Andrea Charroin
Food Goddess
Cinnamon Rolls to Rival Cinnabon’s

We are on a roll!

One of my favorite treats for my family has always been cinnamon rolls. My husband started it, years ago, even before we were married. About once a month Westley and I would travel to visit my parents in Huntington Beach. I thought it was amazing that Westley would WANT to go to the local mall with me. What a great guy, right?

Hmm, well, I had a sad discovery. My dear sweet Westley was a CINNABON ADDICT. Yup. He could smell one of those blue-and-white mall shops from 20 miles away. Quietly, so as to not get caught, he would sit in a corner eating a massive dough concoction all to himself, washing it down with chocolate milk. I had to break him of this habit, so I formulated a plan. I would help Westley through his franchise addiction and create a cinnamon roll that would make him forget about mall and airport shops. With his not-so-reluctant help, many trials and errors, and a few pounds here and there, we developed this cinnamon roll.

If your favorite bakery/coffee shop cinnamon rolls suddenly improve, tell them thanks for reading anewscafe.com.

Printer-friendly recipe 

Andrea’s Cinnamon Rolls

For the Dough:

1 1/2 cup warm milk (75 to 85 degrees; if it’s too hot you will kill the yeast!)
1 tablespoon yeast
5 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick of butter, soft
2 eggs

For the filling:

Butter, room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon

For the frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, or to taste
5 cups powdered sugar

For the dough: In a large bowl (or the bowl to a standing mixer (KitchenAid) add the warm milk and yeast. Let sit for a few minutes. The yeast and milk should start to bubble and work their magic.

Add 2 cups of flour to the milk mixture. With the dough hook , mix on low. Continue mixing and add sugar, salt and butter. As the dough is combining, add another cup of flour and the eggs. Finally, add the remaining flour and mix for about 5 minutes or until the dough pulls away from the mixing bowl sides. Remove the dough hook and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap.

We are going to let our dough proof (rise) for about an hour and a half or until the dough has roughly doubled in volume. Find a nice warm place for this to happen. A good spot is on the counter over a running dish washer.

After the dough has proofed, place it on a floured work surface. Cut dough into two equal pieces. Cover the unused dough with damp towel or plastic wrap. Set aside.

Roll dough out to a nice rectangle shape, with the long side of the rectangle going from left to right. The dough should be no more than 1/4-inch thick. Spread a nice layer of the soft butter over the rolled out dough. Now spread half of the sugar cinnamon mixture over the butter. Don’t be stingy with the sugar and cinnamon. The entire surface should be covered with butter, cinnamon and sugar and your hands should be a mess! Working from the bottom, slowly roll up the dough. Cut cinnamon rolls into desired size. Place in a baking pan or on a sheet for individual rolls. Do the same thing for the other half of the dough.

You now have a few options. You can cover the rolls with plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator and bake them off in the morning. You can cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the freezer for use at a later date. Or you can just let them proof again and bake them. If you choose the overnight option, pull them out of the refrigerator and let them come to room temp and proof again before putting them in the oven. If you choose the freezer option, let them thaw and proof before sending them to the oven. If you choose to immediately bake them after you make them, just wait for them to proof again and you will be enjoying a nice gooey cinnamon roll very soon.

Bake the cinnamon rolls at 350 degrees for 15-25 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the cinnamon rolls you decided to cut. The cinnamon rolls are done when they are light golden brown on top and the butter/brown sugar/cinnamon mix is bubbling out of them.

Cream cheese frosting is just a delightful treat. I do not think that this frosting could be any easier to make. The key is to have your cream cheese and butter at room temperature before starting. Doing this will prevent the lumps that are so troublesome.

For the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 4-5 minutes with standing mixer or hand-held mixer.

Add vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure it mixes completely. I’d say about 5 more minutes on low and your frosting should be done.

Spread frosting generously on a warm cinnamon roll and enjoy!

Andrea Charroin was a trained baker and pastry chef in San Francisco before she, her husband Westley, and their two sons moved to Redding nine years ago. After falling in love with Redding’s downtown, Andrea and Westley opened a little pastry shop, Rene-Joule Patisserie, across from the Cascade Theatre. For the three years Rene-Joule was in business, it was renowned for making everything from scratch, using the best ingredients and keeping with a seasonal menu. To this day, Andrea is still asked about her Marathon Bars, Orange Twists and sourdough bread.

Copyright 2008 Andrea R. Charroin.

Note from Doni: This column is from our best-of archives. It originally appeared on anewscafe.com in February of 2008, back when the site was visited by a few thousand unique visitors a month. Now, nearly 60,000 unique visitors read anewscafe.com each month. These best-of columns allow the tens of thousands of new readers to enjoy some of our favorite stories, while they allow long-time readers an encore.


Andrea Charroin

Andrea Charroin is a trained baker and pastry chef. She worked in San Francisco before she, her husband, Westley, and their two sons moved to Redding. They fell in love with Redding’s downtown and opened a little pastry shop, Rene-Joule Patisserie.

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