Cinnamon Roll Pull-Apart Loaf – Nance & Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Cinnamon Roll Pull-Apart Loaf, found over at Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was Nance’s choice. I was all “Ooh, cinnamon rolls! I love cinnamon rolls!” and then I looked closer at the recipe and was like “Daaaaamn youuuuu Naaaaance! ::fist shake::” because I’m a slacker and making my own dough is the sort of thing that makes me slump over like a spoiled rotten teenager and whine about how my life is sooooooo harrrrrrrrrd.

But then I remembered that I’m not a princess (YET), so I sucked it up and got it done.



I’m aware that that’s an awful picture. Ugh. Anyway, the ingredients are flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, egg, butter, brown sugar, and milk. Oh, and instant yeast. I bought that instant yeast at the dollar store and was sure it wouldn’t work worth a shit, but it worked just fine. Dollar store for the win!

Stir together your flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Set aside.


Then stir together your brown sugar and cinnamon, and set THAT aside.


AND NOW WE HAVE TO SCALD OUR MILK. I have never scalded milk before, and I was all slump-shouldered and pouty like a bratty princess while I was Googling “Seriously, do I have to SCALD my milk? For REAL?”, and Google’s consensus was that I might not need to, but I should SUCK IT UP, PRINCESS and do it just in case. So put your milk in a small saucepan, and put it over low-medium heat.


What you’re doing is bringing your milk juuuuuust to the point of boiling without letting it actually boil. It’s helpful to have a kitchen thermometer to put into the milk, because you want to heat it to 180ºF. If you don’t have a thermometer, no big deal – just let it sit on the heat, stir it occasionally (you don’t want the milk to scorch), and when it gets bubbly around the edge, take it off the heat.


This will take approximately 748 years.

Remove it from the heat, and stir in 3 T butter, which may or may not be softened; it doesn’t matter. It’s going to melt anyway.


Stir ’til it melts. Add in your 1/2 c. water, and let the liquid cool ’til it’s lukewarm (110ºish, if you’re using a thermometer). Someone in this house might have accidentally added cold water to the butter/milk, and then had to put it back on the warm burner until it warmed up since.

“Was it me? I think it was me. Sorry!”

The instructions on the original recipe directs you to use an electric mixer with a dough hook to add flour to the milk mixture. I found that using my paddle beater worked better for me until the mixture got dough-y, whereupon I switched over to the dough hook.

So using your mixture, slowly beat your flour mixture into your milk mixture, add the lightly beaten egg, and if the dough is too wet (“too wet” = it’s really sticky when you touch it) add a bit more flour until it’s only lightly sticky when you touch it.


Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead it until it’s smooth and elastic. I would describe exactly what “smooth and elastic” means, but I don’t know how to describe it. Pretty much, it’s smooth. Also, elastic.  You’ll know it when you see it, AIN’T THAT HELPFUL?


I am horrifying when it comes to rolling out dough, so I begged Fred to do it since he’s 3,000 times better at it than I am.


Roll the dough out into a roughly 20″x12″ rectangle. I called this good enough.


Spread the dough with your softened butter. I used the back of a spoon to do the spreading, because that’s what works best for me.


Cut your dough into 5 strips. Clearly I have not the ability to make even strips, but it didn’t matter THAT much. God, look at that strip that’s six times the width of all the other ones. I shouldn’t be allowed in the kitchen.


Sprinkle the first strip with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture you mixed together way back at the beginning.


I didn’t get a picture of this next step because I suck, but basically you take an un-sugared strip, lay it on top of the sugared strip, and sugar it. At the end, you have a stack of sugared dough strips.

I had an issue with the way the instructions were written in the next part, so I had to ask Fred to interpret them. Apparently what you do next is cut the stack of strips into six equal(ish) squares. Fred did that for me, too.


Then you lay your loaf pan on its end, and stack the dough into the pan. “Cut side up”, say the original instructions, which I failed to realize at the time, so I just stacked them in there willy-nilly. Then set the pan right-side up and kind of shift the dough pieces around until they fill the pan and are straightish.


