Cinnamon Buns

cinnamon rolls

I’ve had a lot of people asking about these cinnamon buns on Instagram, and so I’m finally delivering with a recipe. This cinnamon roll recipe is adapted from my book but made a bit different: I’ve baked them in mini soufflé pans from Mauviel. I am really happy with how they turned out – the pans held the dough’s shape nicely, and pushed the buns up to be extra tall. The soufflé pans also help caramelize the sides of the buns while keeping the center tender, and this, in my humble opinion, makes them absolutely perfect. I have a few other recipes coming that involve these pans, and will try to get them up this next week.


You have to understand,

that no one puts their children in a boat

unless the water is safer than the land

-Warsan Shire, Home

I read Warsan Shire‘s poem, Home this week. I think it is an important read, and you can read it in full here. I also just discovered the work of Joya Logue, and love her watercolors. This particular picture strikes a chord with me, and I have seen it paired with Shire’s poem quite a few times on Instagram the last day or two. As my children are home for summer break and we have the leisure to spend our days together reading and swimming and baking and being, I find my mind drawn constantly to those families that have been separated from one another. I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be to not know where my children were, and not sure if I would ever find them again. People are not statistics. Families Belong Together.

If you are concerned about what is currently happening at our borders, or if you are confused about what exactly is happening and why so many people are highlighting it, I have some links here for you. First of all, knowing exactly what asylum is and why people are seeking it is important. The American Immigration Council has a page detailing everything you need to know, and explains the process people go through once they reach our borders. You can read about that here. If you are curious about how the process has changed in the last few months (it has become harder to seek asylum), American Voice has an overview on the policies that have shifted. You can read about that here. Also, read this NPR piece on where the children go once they are taken from their parents. The New York Times has a great piece on Fact-Checking the Trump Administration’s Case For Child Separation at the Border. A google search of “who is speaking out against border policies” will bring up hundreds of hits – CEO’s, evangelical pastors, first ladies, the Pope, celebrities… so many people. I don’t bring this up to name drop, simply to say many people who often disagree on other issues are speaking up to say this policy is wrong.

My overall advice to you here is to read, fact check, and learn about what is going on.  People are not statistics.

If you’d like to contact your representatives about what is happening, you can find phone numbers and contact here. Resistbot is another great way to contact your local representatives, and you can find their webpage here. Don’t be afraid to use your voice, for this issue or any that is important to you! I’ve found the more I call, the easier it is each time. This website also has scripts that can help with calling.

If you’d like to give, here is a list of organizations mobilizing to help.

Also, I know that this is a food blog and many of my readers have different political opinions. I think what is currently happening to families at my own country’s borders is inhumane, and important enough to bring attention to here. To quote the late Anthony Bourdain, “People are not statistics. There’s nothing more political than food…who eats? Who doesn’t? Why do people cook what they cook? It is always the end or a part of a long story, often a painful one.”

People are not a means to an end, people are the end.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

I choose to raise my voice to help reunite families.

cinnamon rolls

A few other things (that seem trite after the above):

*My site got a little make over! I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I have to give a shout out to Alex from A Couple Cooks for all his help (and if you are looking for someone to help with your site, I highly recommend him!).

*A few months ago my site got hacked and someone signed thousands of people up for my email newsletter. My mailing list now should reflect those who want to be on there, but if you find you are not getting my emails anymore and would like to be, you can sign up on the side bar.

*Last week I spoke about my chocolate chip cookie recipe going viral at the Cherry Bombe Radio event here in Minneapolis. Mpls. St. Paul Magazine reprinted what I had to say on their website, if you want to read it.

*Molly’s new show starts this weekend on the Food Network! I can’t wait to watch.

cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe adapted from my book, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book.

I also have a recipe for brioche cinnamon rolls here if that is more up your alley.

I’ve made the rolls in individual soufflé molds, specifically, these 3 x 2-inch copper mini molds from Mauviel. If you do not have soufflé molds, you could use ramekins instead, just make sure they are roughly the same size. The molds I used have straight 2-inch sides, which helps give the rolls their tall shape. The sides of the pans are buttered and then dusted with sugar, which caramelizes the sides of the buns, making for an incredible roll. As much as I like soft, gooey cinnamon buns, this version is currently my favorite way to partake.

The one downside to the copper molds is that they are crazy hot when they come out of the oven, which can make it a little tricky to get them out. I use a kitchen towel and wrap it around the base of the copper mold, then run a knife carefully around each roll, and flip them onto a wire rack. Make sure to line the bottom of each mold with parchment paper as noted in the instructions, or the buns will stick to the bottom and it will be extra hard to get them out.


4 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup whole milk, warm (100-110F)

1/4 cup honey

4 cups (568g) all-purpose flour

2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

2 teaspoons salt

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks | 142g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces


3/4 cup (149g) brown sugar

1 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly


2 ounces cream cheese

Pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2-4 tablespoons water

2 cups (226g) confectioner’s sugar

For the dough

Grease a large bowl.

