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
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: