Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fresh From the Oven...

The past few weeks have brought a few opportunities our way for indulging in some home-baked sweets. A couple weeks back, we needed something to accompany our impromptu forest picnic after chopping down our Christmas tree. Apricot-pecan cinnamon rolls, hot cocoa, and clementine slices seemed just the thing for that occasion. Then, a few nights ago, we celebrated our anniversary by trimming the tree (our annual anniversary tradition). Cherry-chocolate cream cheese cinnamon rolls and hot cider filled our tummies while we filled our tree's branches with ornaments new and old. Such a sweet way to celebrate another year growing and learning as a couple and as a family!

Generally speaking, I make cinnamon rolls from scratch. The whole kneading, rising, kneading, and rising process may be more time consuming, but I think it produces better-tasting, tender rolls. But, since the two cinnamon roll-noshing occasions I mentioned above came at busy times of the year for us, I decided to use a shortcut.

I've been holding onto a magazine clipping for no-yeast/no-rise cinnamon rolls (I think it may have come from Southern Living mag). The results were better than expected. Even my Dad, who doesn't care for cinnamon rolls (how is that possible, right??), raved about them and had second helpings.

So, if you are looking for a quick recipe for Christmas morning goodies, or just want a sweet snack while curled up on the couch, give these a try. Here are the recipes for the two different versions, based on the same basic formula. I imagine you could really get creative and come up with your own combinations too.

Apricot-pecan Cinnamon Rolls:

1 pkg. frozen biscuits (12 count)
1 (6 oz.) pkg dried apricots
All-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Arrange frozen biscuits, sides touching, on a lightly floured baking sheet in 3 rows of 4 each. Let stand 30-45 min. or until biscuits are thawed, but still cool to the touch.

Pour boiling water over the apricots and let stand 10 minutes (this makes the fruit nice and moist for baking. Don't skip this step!). Drain well and chop.

Pat the biscuits into a rectangle, pressing and pinching biscuit edges together.
Brush dough with softened butter. Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over butter. Then sprinkle chopped pecans and apricots over the sugar mixture. My photo below shows the alternate recipe using cherries and chocolate, but the process is the same.

Roll up the dough, starting at one long end. Cut into 1-inch thick slices. Place rolls into a lightly greased 10-inch round pan or 9-inch square pan.
Bake at 375 for 35 min. or until just lightly browned. Cool slightly. When my cherry-chocolate rolls came out of the oven, they seemed lacking in chocolate, so I sprinkled on additional chips.
Stir together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Drizzle over rolls. I do this step once when they first come out of the oven and then again after they have fully cooled. This way, the first application of icing melts right into the rolls and the second application leaves a nice thick coating that hardens on top. I like the extra sweetness and "gooeyness" of two doses of icing.
*For the Cherry-Chocolate Cream Cheese rolls: Prepare apricot-pecan rolls as directed, substituting 1/2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese for 1/4 cup butter, 1 (6 oz.) pkg dried cherries for the dried apricots, and 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips for the pecans. These rolls are pictured at the top of this post, while the apricot-pecan ones are here:

These cinnamon rolls do not have the tender, yeast-like taste of traditional rolls. But, if you are short on time or just don't want the hassle of kneading and rising, these rolls still meet the sweet, home-baked goodness expectations most of us are looking for this time of year.


  1. YUMM-O! Can't wait to try these, thanks for posting these two recipes for us all to try! I'm a fan of anything with chocolate chips as you know so I think I'll be trying that one first:)

  2. Hi J,
    Sorry I've been absent from blog-land lately. I hope you like the cinnamon rolls (to be honest, I thought the one with the chocolate chips turned out a bit dry. If you haven't already made them, I would probably try using the entire package of cream cheese instead of just the half pkg. that the original recipe calls for). If you're baking, I hope that means that you're appetite is returning!

  3. I MUST try this recipe! It looks just incredible. My name is Stephanie and I hope to see more of your talents, and not just for Christmas :)

  4. Welcome, Stephanie!
    Thank you for your sweet compliment. :) I hope whichever flavor of rolls you decide to try, they turn out tasty. Icing-covered carbs seem to sustain me through the busy holidays!