Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Have Fun -- Make Rolls

A while back, I made Twenty Second Cinnamon Rolls, but when I found a 1953 pamphlet from the educational service at J. Walter Thompson Company, entitled Have Fun -- Make Rolls, I just had to try the four-hour version.  The difference?  The 20-second rolls are an afternoon quickie -- fast and sweet.  These rolls are a romantic love affair -- sensuous and sophisticated.  I would venture to say that these are the real deal, the cinnamon rolls of your dreams.

This charming 16-page brochure for children (really, only girls, for this is the 1950s) goes into great detail, complete with photographs and illustrations, walking one through the process of making clover leaf rolls, butterhorns, sailor's knots and cinnamon rolls.  Of course, I picked the rolls with the extra sugar and butter.

These were much better than the 20-second version and worth every minute.  The yeast dough is light and complex in taste (not to mention preparation).  Recipe below, followed by almost step-by-step photographs.

Cinnamon Rolls
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 package active dry east
1 egg
2 1/2  cups all purpose flour

Heat milk gently in saucepan; scald but don't let it boil.  Measure sugar, salt and butter into large bowl.  Pour hot milk into bowl. Stir to melt mixture.
While the above mixture cools, pour yeast into the water.
When the milk mixture has cooled to lukewarm, add one cup flour.  Stir until batter is smooth.
Pour the yeast mixture into the batter and stir well.  Add egg and mix until all combined.
Add remaining flour and stir well.
Turn mixture out on a clean counter and knead for about five to 10 minutes, until elastic.
Return to the bowl (which you've washed and and greased).  Coat the dough with the oil, cover and let rise until doubled, about 1.5 hours.   When it has risen, punch the dough.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Turn dough out on your board or counter, cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Mix 1/2 cup of white or brown sugar with 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon. (Take out two tablespoons of this mixture and reserve.)  Melt two tablespoons of butter.

Uncover dough and flatten.  Using a rolling pin, roll it into a long, narrow strip about seven or eight inches wide so it resembles a long, narrow scarf.    Brush melted butter on the dough and sprinkle the sugar-cinnamon mixture on top.
Roll up, lengthwise.  Press the seam by pinching it.
Cut into one-inch slices and place in either a muffin tin, or two eight or nine-inch round or square pans.  Leave space between each roll, as they will expand.  Sprinkle the reserved sugar-cinnamon mixture on top.  Cover with a towel and let rise for one hour, until doubled in bulk.  Bake about 25 minutes.

When cool, you can frost with confectioner's sugar mixed with a bit of water or milk.  Enjoy!

Scald the milk, then pour over the butter and sugar.

Mix the yeast with warm water.

The dough resting.

Roll it out until it resembles a long, narrow scarf.  Pull at the sides to make "corners."

Melted butter and sugar-cinnamon at the ready.

This is how it rolls.

Leave plenty of space between the rolls; you can see below how the dough expands.

If you use muffin tins, you'll get round rolls, instead of these post-modern looking beauties, below.

Girls from the brochure with their rolls.  And Barbie-doll sized waists.


  1. What an adorable brochure! I think I'm going to try baking cinnamon rolls in the muffin tins the next time I make them - just to see how it works. They're delicious whether round, square or post-modern!

    1. Thanks, Tug's Girl. Let me know how they come out.

  2. Yeah, those girls aren't eating those rolls. Not with those waists.

    1. And did you notice the haughty looks on their faces?

  3. Great photos! They're causing me to detect a note of cinnamon in the air.

    1. Thanks, Marsha! I keep meaning to upgrade my photos, but glad these came out ok.

  4. I have this pamplet. I just read about your blog in the Home Journal. I have so many old recipes and books you would be in heaven. I have lots from the 50 and early 60. Several from the extension service in Alabama. They are so fun to read and try. Love your blog.

    1. Suzeq: Thanks for writing -- and I love your name! So funny you have this pamphlet; it really goes into great and lengthy detail about baking these rolls. I'll bet a lot of those southern recipes you have are very sweet, which is why I love to collect those!

  5. I look at every yard sale flea market for books like this. They were easy to make and great tasting Thanks

  6. How many rolls did u make? I see 21 based on picture. Thanks. Regine