One of my New Years Resolutions is to learn how to make cinnamon rolls.  And it can’t be just any cinnamon roll:  it has to be a Paradise Cinnamon Roll.

Oh, oh God.  Paradise Cinnamon Rolls.  Oh.  Oh, nom.  I’m having an experience just thinking about it.  When D. and I were undergrads, Paradise Cafe on Mass Street was The Place to go for breakfast.  And their cinnamon rolls were perfection.  Gooey, but not sticky, they were loaded with just the right amount of brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans.  They were perfectly baked from outside to center.  They were frosted, but not with the white cream cheese kind that some bakeries slather on an inch thick to hide their inferior cinnamon roll.  The Paradise Cinnamon Roll’s icing was perfect, white but thin, it gave you a hit of sweet while still allowing the cinnamon pecan and bread flavor to shine through.

The Paradise Cinnamon Roll was also bigger than your face.  I’m not sure this was strictly necessary, but it seems important.

Occasionally, when he knew I had been up all night studying, D would show up on my doorstep the next morning with a warm Paradise Cinnamon Roll.  This may or may not have something to do with why I married that man.

In 2004 (?) Paradise Cafe closed.  It had been sold to new management who lost sight of why everyone went to Paradise:  for breakfast.  The new owners also wanted it to be a bar and 24 hour doughnut shop.  I’ve never seen a previously thriving business tank so fast.  It was shocking.  And tragic. And six years later I still get cravings for Paradise Cinnamon Rolls.

If the Paradise Cafe was still open, I would drive to Lawrence just to eat their cinnamon rolls.  I’ve tried cinnamon rolls from other places.  They’re all inferior.  I need to learn how to make my own.

First up is a recipe from The Pioneer Woman.  Her website is full of wonderful recipes for people who don’t worry about silly things like their weight of future likelihood of heart disease.  Use with caution.  Her recipes are also all scaled to feed a small army of cowboys, so step one was to cut her recipe in half.   I also used brown sugar instead of white sugar for the filing and added chopped pecans. 

Ready to roll…

Ready to rise…

The final change to the Pioneer Woman’s recipe was in the frosting.  She uses a maple frosting that sounds delicious, but is not a Paradise Cinnamon Roll frosting.  Instead I tried just a basic powdered sugar vanilla frosting (2 Cups powdered sugar, a splash of vanilla, a splash of heavy cream, adjust until it’s the flavor and consistency you want…)

Ready to eat…

The Verdict:  Tasty, but not quite the same.  The frosting is all wrong, I didn’t use enough pecans,  and the size of the Paradise Cinnamon Roll may matter more than I realized.  These rolls were a little bit smaller than your palm and about an inch thick.  They don’t need to be the size of your face, but they need to be bit larger to truly capture the spirit of the Paradise Cinnamon Roll.  Another downside, these took about half a day to make.  Meaning that if we wanted to actually eat these for breakfast right out of the oven, I would need to get up in the middle of the night.  Surely there are some short cuts out there.  Until next time, Cinnamon Rolls…

About Shannon K.

My name is Shannon. I make stuff up.
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