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I keep plenty of cinnamon in my pantry; I find its uses endless, from baking, to drinks, to savory meat dishes. Since my favorite foods hail from North African and Indian cuisine, I would be lost without this spice. So, imagine my surprise when I learned that the cinnamon people use in some of those countries might not be the same “cinnamon” found in the typical United States grocery store. Some investigation was in order.
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
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A little background: Cinnamon has been a prized spice for centuries. It was highly valued in the ancient spice trade and the traders developed elaborate tales about its true origin to protect their profits. Despite these myths, we know cinnamon comes from the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree. The bark curls into quills as it dries, which can be cut and sold as pieces or ground into powder.
There are two varieties: Ceylon cinnamon, or true cinnamon, and cassia or Chinese cinnamon (what we generally see in the U.S.). In fact, in England and Australia it is illegal to sell cassia as “cinnamon”. The warm, sweet fragrances and flavors of both are similar; but Ceylon cinnamon has a lighter hue and a more delicate flavor with hints of citrus. It is grown in Sri Lanka (once known as Ceylon) and South America, while cassia is grown in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Central America. Cassia has a deeper, reddish hue, a more pungent, sweet, flavor, and the texture is a bit smoother when it is ground. One extremely potent type of cassia is Vietnamese or Saigon Cinnamon.
Saigon cinnamon: If you are not cooking it in a specific dish, sauce, drink, or baked good, you can simply sprinkle a little bit over yogurt, cereal or toast. For this purpose, I recommend looking for Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon in the store; its not much more expensive and I find the texture and flavor more appealing in its raw form. Spice Islands is one large manufacturer that produces Saigon cinnamon.
Cassia cinnamon: This is a great choice for savory dishes that may have other strong spices and flavors to complement and balance out the cinnamon. It is also great in baked goods when you want that punch of cinnamon, and is even a great addition to potpourri and holiday decorating. On the other hand, Ceylon cinnamon is good choice for recipes that don't have a lot of competing flavors that could overpower the spice. Think along the lines of dessert: custards, ice cream, baked fruits, syrups, and spiced tea or cocoa.
If a recipe calls for cinnamon, it will be fine to use whatever variety you may have on hand.
All this cinnamon talk has me craving some Indian curry, and I just remembered I have butternut squash in the pantry. I know what I’m having for dinner! For an easy and delicious meal that highlights the warmth and sweetness of cinnamon, check out our Moroccan Chicken Thighs recipe.
Secret Ingredient Cinnamon Roll Muffins
There’s a secret ingredient that makes these cinnamon roll muffins so moist and delicious. Can you guess what it is?
A sourdough starter makes these cinnamon roll muffins so moist and offers great favor.
I’m so excited for you to try them. They’re so good!
Have you jumped on the sourdough ban wagon?
I have a confession… I did and I LOVE sourdough! My beautiful sourdough starter is hanging out in my fridge right now. I’ve made over a dozen loaves of bread. It’s like magic in a jar.
These cinnamon roll muffins are really easy to make and bake up quickly. I got the idea when I had some leftover sourdough start discard I didn’t want to waste and I was getting ready to make these AMAZING 15-Minute Mini Cinnamon Muffins (which are a family favorite).
Add a little sourdough starter to it, I thought.
Let’s experiment, I thought.
I’m soooo glad I did and you will be too after you try these moist delicious muffins for yourself.
Secret Ingredient Cinnamon Rolls
You won’t believe the magic secret ingredient in these Cinnamon Rolls! Extra fluffy, light and gooey, the extra ingredient contributes to this roll’s heavenly texture. You won’t go back to regular cinnamon rolls after you try these!
Okay, okay – in my defense, I was skeptical about these cinnamon rolls. When I read the recipe for them, I was perplexed and maybe a little iffy on even tasting them. But once I sunk my teeth into their light and airy texture and tasted all of that aromatic cinnamon and the incredible browned butter icing, I fell in love.
I am converted, y’all, and it’s a glorious thing.
I know you’re dying to know the secret ingredient, and that would be mashed potatoes.
Yup, like the ones you serve with gravy on Thanksgiving day.
Regular ol’ mashed spuds are the magical ingredient to these extra fluffy cinnamon rolls, and your life will forever change when you take a bite just like mine did.
