Christmas Cinnamon Rolls

High Cotton Food Styling & Photography
  • Yield: 5

"Our mother, Dorothy Lahey, always made a big impression with her famous cinnamon rolls. She loved her kitchen, and the cinnamon rolls were top priority in our family, especially at the holidays. When we were all adults, we thought, "Forget the presents under the tree." When it was time to leave, we each got a package of cinnamon rolls to take home. The day she passed away, there were two dozen in the freezer. Today, there are four surviving children, all with memories of our mother that will live on as we carry on the tradition of making her cinnamon rolls."


2cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 (.25-ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/4cup warm water
1/2cup shortening
1/2cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1tablespoon salt
7 to 8cups all-purpose flour
1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar
1/2cup light corn syrup
1/2cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2cups chopped pecans
1 1/3cups packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons, ground cinnamon
3/4cup (1 1/2 stick) butter, softened


  1. To prepare rolls, heat milk in a saucepan until scalded; set aside to cool to 110F. Combine yeast with warm water; set aside until bubbly.
  2. Combine shortening and granulated sugar; using a mixer at medium-high speed, beat until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and salt. Add yeast mixture and warm milk. Reduce speed to medium; gradually add 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time. Stir in remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until a stiff dough forms.
  3. Turn dough onto a floured work surface; knead 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat both sides. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
  4. To prepare syrup, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, milk and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Do not boil. Set aside to cool.
  5. Lightly coat 5 (8-inch) round or square pans with cooking spray. Pour 5 tablespoons syrup mixture into each pan; sprinkle pecans evenly over each pan. Punch down dough; knead 2 or 3 times. Divide dough into four pieces, keeping each piece covered until used.
  6. To prepare filling, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll one portion of dough into a 19 x 24-inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 of the butter over dough. Sprinkle 1/4 of the sugar mixture over dough. Using a rolling pin, roll topping mixture into dough. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons syrup. Roll up jellyroll style starting at the small end and pinching seam to seal. Slice into 15 pieces. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Place 12 rolls in each pan, cut side down. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F.
  8. Bake 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, let stand 5 minutes, and invert onto plates.

Recipe by Dorothy Lahey, Bethalto, Ill.