In a large liquid measuring cup, combine the eggs, milk, and honey.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, yeast, and salt and stir on low to combine. Add the egg mixture and mix on low to combine. With the mixer on low, add the butter, one piece at a time. When all the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium and beat the butter into the dough, until all the little butter pieces are incorporated, 1 minute. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl. The dough will be very sticky and you will need a spatula to scrape the dough into the bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Place your fingers or a spatula underneath the dough and gently pull the dough up and fold it back over itself. Turn the bowl and repeat this folding again. Continue 6 to 8 more times, until all the dough has been folded over on itself. Re-cover the bowl with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes. Repeat this series of folding 3 more times, for a rise time of 2 hours and a total of 4 foldings. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours.

For the filling

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

To assemble

Butter ten 3 x 2-inch soufflé molds (see note above about soufflé mold specifics). Line the bottom of each mold with parchment paper, and then generously coat with granulated sugar, tapping out any excess. Place the molds on a baking sheet.

Roll the dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the top, pressing it lightly into the butter so it adheres. Starting at the long side, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seam gently to seal it and position the dough seam side down. Use a scissors or a sharp knife to cut the dough into 10 equal pieces. Transfer the pieces to the prepared pans and place them cut side up. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Adjust the oven rack to the middle lower position. Preheat the oven to 350F.

Remove the plastic and bake 22 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the rolls are golden brown. While the rolls are baking prepare the icing.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls cool for a few minutes. Use a kitchen towel or oven mitts to pick up each soufflé mold, then run a knife carefully around the edges of the pan, and flip the roll onto a wire rack. Carefully put the roll right side up, and repeat with the remaining rolls. Let cool for 5 minutes, then place a piece of parchment paper under the wire rack. Pour the icing over each roll. Serve warm.

For the icing

Place the cream cheese in a small bowl. Add the salt, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water and mix until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix until combined, adding more water if needed, until the desired consistency is reached.

The copper soufflé molds were sent to me by Mauviel, but all opinions about them are my own.


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Our Day Trip Packing List

As you probably know, John and I are devoted day trippers from waaaay back…in fact, we wrote the book on it! Our very first book was Day Trips from San Antonio and Austin; since then it’s…

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Win a copy of TRAIN YOUR DOG NOW!

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chocolate bars

I was recently on Twin Cities Live and made the chocolate bars pictured. They are based on a recipe from my cookbook: chocolate brownie base, buttercream filling, then topped off with chocolate ganache. Indulgent, but delicious. I made them for Valentine’s day with edible rose petals, which made them pretty and terribly precious, but if you’re not into that sort of thing, plain tops will work just fine. You can watch the video of me making them here.

I’ll have some chocolate hazelnut bars for you later this week, and hopefully the lemon pull-apart bread I had on Instagram that so many of you asked about. I’m still tweaking that recipe just a bit. And the rectangle cake, too! So many recipes, so little time.

I hope your weekend is full of good things. I am currently watching the snow fall down and trying not to think of my parents headed to the east coast for weeks on end while I pine for spring. I did start reading I Capture the Castle yesterday and can’t put it down; it’s delightful. xx

Chocolate Bars

Adapted from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book.

Brownie base

4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, cold

4 ounces (113g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons (13g) Dutch process cocoa powder

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (80g) all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

¼ cup canola oil

¾ cups (149g) granulated sugar

¼ cup (50g) packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1 cup (2 sticks | 227g) unsalted butter, room temperature

Pinch salt

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2-1 teaspoon flavored extract (whatever you prefer! I like mint)(optional)

2 cups (226g) confectioner’s sugar

A few drops of food coloring (I used pink) (optional)


4 ounces (113g) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1/2 cup heavy cream

Edible rose petals and chopped cacao nibs, if desired

For the brownies

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease an 8 by 8-inch baking pan and line a parchment sling (a 9 by 9-inch pan will work, too).

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter and the bittersweet chocolate until both are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and add the cocoa powder, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, sugars, and vanilla. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir with a spatula until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 22 to 27 minutes, until the sides of the brownies have set, the top is beginning to crackle and look glossy, and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out with crumbs. The batter on the skewer should not be wet, but should have a good amount of crumbs clinging to it. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Place in the refrigerator and chill for an hour.

For the filling

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on medium until creamy. Scrape down the sides and add the vanilla, mint, and salt. Mix on low until combined and then beat on medium for 1 minute. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar, a little at a time, mixing until combined, and stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 6-8 minutes until light and fluffy.

For the ganache

Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it is simmering and just about to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove the plastic and whisk until completely smooth. Let cool to room temperature before using.

To assemble the bars

Spread the mint filling evenly across the chilled brownies. Return the pan back to the fridge and chill for 1 hour.

When the filling has chilled, pour the cooled ganache over the top, and using an offset spatula, spread the ganache in an even layer (decorate with edible rose petals and cacao nibs, if desired). Put the pan back in the fridge for 1 hour. Remove the pan from the fridge, and wait 10 minutes before cutting, to allow the glaze to soften slightly. Cut the squares and serve.