Now, because I am impatient and because baked potatoes and I have a long-standing rivalry, I confess: I bought prepared mashed potatoes at the grocery store. They’re usually in the prepared refrigerated foods section, often found lurking around rotisserie chickens and such in the deli. If you go this route: just make sure your potatoes aren’t seasoned! No one wants garlicky cinnamon rolls.
Otherwise, you can get all Suzy Homemaker and bake your own potato or two and mash it yourself. I know baked potatoes are actually very easy to make, but we’re old enemies and I just don’t even bother with them anymore. It’s a long story, and next time I’m drunk, I’ll tell you about it.
ANYWAY, I digress. But from this point forward, I am so making these rolls because the mashed potatoes seriously make the rolls extra tender. They taste just like regular cinnamon rolls, yes – but the texture is where it’s at.
So if you’re bored this weekend, grab the leftover potatoes from the fridge and get baking! You won’t be sorry.
*adapted from an old Better Homes & Gardens magazine
Famous Foodies Share Their Secret-Ingredient Recipes
"Thirty years ago, I ate an amazing beef dish that had some flavor I couldn’t quite place. It was elusive and licoricey, and it made the food taste extraordinary. I asked the chef, and he told me it was star anise. I’ve since added it to all kinds of beef dishes, and it always gets oohs and aahs.” 𠄽orie Greenspan, food writer and author of Dorie’s Cookies
Pineapple & Turmeric Margarita
Photography by Tara Donne
"I was actually doing a juice cleanse when I came up with this. Every morning started with a shot of pineapple-turmeric juice, and I wondered how the turmeric would work in a margarita. So once the cleanse was over, I gave it a try𠅏or work, of course!𠅊nd I fell in love with the subtle, earthy flavor.” –Marcela Valladolid, cohost of The Kitchen and author of Casa Marcela
Shrimp Stew with Allspice
Photography by: Tara Donne (stew) Peter Ardito (allspice inset)
"Most people don’t think of allspice for savory foods, but in New Orleans, many classic dishes call for a dash or two. It adds a subtle smokiness that pairs perfectly with this briny shrimp stew.” –John Besh, chef and co-owner of Restaurant August in New Orleans and author of Besh Big Easy
Curry & Cardamom Fried Chicken
Photography by: Tara Donne (chicken) Peter Ardito (spices inset)
"This all started from social media jealousy. A friend posted fried chicken on Instagram, which made me crave it. To make it my own, I used curry powder—since it’s a blend of spices, it’s a crazy flavor booster𠅊nd cardamom, because I add that to basically everything.” –Samin Nosrat, chef and author of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
Creamy Broccoli Soup with Herbes de Provence
Photography by Tara Donne
"My mom is a nurse, and our diet was very vegetable-heavy when I was growing up. She always bought too much broccoli, and a great way to use it up was to throw it into the blender and make soup. I do the same for my daughter, but to modernize it and give it a little herbaceousness, I add herbes de Provence.” –Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef and coauthor of The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs
Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Warm Cinnamon Dressing
Photography by Tara Donne
"I grew up in the Middle East, where cinnamon is used in both sweet and savory dishes, so it surprises me when people think of it only for dessert. Vietnamese cinnamon is floral, sweet and acidic and lends itself well to vegetable dishes, but you can use whatever you have on hand. It mellows the cabbagey scent of Brussels sprouts—great for people who think they don’t like them.” –Lior Lev Sercarz, chef and owner of La Boîte in New York and author of The Spice Companion
Vegan Chocolate Chip & Ancho Chile Cookies
Photography by Tara Donne
"There are so many chocolate chip cookie recipes out there—I wanted one that was a little more sophisticated. Dark chocolate and ancho chile go together like peanut butter and jelly!” –Sam Talbot, chef-owner of Pretty Southern in Brooklyn and author of 100% Real
Mom's Best Cinnamon Rolls - Secret Ingredient
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 1/2 hours (including rise time)
Start your morning out in the most fabulous way by treating yourself and your loved ones to this special morning delight that will surely live up to Its name.
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup mashed, cooked potato
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast set aside. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, mashed potato, the 1/3 cup butter, the granulated sugar, and salt just until warm (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F) and butter almost melts add to flour mixture along with the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total kneading time). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl turn once to grease surface of dough. Cover let rise in a warm place until double in size (45 to 60 minutes).
