On a Roll
When cinnamon, sugar and butter come together in a breakfast pastry, it’s heavenly.
And when I’m traveling in my motorhome, it’s always worth a few extra miles to find the perfect cinnamon roll.
The origin of cinnamon rolls (aka sticky rolls, sticky buns, or honey buns) isn’t clear. American Institute of Baking researchers trace early cinnamon rolls to ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. British, Dutch and German bakers may also have influenced this sweet treat. Some insist the cinnamon roll or “kanelbulle” was born in Sweden where,
every Oct. 4, they celebrate National Cinnamon Bun Day.
Breakfast cinnamon rolls are popular throughout the United States, but they’re an institution in Philadelphia, Pa. This city’s version of cinnamon rolls, which contain honey, sugar, cinnamon and raisins, dates back to the 18th century.
Today, cinnamon rolls are found the world over. They vary from sweet and sticky to the lighter Swedish pastry. Confectioner’s sugar is widely used to make a glaze, and some cinnamon rolls contain pecans, walnuts or almonds, or raisins, black currants or other glazed fruits. There are also dairy-free and gluten-free varieties.
Cinnamon rolls or buns are full of sugar and fat and are pretty hefty in calories. If you need a healthy reason to eat them, cinnamon has long been prized for its health benefits. Medieval physicians used cinnamon to treat coughing, hoarseness and sore throats. Researchers at the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health suggest that cinnamon may lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol, fight fungal and bacterial infections, and even help prevent Alzheimer’s.
Great cinnamon rolls are always worth a stop. If you’re in the Yukon between Whitehorse and Dawson City, check out Braeburn Lodge. The lodge is famous for dinner-plate-size cinnamon rolls baked by Steve the Bun Master.
North of Vancouver, British Columbia, at the end of Canada’s Sunshine Coast and iconic Highway 101, Nancy’s Bakery in the village of Lund is famous for its big almond cinnamon rolls. They’re loaded with cinnamon and crunchy nuts and they’re soft inside and crusty, sugary outside.
In Coupeville, Wash., my all-time favorite cinnamon roll is baked at the waterside café, Mosquito Fleet Chili. Not only does the restaurant make a mean bowl of spicy red, its cinnamon rolls are masterpieces — extra-thin layers of soft/crisp dough loaded with cinnamon, sugar and butter. For the recipe, check out www.realfoodtraveler.com/2011/12/best-cinnamon-rolls-on-the-planet. I make this cinnamon roll on Christmas morning.
Another great cinnamon roll can be found in Cody, Wyo., at Rocky Mountain MoJoe, a little coffee shop and bakery on the outskirts of downtown. This scratch bakery bakes up buttery cinnamon rolls that are moist and soft with just the right balance of cinnamon. You’ll also want to pick up their cinnamon monkey bread and some of their freshly baked cookies, including peanut butter and their oatmeal, which has just a hint of cinnamon.
My latest cinnamon roll discovery is Heavenly Biscuit in Fort Myers Beach, Fla. This tiny shop specializes in breakfast sandwiches on pillow-soft biscuits. Heavenly Biscuit also uses its biscuit dough to make cinnamon rolls loaded with a super crunchy sugary-cinnamon-butter combo that had us returning every morning for a fix.
What’s your favorite cinnamon roll haunt? Let Bobbie know by sending an email (with “Road Foodie Cinnamon Roll” in the subject line) to [email protected]