McMan's Sinful Cinnamon Rolls

John McManamy Health Guide
  • Airport security is located in the wrong places. We don’t need protection from little old ladies with explosives hidden in their orthopedic shoes. If the name of the game is getting to our destination alive, then how about placing impenetrable security barriers between us and those ubiquitous Cinnabon stands? According to the June 1996 Nutrition Action, one cinnabon contains an astonishing 34 grams of fat, 14 of them saturated or trans. That’s the equivalent, they say, of a Big Mac plus a hot fudge sundae. Oh yes, and 670 calories.

    So how can the Cinnabon people possibly make a biohazard out of what is essentially flour and water? I’ve been told on good authority that first they tried adding stolen plutonium, but then some evil genius figured out they could create the same effect with obscene quantities of margarine and cream cheese and sugar. The beauty of this diabolical scheme is all these ingredients are legal.
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    I whip up quick batches of cinnamon buns out of leftover bread dough or pizza dough. One taste and you will think you have sinned, but you won’t have to worry about squaring your accounts with St. Peter anytime soon.

    McMan’s Sinful Cinnamon Rolls

    Dissolve a packet of dry yeast and a teaspoon of sugar into a cup and a quarter of warm water (about 100 degrees F).

    Mix together two cups each all purpose flour and bread flour (you can experiment with the ratios to suit your taste). Add a bit of salt and a quarter cup of canola oil. By now the yeast mixture should be starting to foam. Add this to the flour and stir with a wooden spoon till you have a reasonably coherent mass of sticky gloop.

    Turn out the gloop onto a floured surface and start kneading, folding over and rotating for about five minutes, incorporating flour from the surface, until you have a slightly springy ball of flubber. Pour a tiny amount of oil into a mixing bowl, then drop in the flubber, creased side up, and flip over to make sure the entire surface is coated. The creased side should stay down. Cover the bowl with Glad Wrap and a dish towel and set aside for an hour or slightly more in a draft-free place.

    You have two options when your flubber doubles in size. You can punch down the dough for a second rise (30 to 45 minutes), or you can get cracking immediately. Either way, after one rise or two, plop down the dough on a floured surface and cut in half. Save one half for a pizza or bread or another batch of buns (the dough will keep in the fridge tightly sealed a day or two).

    Roll out the other half of your dough with a rolling pin until you have a ¼ inch-thick rectangle approximating the dimensions of a sheet of paper, perhaps a bit larger. Now comes the butter or margarine stage. This is where the Cinnabon people play fast and loose with your life. We only need enough to spread on the dough. You don’t have to be stingy, but let’s not get ridiculous, either. Less than a quarter cup is more than enough. Go with light butter or yogurt-based margarine. That way you’re getting no transfats and only one or two grams of sat fat per tablespoon.

  • On top of this sprinkle some white or brown sugar. There’s no avoiding the sugar, here, but you’re entitled to the occasional indulgence. Just go easy. Now pour on the cinnamon. You can never get enough of this stuff. Have a walk on the wild side. You may want to sprinkle on a small packet of raisins, but this is optional.
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    Roll your dough jelly roll-style from one long side to the other, then pinch the seam. You should have something resembling a log. Slice the log into about eight or nine rolls (the slices should be about an inch and a half apart). Place the rolls on a non-stick baking pan about an inch apart. Cover and let expand for about 30 minutes, then bake for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees, until light brown.

    After five minutes, the smell of baking cinnamon will have the neighbors at your door pleading for a taste. Hold out for a deal that involves never having to drive your kids to soccer practice. In the meantime, add equal amounts of light butter/yogurt margarine with no-fat cream cheese, toss in some Splenda and a bit of vanilla, and mix together with a fork or hand mixer. Spread this icing over the top of the rolls when they come out of the oven. The warmed up icing should drizzle down into the cracks.


    Since I’m nearly always making pizza with half my dough, my dough recipe is fairly basic. But you can go hog wild if you devote the entire dough to cinnamon rolls. Many recipes call for an egg or two in the dough mixture. You can safely substitute Egg Beaters or another equivalent. Some skim milk (in place of the water), vanilla flavoring and a sugar substitute is also an option. Basically, between the eggs, milk, vanilla and sweetening, we’re talking vanilla pudding. I never went the pudding route, but I once poured an 8-oz bottle of butter pecan Ensure into the mixture (in place of the water) for a sweet and creamy-tasting dough. That way, I actually got some nutrients in my dessert. Do try this at home.

    Read more of McMan's delicous and mental-health-conscious recipes.

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Published On: May 03, 2006