- Punch down dough. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan set aside.
- Roll dough into an 18合-inch rectangle. Spread the 1/4 cup butter over dough rectangle. Sprinkle filling over butter-spread dough rectangle, leaving 1 inch unfilled along one of the long sides. Roll up filled rectangle into a spiral, starting from the long side with the filling. Pinch dough to seal seams.
- Cut dough spiral into 12 equal pieces. Arrange pieces, cut sides down, in the prepared baking pan. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and place on the middle rack of your unheated oven place a bowl of warm water on the lower rack. Let rise until nearly double in size (about 30 minutes).
- Remove pan of rolls from oven uncover and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and done in center. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a small metal spatula, loosen rolls from pan. Place a wire rack on top of pan place one hand on top of rack and other hand under pan and carefully invert pan with rack (use pot holders to protect your hands). Lift pan off rolls. Drizzle or spread rolls with Icing. Serve warm.
For the mashed potato, prick a 10-ounce unpeeled potato all over with a fork. Microwave on 100% power (high) for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Halve potato and scoop pulp out of skin into a small bowl discard skin. Mash the potato pulp with a potato masher or an electric mixer on low speed. Measure 1 cup of mashed potatoes.
Prepare Potato Cinnamon Rolls as directed through Step 5, except do not let rise after shaping. Cover loosely with oiled waxed paper, then with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Before baking, let chilled rolls stand, covered, for 30 minutes at room temperature. Uncover and bake as directed.
Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Bean Buttercream
- Prep Time: 3 hours (includes rise time)
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
- Yield: 12 rolls 1 x
Soft and tender Cinnamon Rolls with Vanilla Bean Buttercream, with a secret ingredient that sets these cinnamon rolls apart from any other. These are the ultimate comfort food if you ask me. You’re going to love these!
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 pkg. active dry yeast ( 2¼ tsp .)
- 1 ½ sticks butter, softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 4 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream (or more depending on the consistency you like)
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- pinch of salt
- In a microwave safe bowl heat milk, oil, and brown sugar for 70 seconds. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer then whisk in yeast and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, add oats and hot water and mix until water is absorbed. Set aside.
- Add 2 cups flour and eggs to yeast mixture and whisk until combined. Using dough hook now add remaining 2 to 2 1/2 cups flour, softened oats, and salt. Mix on low until incorporated, then increase speed to medium and mix until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 7 minutes.
- Transfer dough to a bowl coated with nonstick spray, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours punch down dough.
- Combine butter, brown sugar, cinnamon.
- Coat a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter. Transfer dough to a floured surface and gently press to remove air bubbles. Divide dough in half and roll one piece into a 10×16-inch rectangle.
- Spread half the filling over dough, leaving a ½-inch border. Starting at the short end, roll dough, jelly roll-style, into a log. Repeat filling and rolling with second dough half. Place logs on a cookie sheet or platter and freeze 10 minutes to firm.
- Slice each log into six rolls and place in prepared pan. Cover rolls with a towel and let rise until puffy, about 1 hour.
- Bake at 375° until brown, 30–35 minutes. Let rolls cool slighlty then frost with vanilla bean buttercream.
- Beat butter until smooth, then add powdered sugar, cream, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Mix until smooth and well combined.
Did you make this recipe?
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Recipe Source: Adapted from Cuisine at Home October 2012 Issue
Made these for a family brunch and everyone went crazy for them. I love the vanilla bean- something about those little brown flecks! I’ve only made cinnamon rolls one other time and so I was nervous but they turned out SO good. Thanks for the yummy recipe.
Thanks Kami! So glad you made these and loved them! I wish I had one in front of me right now! Happy New Year! We sure miss you guys!
These look so goooooooood ❤️!!
Can I use instant yeast instead of old fashioned oats??can I use a blender to mix the wet ingredients&oat mixture together to make sure that the mixture is lump-free then knead by hand?
Thanks in advance!
I’m sorry..I mean instant oats not yeast
Hi Nada, I have only made this recipe using old fashioned oats so I couldn’t tell you how they will turn out using instant oats. I know using the two different oats in cookies will slightly change the texture and chewiness of a cookie, so it may do the same for these cinnamon rolls. As for mixing the ingredients in a blender, I’m sure that would work. Are you planning on making these without a mixer? If you are using a mixer, there really is no need to use a blender because by the time the dough it mixed completely, the oats are mixed in and the dough is lump free.
