Family Favourites No 1: Cinnamon Rolls

I have been making these cinnamon rolls for as long as I can remember. The recipe comes from my childhood nanny, and I have (very fond) memories of being completely spoiled by her because she would let me have one while watching television before heading off to school in the morning. When my parents were around in the morning TV was most certainly not allowed! And even though I no longer eat them myself the smell of cinnamon and sugar wafting through the house brings me right back.



Makes 12-15

35g fresh yeast
0.5ml (1/2 dl) water
75g butter
250ml (2.5 dl) milk
1/4 tsp salt
50g sugar
250-300g white  flour

100g soft butter
100g dark soft brown sugar
5 tsps cinnamon powder

Icing sugar (powdered sugar) and chopped hazelnuts for decorating. 

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3

Heat the butter and milk over low heat in a pan, when the butter is melted remove from the heat and leave to cool. I usually only heat half of the milk and use the other half to cool the mixture down. Check the temperature with a finger, it should feel warm but not hot. 

Remember that when using fresh yeast any liquid added to the yeast should ideally be between 35-38C/95-100F – any higher it won’t rise and any lower the dough can get sticky and hard to handle. I’m certain you can also use dry yeast I just prefer fresh yeast. 

Crumble the yeast into a bowl and dissolve in 50ml finger warm water. Add sugar and salt, and stir until it is dissolved. Add the flour, a little at a time, and tip onto the work surface when the dough is ready to be kneaded. The dough should feel light but shouldn’t stick. Knead for about 5-10 minutes until it is smooth. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 30-40 minutes. It should (almost) double in size.


While the dough is rising mix together the filling. I usually do it with a fork, but if the butter is hard it is easier to do in a mixer – just make sure that the sugar and cinnamon is evenly mixed with the butter.

When the dough has finished rising, drizzle a bit of flour on the worktop, tip the dough out of the bowl and carefully knead the air out. Roll the dough into rectangle – approximately 40cmx50cm/15inx19in. How big it is really not that important but it should not be more than about 1cm/0.4in thick. Spread the filling onto the dough in an even layer.


Roll it tightly together from the longest side. With both hands gently push the roll together towards the middle so that the roll get shorter but thicker. Cut it into 12-15 pieces of approximately 2.5cm/1in. 

Take the “loose” end of each roll and bend it under the roll so that it does not come unstuck while baking. Place in a baking tray covered with baking paper and flatten them slightly with a spatula. 


Bake in the middle of the oven for 10-15 minutes until they are golden.

Leave to cool before decorating with icing sugar. I also drizzle with some chopped slightly roasted hazelnuts. 


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