The night before I had to leave Paris after the holidays, I stayed up until midnight making cinnamon rolls with my French siblings. It was Jan. 1, New Year’s Day. The streets had been empty, lights strung across thoroughfares, awaiting nightfall when they glowed. My siblings pestered me. They’d never had cinnamon rolls. I couldn’t leave without making them. And it reminded me of the way they’ve been a way to ring in the new year. The winter chill may be bleak, the year may be just nascent, but fragrant, warm, cinnamon goodness places secures everything in its place, and you feel that the year will hold promise.
And so we converted Fahrenheit to Celsius, teaspoons and cups to grams and milliliters, and dashed “le cinnamon” (in French “cannelle”) liberally. We nestled the tightly coiled spirals, inhaled the dough’s yeasty aromas, and deciphered the oven’s Rubix cube of settings, and waited. And what we got for our trouble was tear-apart, plush goodness. Robustly coiled, soft and gooey from a last drizzle of cream before they went in the oven, they were, as they always are, a humble revelation.
Which brings me to the weighing in on our top spots for gooey goodness. Some will swear there is nothing to replace The Mecca’s outrageously sized, sheet pan-baked behemoths slathered with cream cheese icing half an inch thick.We’ve featured odes to the cinnamon roll at Main Street Bakery and the gluten-free cinnamon rolls made by Hannah’s Gluten-Free Bakery. Fans of deluges of sweet cream cheese icing might have their say; rolls more delicately showered with pecans exist, too. I could mention that one of my favorite twists on the classic is the cinnamon brioche of sugar, spice, and laminated dough from Village Baking Co.
What are yours?