I’ve just made it in a blender and the mixture seemed to be smooth in the blender but when I mixed it with the flour it felt like the dough has small chunks in it even after continuous kneading for 15 minutes by hand ??is that normal??
The dough for these cinnamon rolls is fairly smooth, other than a few, small bits of oatmeal. Because you made these differently than the instructions, I’m not sure what to tell you why your dough had small chunks in it. So sorry. I hope they still turned out and tasted delicious.
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Hi! I'm Jodi, welcome to 5 Boys Baker where I share my love of chocolate & sweets and everything in between.
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Hi! I’m Jodi, a mom of five boys and lover of chocolate, sweets and everything in-between. Here you’ll find simple, delicious recipes that are all tried and true.
Potatoes make a good addition to cinnamon rolls
The Domestic Rebel, who swears by her potato-inclusive cinnamon roll recipe, promises an "extra soft, tender and fluffy" result, and says "the mashed potatoes seriously make the rolls extra tender. They taste just like regular cinnamon rolls, yes — but the texture is where it's at."
You'll need a cup of unseasoned, cooked, and peeled potato to add to your cinnamon roll dough the recipe calls for you to heat the mashed potato with milk and butter, then incorporate and add the flour before kneading the dough until it is soft and elastic. Even supermarket-made mashed potatoes will work.
But adding mashed potato to your dough isn't as simple as it sounds. Stack Exchange warns against modifying a non-potato recipe, because tubers have different amounts of starch and water, so you could end up with a culinary fail if recipes aren't kitchen-tested first. Your best bet will be to use a recipe for a bead, bun, or pastry that already has potato incorporated into it.
Welcome! You just found recipes for all your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV Host Todd Wilbur shows you how to easily duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home for less money than eating out. Todd’s recipes are easy to follow and fun to make! Find your favorite copycat recipes from Cinnabon here. New recipes added every week.
- American Coney Island
- Auntie Anne's
- Bahama Breeze
- Baja Fresh
- Barney's Beanery
- Big Boy
- BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse
- Bob Evans
- Bonefish Grill
- Boston Market
- Buca di Beppo
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- Burger King
- California Pizza Kitchen
- Capital Grille
- Carl's Jr.
- Carnegie Deli
- Cheeseburger in Paradise
- Cheesecake Factory
- Church's Chicken
- Claim Jumper
- Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
- Cosmic Wings
- Cracker Barrel
- Dairy Queen
- Del Taco
- Dunkin' Donuts
- Einstein Bros. Bagels
- El Pollo Loco
When The Dr. Oz show asked me to make a tasty low-fat, low-cal version of Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls, I wasn't sure it was possible. By reducing fat and calories in these awesome cinnamon rolls I was afraid we would lose too much of the familiar Cinnabon flavor we love. But I believe I found a good balance. See what you think.
For this recipe, you’ll need a 9x13-inch pan and a 9x9-inch pan for baking these rolls, plus parchment paper to line the pans. Cinnabon uses Indonesian Korintje cinnamon (they call it “Makara”). Find that cinnamon if you want the best clone, but any cinnamon will still make great rolls. To keep the cinnamon from oozing out of the rolls a natural stabilizer such as xantham gum (or guar gum) works best, but you can also use cornstarch. You can find xantham gum at specialty stores such as Whole Foods. You’ll also need a ruler or yard stick to measure and mark the rolls for slicing, and a serrated knife, such as a bread knife, to slice them. The baked rolls can be frozen for several weeks and reheated in your microwave before serving.
880 calories 450 calories
36g fat 12g fat
I made several discoveries on episode 2 of my CMT Show "Top Secret Recipe" that helped me improve significantly on the recipe for my first clone of Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls that I first hacked many years ago in my book "More Top Secret Recipes". After interviewing the creator of the Cinnabon roll, Jerilyn Brusseau (aka "Cinnamom"), at her home in Seattle and visiting Cinnabon headquarters in Atlanta, I was able to sleuth out some important clues that make this recipe the closest formula you'll find. I learned about the unique gooey properties of a specific cinnamon found in Indonesia called Korintje cinnamon, which Cinnabon calls "Makara") and how to give the rolls their signature golden color (buttermilk and baking soda). I also discovered that the dough must rise in your refrigerator for at least 5 hours and that adding some xanthan gum to the filling will keep the filling from leaking down into the pan as the rolls bake.