At this point, you’re meant to loosely cover the pan and let the dough rise for an hour in a warm place. But since I wanted to have the loaf ready for breakfast the next morning, what I did was cover the loaf pan and stick it in the fridge overnight.

When Fred got up the next morning, he put the pan in the microwave (which is the warmest place in the kitchen. NO, he didn’t turn the microwave ON, very funny) and let it sit for a couple of hours. Then he baked it. He didn’t take pictures because, well, I forgot to ask him to do so, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

This is what it looked like when I came downstairs the next morning, after it had been baked.


Then I made icing to put over the top, because all cinnamon roll type foods need icing.


Pardon the professional-looking picture. I was in a hurry. I dumped about a cup of confectioner’s sugar in that measuring cup, added a dash of vanilla extract, and then drizzled milk in, and stirred, added a little more milk in, and stirred, and so on until I had icing that could be drizzled over the top of the cinnamon loaf.



The verdict? Meh. Maybe it was because I let it sit in the fridge overnight, but I think it actually could have used more cinnamon sugar, and possibly even more butter. It was too bready for my taste (yeah, I know, shut up), and Fred felt the same (though he liked the way the cinnamon, sugar, and butter combined at the bottom of the pan to make a tasty caramel.)

We each tried some of it, but the chickens got the majority of it (and loved it.) I hope Nance’s turned out better than mine!


Nance’s Take:

I picked the recipe this week because it sounded damn good.  Cinnamon, butter, dough and brown sugar. A total win for this fat-fatty.


This is scalded milk (with butter). Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? I once knew an older lady that got scalded as a child when she fell back into a pot of  boiling water.   They had to use maggots to eat away at the dead flesh in order for it to heal.  Awful, right?  I will remember this story forever because I was so horrified when I heard it.   And now I’ve shared it with you so you can remember it, too. You’re welcome!


I admit to being confused regarding how to deal with the the dough so I ended up at Pioneer Woman’s site so I could see what was going on. Sometimes pictures are helpful. Go figure.  And yes, I was making cinnamon pull apart bread after 5 in the evening.   What?


I should not be allowed near anything that involves flour.  And stupid me decided to double the recipe because apparently I enjoy making twice the mess!  Please ignore the gold nail polish as I have been going through a white trash phase.


Had to break out my mom’s old candy making board. I love this board because it’s retro for days.   Yes, I know that it’s really just a piece of countertop that someone cut out for her, but it’s fixin’ to be a family heirloom now.  If it doesn’t get destroyed when our house goes over the hill like Shirley’s been predicting for the last 15 years.   I’m not sure if that’s before or after our furnace blows up because it could, ya know.  I know you’re jealous that she’s my mom.  Please try and manage your envy.


Women who can roll things out in the shape and size that they want impress the hell out of me and I SALUTE YOU.  Please note my white-knuckle attempt at making a proper rectangle.  No, I did not measure it.  GIVE ME A BREAK.


I had a helluva time figuring out the cuts, etc. I suppose a ruler would have came in handy, but that’s too much like math for me. Better to struggle and suffer for my art.


OMG, I absolutely had to take a picture of this! You know how normal people just use a paper towel and wipe it into their hand to throw away? My mother thinks this stupid vacuum is THE BOMB.  It’s so ridiculous.  She’s there for 15 goddamn minutes doing that when I could have been done.  Heh.


This is what they looked like when I pulled them out of the oven (40 minutes) and started to frost them without taking a picture first. That’s cream cheese frosting because I thought it would be like a cinnamon bun from the mall type of experience.


This is Rick being rude and taking a picture of a huge mess and I’m trying to block it with another plate.


Truth game. This was a huge fail. They were not cooked in the middle and gross. I used a cream cheese frosting and put it on hoping that it would melt down into it like a drizzled icing. Um, no. It just melted a little bit and sat there looking like it was something that curdled. The good news is that I had about three spoonfuls of the frosting while I was making it.  Yay for me!

