What People Want Most in a Sweet Roll and How to Make Them

cinnamon bunsThe Customer’s Secret

“Looks like a party,” one of our associates in the store said. (I don’t remember which one.) She was buying a bunch of raised, glazed donut mixes.

“I’m making cinnamon buns.  These make the best cinnamon buns in the world,” she replied.

The light went on.  Raised, glazed donuts–the kind you make with yeast–are the lightest, fluffiest concoctions in the world. Could we make really fluffy cinnamon rolls with them?

We headed to the test kitchen.  It wasn’t long before we had a mix for super-duper cinnamon buns made from our donut mix.  We called them “donut cinnamon rolls.”  (Clever name, huh?) They’re shown in the billboard image at the top.

The SurveySweet Rolls 2

We did a survey as we were developing this mix, “What do people want most in a cinnamon bun?” We gave people samples and asked them what they thought. This is what we found:

  1. People love soft, fluffy, pillowy sweet rolls, fresh from the oven.
  2. They like plenty of frosting–thick fudgy-type frosting, not a thin glaze.
  3. They want plenty of filling—lots of filling between thin layers of rolls.
  4. They like lots of flavor.  If it’s a cinnamon roll, they want lots of good quality cinnamon.  If it’s a maple or orange roll, they want lots of maple or orange flavor.

Techniques for the best rolls

How do you make the cinnamon buns that people really want? Well, this is what we did and recommend you do also.

  • We are careful to let the rolls rise until they have all their volume, a very soft dough.
  • We increased the quantity of the frosting and the fillings by 15 to 20%.  It’s hard to have too much.
  • We rolled the dough out until it is 1/4 to 3/8-inch thick.  We know that makes the dough a little tougher and not as fluffy as rolls rolled to 1/2-inch thick.  But people don’t care; they want lots of filling between thin layers of bread.
  • We tried applying the butter and sugar filling in three ways: cutting the butter into the cinnamon sugar with a pastry knife, creating a slurry with melted butter and sugar and spreading the slurry on the dough, and brushing the dough with melted butter and then the cinnamon and sugar.  We liked the last.  We heated the butter in the microwave until just melted and then spread it edge to edge on the rolled out dough.  We sprinkled the cinnamon sugar over the melted butter and used the pastry brush to make sure that it was evenly distributed.  This provided the best distribution of filling between the layers with less melting out to the bottom of the pan.

Try these techniques.  We think you will have the best sweet rolls ever.Sweet Rolls 3

Making the perfect rolls from a mix . . .

For the lightest and fluffiest cinnamon rolls, we recommend our Donut Cinnamon Roll Mix.

If you would like to make more traditional rolls, consider our Cinnamon Rolls with White Fondant Frosting, Orange Blossom Rolls, and Maple Nut Rolls.

Guidelines for making sweet rolls from scratch . . .

Choose a recipe that makes light, soft bread. If you would like one of our mixes, try “Buttermilk White Bread.” To make your rolls light and fluffy, you need to start with a recipe with a lot of rise.

I rarely follow a recipe. It’s a technique, and more filling is better than less, but here’s a recipe with lots of filling that you can start from.

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
  • Nuts (optional)
  • Raisins (optional)
  1. Mix the first three ingredients together.
  2. Heat about 1/2 cup butter until just melted. Let it cool until it is no more than 120 degrees.
  3. Roll the dough about 1/4-inch thick. Brush the butter over the entire surface.
  4. Sprinkle the sugar and flour mixture over the butter. Add raisins or nuts if desired.

Roll your dough and filling into a pinwheel log and proceed with making your rolls.Sweet Rolls 4


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