Cinnabon master chefs allowed me to step into the development kitchen at Cinnabon headquarters for an up-close demonstration of the rolling and slicing techniques, so the instructions I have laid out for here come straight from the inside, and will give you beautiful rolls that look and taste just like those you get at the mall. In fact, if you follow these instructions carefully being sure to weigh the ingredients rather than measuring by volume, everyone will be shocked that the delicious finished product came out of your very own kitchen.
In a blender, Cinnabon adds concentrated flavoring, some ice and a curious secret ingredient referred to only as a "dairy product." When blended smooth, out comes these thick, refreshing drinks that look and taste like they were made with ice cream. For this clone we just need a little half-and-half that's half cream and half milk for those of you across the pond. It gives this version the exact same creamy consistency as the original with its custom "dairy" ingredient. Strawberry is the most popular of the flavors, but the other two are tasty as well. The Mochalatta version uses the TSR clone of the Mochalatta Chill and produces a thicker blended version of the drink, similar to Starbucks popular blended Frappuccino.
Cinnabon gives lemonade a twist by adding strawberry syrup. Its a simple clone when you pick up some Hershey's strawberry syrup near the chocolate syrup in your supermarket, and a few juicy lemons. But if it's a caffeine buzz you're looking for, you'll want the Mochalatta Chill hack. Brew some double-strength coffee (see Tidbits), let it cool, then get out the half-and-half and chocolate syrup. Man, these are easy.
Cinnabon product development guys were looking for a new baked cinnamon product that customers could eat on the go while carrying bags and scurrying about. In June of 2000, they found it. Bakers brushed Danish dough with a flavored cinnamon butter, then rolled the dough in a generous cinnamon/sugar coating. These golden brown little sticks of cinnamony delight are sold in bags of 5 or 10 from the company's famous cinnamon roll outlets, most likely found in a mall or airport near you. Now you can create your own version of the tasty pastries at home, and you won't even have to make the dough from scratch. Just grab yourself a tube of Pillsbury crescents and all you have to do is roll up the dough and coat it.
Update 3/21/17: These will puff up quite a bit when they bake, so be sure to stretch them long and thin when twisting. For a great cream cheese icing use the recipe here in our Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls hack.
In early 1985, restaurateur Rich Komen felt there was a specialty niche in convenience-food service just waiting to be filled. His idea was to create an efficient outlet that could serve freshly made cinnamon rolls in shopping malls throughout the country. It took nine months for Komen and his staff to develop a cinnamon roll recipe he knew customers would consider the "freshest, gooiest, and most mouthwatering cinnamon roll ever tasted." The concept was tested for the first time in Seattle's Sea-Tac mall later that year, with workers mixing, proofing, rolling, and baking the rolls in full view of customers. Now, more than 626 outlets later, Cinnabon has become the fastest-growing cinnamon roll bakery in the world.
How sinfully delicious are these cinnamon rolls? Their intoxicating aroma wafts through shopping malls and airports all over America, and at one time or another you've probably been a victim of that irresistible and gooey, doughy spiral of delight. But what if you could still get that marvelous Cinnabon taste with better than an 80 percent reduction in fat? Not possible, you say? Get out the rolling pin and prepare for an amazing reduced-fat conversion of American's favorite mall food.
Serving size–1 roll
Calories per serving–370 (Original–730)
Fat per serving–4g (Original–24g)
How to roll out bread machine cinnamon rolls:After the dough has risen, remove from the bread pan, punch down gently and divide dough in half. On a generously floured surface, roll each half into a rectangle size. Spread each rectangle with approximately 2 tablespoons of softened or melted butter, then the filling, then chopped nuts, if using. Roll up the dough the long way. Slice into 8 equal pieces. Place cut side down in greased 8 or 9-inch pan or glass dish.
Best eaten the day they are baked. However, they can be frozen and are pretty tasty when zapped very briefly in the microwave and eaten immediately.
+13 More To-Die-For Cakes With Pudding In The Mix
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