Been living out of the same small overnight bag for the past couple of weeks–which isn’t actually a complaint because I’ve really been enjoying my time in the sky. However, this has meant an empty fridge, and no downtime to relax in my kitchen.

So with #Nemo’s visit this weekend, I decided it was a good time to “hunker down” (this trite saying makes me laugh every time I hear them say it on NY1) and get my hands dirty in my lil’ cook shop. I enjoyed a morning cup of coffee, finished a short book, and decided to experiment with my first packet of yeast. ;) I could have done bread, or even fried up some doughnuts, but I wanted to do something a little more indulgent. Snow days have a funny way of doing that to us.


Inspired by one of the very first The Best Thing I Ever Ate episodes, I’ve always dreamed about visiting Chicago for Ann Sather’s famous cinnamon rolls. Big dreams–I know. :) So since my recent travels had me in LA and Miami but no where near the midwest–I thought, why not try these out for myself. Hoping to get out there in the near future and see how far off, but for this weekend, I think these will do just fine.





Makes about 12 rolls or 24 mini rolls

Adapted from Ann Sather’s original recipe

  • 1 envelope (¼ ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1 cup milk, scalded, cooled
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 ½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon orange zest


Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

Makes about ½ cup

  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk, plus additional as needed


  1. In a large bowl, stir the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar into the warm water and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in milk, melted butter, 1/3 cup sugar, salt and 1 cup flour. Beat with a spoon or an electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Gradually stir in 11/2 cups flour, keeping the dough smooth. If the dough is still moist, stir in 1 tablespoon flour at a time to make a soft dough. Cover with a dry cloth and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Divide the raised dough in half. On a lightly oiled board, roll out (with a lightly floured rolling pin) and stretch 1 piece of dough to make a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Spread 2 tablespoons of the soft butter over the top of the dough. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Beginning on the long side, roll up tightly, jelly-roll fashion. Repeat with remaining dough.
  4. Cut the dough into 2-inch slices. Place on greased and floured baking sheets. Let the dough rise (in a warm place) until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
  5. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool and set for 5 minutes.
  6. For the icing, combine sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing is loose enough to drizzle.
  7. Best served warm….with a sugar glaze.


With flour covering every inch of my kitchen, I felt happy and accomplished. My second cup of coffee was even more enjoyable after all the mixing and rolling and patiently waiting that went on in my kitchen. Now on to cleaning and prepping for my next project: meatballs. :) I’m a crazy one when it comes to QT in the kitchen–but if I’m “snowed in” you best believe I’m going to make the most of it.

Who’s coming over next weekend?