Saturday, July 25, 2009

Love Rolls, A Family Tradition

See that yummy goodness? This is a "secret" family recipe that has been passed down in my husband's family for six generations. So, at the peril of my life...I'm going to blog about it!

First, a little history. Rick's grandmother taught me how to make these. She learned to make them from her grandmother. A written recipe never existed. My mother in law tried to write it down years ago, and put the recipe in a ward cookbook! Her children were very upset with her! After all, it is a secret! Hence the "peril of my life" statement!

Several years ago, I asked Grandma to teach me how to make them, and she agreed. I wrote the recipe down as she made them. The interesting thing is, another sister-in-law did the same thing...and we both have slightly different recipes. Mine has cinnamon, hers does not. Grandma told us both that our recipes were "authentic". I think Grandma just threw in whatever struck her fancy! :)

As far as we know, no one else makes these, and Rick's family is the only branch of the family tree that makes them, with the exception of a couple of cousins.

I do not know when or where the recipe actually originated. And since Grandma has passed away I don't know all those details.

From my notes, I have that Grandma Clay learned to make them from her Grandmother, Missouri Clay Browning. Missouri Clay was born in 1855 and died in 1936. She and her family joined the LDS Church in 1892 and shortly thereafter, she moved with her husband and 6 boys to Utah. Grandpa's first wife died from complications of childbirth, leaving 6 small boys. Missouri Clay raised them and bore 4 of her own children after migrating to Utah. That is just a very brief overview of her history. She is a fascinating woman and I can't wait to meet her!

Now, on to the recipe...

The dough is simply a baking powder biscuit dough with some sugar added.
Here I have stirred together flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, sugar and a little salt.

Then add the shortening.

Cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add the milk

And stir with a fork until until a ball is formed

Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and roll into a rectangle, about 1/2 an inch thick.

Spread the dough with softened butter and sprinkle sugar, cinnamon and a little nutmeg on top.

Then roll the dough up

And cut into about 2 inch slices (just like you would do cinnamon rolls).

Meanwhile, throw the sauce together. Heat water, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a pan, and boil for 5 minutes. Originally this step was done in a 9x13 pan on the stove-top and after the biscuits were added the full pan was transferred to the oven. After a few mishaps, we adapted the method to be a little easier and a little safer!

(Did you know boiling sugary water causes 3rd degree burns if you drop a pan and it pours all over your feet? Take my word for it, it does!)

Now, put a 9x13 pan in the oven, and pour the syrup in the pan. The pan will be a little more than half full.

Plop the rolls into the sauce. I usually get 12 plus a few extra...

Bake for about 1/2 an hour (15 minutes at 400 degrees, then 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees).
The sauce will thicken as it cooks, and the rolls will be a nice golden brown on top.

Oh, yum!

You want to serve them warm, right out of the oven. A pan seldom lasts too long around here!

All that sauce in the bottom of the pan? Go ahead and spoon some over the rolls. Be generous!

You can add a splash of milk or even half and half if you like.

Oh my...these are so good!

And you can't really tell from this picture, but as an added bonus, some of the sauce spilled over in to the bottom of the oven (it always does) and it caught on fire!!! How thrilling! Good thing the rolls were already done and on the counter!

*This is the first time I have ever made these by myself. Rick and I have always made them together, I do the sauce and he does the dough. The boys said I "did good".

Love Rolls

4 cups flour
6 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cream of tartar (optional)
1 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. sugar
1 cup shortening
1 1/3 cups milk
Softened butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg
Stir together flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt and sugar. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once, stir until dough begins to form a ball. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Roll dough 1/2 inch thick. Sread with softened butter and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg (no measurements, but be generous with the sugar and cinnamon and go easy on the nutmeg or it can be overpowering).
Roll dough up and slice into 1-2 inch slices.

6 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 +1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirrring ocassionally. Boil for 5 minutes.
Place a 9x13 pan in the oven. Carefully pour sauce in to the pan. Gently drop rolls in to the sauce.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until rolls are golden brown and sauce is thickened.
Serve warm, topped with sauce. May top with milk or cream if desired.
Makes approximately 12 rolls

*If you make a bigger batch, do not double the sauce. It has to be made in individual batches or it doesn't set up properly.


  1. They look divine! Sorry about the fire, just because you're moving, doesn't mean you should burn down the joint.
    Soon, you'll have Rick around to help make them. Thanks for the recipe...hopefully you'll still remain part of the family.

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog. I have really enjoyed the container garden. I really didn't want to dig up my yard to put in a square foot garden so I thought I would try this out first. I am totally sold and love it since it has been successful.

    I love recipies and this looks delicious. I am terrible at making cinnamon rolls. I wonder if this recipe would work for me. I'll have to give it a try. I think the sauce on the bottom is a really nifty idea - I've never heard of doing it that way before.