding until the dough feels right”. I also added a little somethin’ somethin’. It is entirely optional. I added just a little powdered milk to the flour mixture. I found it made the dough just a bit stickier and the final rolls just a bit softer. Again, you do not have to add it. But, if you have it on hand, put a little in!

Gravy Girl Cinnamon Rolls

1/2 cup very warm water, check it on your wrist it should feel warmer than your wrist

2 packages of yeast

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

2 large eggs at room temperature, beaten

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup powdered milk (entirely optional, if I have it, I toss it in)

1/4 cup very soft shortening, butter, or margarine

6 cups unbleached all purpose flour

2 teaspoons table salt (not kosher salt)

Sprinkle the yeast into the 1/2 cup of warm water. Set aside. When you are ready to use it, it should have a foamy head on it. That means the yeast is alive. If you end up with just tan water, the yeast is no longer alive and you need to run to the store and get some new yeast.

In a separate large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, the very optional powdered milk, and salt with a whisk. Set aside.

In the stand mixer bowl, with the paddle attachment on, put in the 1 1/2 cups of warm water, beaten eggs, and the shortening and give it a little mix. Turn the mixer off and add the flour mixture about a cup at at a time and give it a little mix. After about half of the flour mixture has been added replace the paddle with the dough hook and add the rest of the flour. When all the flour has been incorporated start your knead time for five minutes. You can then set the speed about medium or medium low.

At the end of the knead time, the dough should be kind of gooey and has pretty much left the sides of the bowl. It will come of the hook quite easily. Dump the mixture into a large greased bowl and form into a tidy ball of dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise until it has doubled in size. This can take a couple of hours. More if the house is not real warm. After it has doubled in size, lift up the plastic wrap and poke and press the dough to get the air out. Form it into a ball and put the plastic wrap back on. Let it rise again until it has doubled in size. It will not take as long as the first rise.

To make the rolls you will need the following for the filling:

2 sticks of very soft butter or margarine (you may use more or less)

2 cups of granulated sugar (you may use more or less)

Cinnamon to taste (I sprinkle until it looks like the sugar is covered)

After the second rise, poke and press the dough to get the air out and divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a rectangle about 24 inches long and about 1/2 inch, or a little less, thick. Spread the softened butter on each rectangle, sprinkle the sugar, then sprinkle the cinnamon.

Roll, starting with the long side and then cut into 24 (1 inch) rolls. Place in a well greased jelly roll pan, a well greased muffin tin, or in well greased cake pans. Space the rolls about an inch apart. Let them rise about 45 minutes and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes until they are a nice golden brown.

While they are warm right out of the oven, frost with your favorite frosting.  Here is my favorite frosting. Rolls can be individually frozen in zip sandwich bags.

Buttercream Frosting for Anything      Garage Sale 005

2 pound bag of powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 sticks of softened butter (if using unsalted, add two pinches of salt)

7 tablespoons room temperature water


In the mixer bowl, cream together the butter and vanilla and the first tablespoon of water, using the paddle attachment, low to medium low speed.

Now, alternate between the powdered sugar and the water, adding about a cup of powdered sugar and one tablespoon of water at a time. Incorporate each addition. After all the sugar and water have been added, set the mixer on medium high and mix for about four minutes. The frosting should be nice and fluffy.

This will make enough frosting for a two layer cake. The frosting can be put into a plastic zip bag and frozen for another use.  This is really good on graham crackers and sugar cookies,

Note: for a stiffer frosting for piping, add additional powdered sugar to the desired consistency


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Peanut Butter Cookies…the bakeoff!


It was the Saturday before Christmas and all through the kitchen.

The oven mitts were thrown down and the challenge was kickin’.

His was without flour and hers had a lot.

Hers had extra sugar and his did not.

They measured and stirred and scooped up a storm.

By the end of the evening dozens of cookies were born.

They were photographed and tasted and the kitchen was messed.

The engineer or the baker? Whose were the best?

When push came to shove they came to a decision:

They were both super good and that was their mission.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, recipe by Claire Robinson 2010, Food Network

1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg, lightly beaten

coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the racks in the upper and lower third of the oven. In a medium mixing bowl, mix the peanut butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg until well combined. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the mixture 1 inch apart onto an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten the mounds with the tines of a fork, making a crosshatch pattern on the cookies. Sprinkle the coarse sea salt on the top of the cookies.


Bake until golden around the edges, about 10 minutes, switching the position of the sheets halfway through baking. Transfer to racks to cool. Repeat with remaining dough. Makes about 30 cookies.

 Papa’s Peanut Butter Cookies

Cream the following in a large mixing bowl:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup peanut butter, either smooth or crunchy

1 cup Crisco Butter Flavor shortening, at room temperature

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons hot water

Sift the following together in another large bowl:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture, stir to mix well. Using the small scoop (1 tablespoon size), scoop into mounds about 2 inches apart and press with the tines of a fork dipped in flour in a crosshatch pattern. (because it was holiday time, I sprinkled a little sugar on each cookie before baking) Bake 9-10 minutes. Let them sit about two or three minutes, after removing from the oven, before transferring them to the cooling rack. They are kind of soft when they are right out of the oven, letting them sit for a bit helps them keep their shape.  Makes about 5 dozen cookies.


Optional: add a 12 ounce package of chocolate chips….that’s what Papa did.


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Potato Pancakes…leftover magic!


I had mashed potatoes left over from Thanksgiving. After feeding eleven people and sending leftovers home with the folks, I still had lots of potatoes left. When life gives you mashed potatoes, make potato pancakes!

These are not the crunchy, golden latkes I happen to adore. Those are made with shredded potatoes and sauteed in a skillet until they are crunchy and yummy. These are a soft, truly pancake-like potato pancake.  Kinda like the Midwest cousin of the latke.

I served them with a cheese and ham omelet. A perfect Sunday hot breakfast.

Soft Potato Pancakes

4 cups of mashed potatoes, leftover mashed potatoes are the best

1 large egg

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

2 scallions, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium mixing bowl, using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer, mix all of the ingredients until smooth. If it is too runny to scoop out into a soft mound, then add a little more flour a teaspoon at a time.


Use a scoop to drop mounds onto a well oiled griddle or skillet. I kept a cup with oil in it to brush on the skillet before each round of pancakes.


On medium heat, cook until one side browns, then flip over and give it a little smash to make a pancake shape. Cook until that side is golden brown. You may want to flip again and just cook the first side a little more to brown up the smashed side. It will take about 3-5 minutes on each side. Makes about 6-8 servings.



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