Midwesterners love their cinnamon rolls. Far from having the sweet, fragrant treats only at breakfast or for a coffee break, they will serve them and eat them just about anytime. Homestyle chicken dinner emporiums, throughout the Heartland serve the rolls warm and tender in a basket to accompany your feast. The rolls are a must at school and church suppers, potlucks, and “chili feeds.” A friend or family member in need of a little TLC will perk up immediately when you bring homemade cinnamon rolls and say, “Let’s put on the coffee.” Make extra batches, if you like, and freeze them after they are baked.
Variation: To make sticky buns, omit the glaze and replace it in the following manner. Melt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a saucepan, add 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (and, if you like, 1/2 cup chopped pecans), stir until the mixture is evenly blended, and spread on the baking sheet before you roll out the dough. Place the cinnamon rolls directly on this mixture, then let rise and bake as below. When you remove the baked cinnamon rolls from the oven, immediately invert the baking sheet on aluminum foil and let the cinnamon rolls cool with the sticky glaze on top.
Excerpted from Prairie Home Cooking, by Judith Fertig. © 1999, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press.