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Cascade Cabin Cinnamon Rolls

The sound of shovel against snow rings out in the mountain air, disturbing a Stellar’s Jay that heckles me from a nearby tree. Down near the deck is the real work, where a thick layer of ice fights against progress. As if to mock me, the sky darkens and a new rush of snow begins, flakes dancing down to land in cat’s paw softness on the railings. The mountain that has filled my view for hours fades to a misty presence as the next late-season storm moves in.

Inside, I throw a few sticks of wood onto the fire and sit watching the snow fall. Except for the trees standing sentry beyond the deck and the occasional bird that comes to look for handouts, I am a single soul in the vast wilderness. The only things I have to decide are whether to chop more wood or start the pasta water, and whether to read my book or do a sodoku. I plug in the Christmas lights that we keep strung in the rafters all year round. For the moment, the rest can wait.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m up overnight is to make cinnamon rolls, with a long slow rise. Once the cabin’s water system is turned on and the fire is lit, I get a batch of dough going. I let the dough sit for a long time in a cool corner, to rise all day. Before turning in for the night I roll the dough out and shape the rolls. Sometimes I make them all the same size, and sometimes I make them look like mountain peaks, the way I’ve done in the recipe below. They’re just perfect the next morning with freshly brewed cabin coffee.

Being out in the mountains can always put you back in touch with reality, because the chores you do always take just that little bit longer. But I’ve done enough chores for the day. It’s time to do the really important stuff: put some more wood on the fire, nestle in with a good book, and gaze out at the quietly falling snow. Shoveling? Why, that can surely wait. The way the it’s coming down, there will certainly be plenty more to do tomorrow!


Cascade Cabin Cinnamon Rolls


Makes 8 large rolls


For the dough:

½ cup water at 100º

2 teaspoons yeast

2/3 cup milk, scalded and cooled

4 Tablespoons butter

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoons salt

4 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup flour for benchwork


For the filling:

2 Tablespoons butter, lightly melted

¾ cups raisins (I use golden raisins)

3 teaspoons cinnamon

2 Tablespoons sugar


Make the dough: Mix the water and yeast in a 4-quart bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to foam. Scald the milk in a small saucepan and add the butter to the milk while it’s cooling. Add the ¾ cup sugar, the salt and 2 cups of flour to the yeast mixture in the bowl and, when the milk has cooled to body heat add it as well. Stir with the handle of a wooden spoon for 200 beats to make a smooth batter.

Add the other 2 cups of flour and work it into the dough to incorporate. Make a ball with the dough, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 5 minutes. Clean and dry the bowl.

Long rise: Put the dough ball into the bowl, cover with a lid or a piece of plastic wrap, and let sit in a corner to rise. Optimal temperature for this rise is 55-60º. If you can’t achieve this temperature you may have to improvise by putting the dough by a doorway or on a cellar step. Let sit for 8 to 10 hours, punching down if the dough is super active.

Shape the rolls: Roll the dough into a 10” x 18” rectangle. If your cabin has no rolling pin use a wine bottle, as I do. Spread 2 Tablespoons of barely melted butter over the flattened dough.

Cut the dough into equal quarters, and then cut each quarter in half lengthwise at a 20º angle so that one end of each finished piece is 3” wide and the other 2”.

Mix the raisins, cinnamon and sugar in a coffee cup and spoon equal portions along the center of each dough piece. When all the raisin mixture is distributed, roll each piece up, starting with the widest end and keeping one side flat as you roll.

Overnight rise: Arrange the somewhat unwieldy rolls in a buttered 8” square metal or glass pan. They’ll want to flop some, so let them. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for 7 hours at 55º.

Bake the rolls: In the morning, let the rolls sit near the morning fire for an hour to warm up some. Preheat the oven to 425º and, once hot, put in the rolls. Bake for 10 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 350º and bake for 25-30 minutes more. If the tops get too dark, drape a piece of foil over the rolls for the last 10 minutes.

When the rolls are baked, put down your snow shovel and grab some coffee. The rolls should probably cool for 30 minutes, but I really wouldn’t know – I’ve never been able to wait that long!

Disclaimer: These results were obtained in a mountain cabin with thinly insulated walls and a 40-year old electric stove. Rising and baking times will vary.

17 comments to Cascade Cabin Cinnamon Rolls

  • Mmmm…these look very delicious.

  • posy

    I love the snow-on-the-side serving idea.

  • Judy

    Oh, yummy, wish I was there!

  • Kris Johnston

    Gosh… a fun and positive email from Yodelin… We need more of this type of communication. Made me smile… and made my mouth water!

    A good pot of soup simmering on the back burner or in the crockpot is a wonderful treat as well when you return to the cabin after skiing or snow shoeing!

  • Gorgeous recipe and gorgeous photos!

    Fantastic all the way around :o)

  • Yummy both the food and the scenery! I wish I was there.

  • zeb

    Beautiful glorious pictures you take, wow!

    We finally got a warm day today, it’s been the longest winter in England for 40 years, but nothing like you have of course. I learnt another way of cutting those cinammon buns. You roll out the whole dough flat into a rectangle. Spread your filling over, roll up tightly into one long tube and then instead of cutting the roll into straight slices, cut the roll into chunks on the angle like the way you cut your dough only rolled up, put the triangle, fat side down and give it a good press down with your fingers, leave to prove again Not sure if it is quicker but it is quite fun to do that way.

  • How beautiful that cabin nestled in the woods and snow! Your photograph of the pan of cinnamon rolls sitting atop the snow with the wintery background is absolutely beautiful…it’s magazine publication worthy. Cinnamon rolls sound good right now!

  • What a stunningly beautiful spot! And these cinnamon rolls are the prettiest shape.

  • I thank you for sending the recipe to me but I will probably never be able to make it, since I am not the wood fired oven pro you are.

    They look wonderful though and I thank you for thinking of me.

    If you have anything that can be made in a standard oven, send it my way.

    I will put it on my cooking blog on my Ning Network.

    Keep making wonderful looking things!

    Happy Cooking and Baking my talented friend!

    Polly Motzko

  • What a beautiful picture with the snow, and the cinnamon rolls look good, too!

  • Woh! Where is that place!

    When i go to my village, my grandma always cooks in the stove, and the pies always taste better than mine in the conventional oven…

    I wish i have my own woodfired oven one day!

  • great recipe! very cool photo!

  • Have never seen a more gorgeous background nice shot!~

  • Your cinnamon rolls look beautiful!

  • Wow, great pictures…and the rolls sure looks delicious 🙂

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A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.