I didn’t allow the animals to try this sugary mess so in lieu of silly cat/dog pictures I’m going to leave you with a tale.  A tale of how a po’ married couple marched their asses into a Snobby Williams Sonoma store located in a horrifyingly wealthy suburb of Pittsburgh.

They purchased only two items (that were on clearance for $1.99 each).  There weren’t many to choose from, but they managed to get two that they thought represented them the best.  They stood at the counter with serious faces watching Miss Hoity-Toity Saleslady wrap them in tissue paper and gently place them in a sturdy bag.  And when they arrived home they carefully unwrapped them, gave them a quick washing, and made sure they lived happily ever after in their new home.

Please allow me to introduce the latest members of our family…



Cinnamon Roll Pull-Apart Loaf - Nance & Robyn make the same recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Original Source/Author:
: breakfast
Serves: 53 chickens
  • Dough:
  • ½ cup skim milk
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet (0.25 ounces) instant yeast
  • ----------------------------------------------
  • Filling:
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  1. Stir together dry ingredients (sugar, flour, salt, yeast) in a bowl; set aside. (Note: use 3¼ cups of flour; you can add more flour during the mixing stage if needed.)
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon (filling); set aside.
  3. Place milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, and scald it - ie, bring it almost to a boil (but don't let it boil). If you have a thermometer, bring the milk to 180ºF. Be sure you stir the milk frequently while it's heating.
  4. Remove milk from heat when it's scalded; add 3 T butter, and stir until melted. Add water and let cool 'til it's lukewarm (about 110ºF).
  5. Using an electric mixer, gradually add flour to milk. Add egg (lightly beaten). If necessary, add more flour until a moist dough forms.
  6. Turn dough out onto a lightly-floured surface. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (a few minutes).
  7. Grease a loaf pan (9"x5" if you're measuring)
  8. Roll dough into a rectangle measuring roughly 20″x12″.
  9. Spread softened butter evenly over dough (Robyn uses the back of a spoon to do so).
  10. Cut dough crosswise into five strips with a pizza cutter, each roughly 12″x4″ in size.
  11. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over first buttered dough strip. Top it with a second strip, and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over that strip. Continue with the remaining strips until you have a stack of five sugared dough strips.
  12. Cut the stack of dough strips into 6 equal(ish) stacks, around 4" by 2".
  13. Set your loaf pan (which has been sprayed with cooking spray or Baker's Joy) on on of its ends. Stack the dough stacks into the pan, cut side up.
  14. When the dough stacks are all in the pan, carefully turn it right side up and shift the dough around until it fills the pan and is (mostly) straight.
  15. Loosely cover the pan and let rise in a warm place for about an hour.
  16. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Bake the loaf 30 - 35 minutes or until lightly browned. When cooled, ice with your favorite cinnamon roll icing, if you want to.
  17. -----------------------------------
  18. Cinnamon Roll Icing
  19. (All measurements approximate)
  20. One c. confectioner's sugar
  21. One tsp vanilla extract
  22. One to two T milk or cream
  23. Place confectioner's sugar in a bowl or 2-cup measuring cup. Add vanilla. Drizzle milk into sugar, and stir. Repeat until the icing is the preferred consistency. Drizzle over cinnamon rolls.



Cinnamon Roll Pull-Apart Loaf – Nance & Robyn make the same recipe — 42 Comments

  1. I love the hell out of Shirley with that vacuum. I think we all know someone in THIS house who would do that very thing. She might even be typing this right now. 😀 (Not that I’ve done it, but I WOULD if it ever occurred to me!)

      • I usually scan the recipe just to see what little tidbit you add to it and the 53 chickens went right by me. I’m so glad Lori caught it (and sorta glad, but worried at how much you amuse yourself – hee!)

  2. This was by far my favourite recipe/review yet!! Not because I’ll be trying it, cuz I won’t, but because of the following:

    This will take approximately 748 years
    They had to use maggots to eat away at the dead flesh in order for it to heal.

    When I ask, will you ever hear a story about maggots eating dead flesh on any other recipe site!!!!!

  3. Any time I’ve ever tried to explain what dough should feel like when you’re done kneading it, I tell them that when you knead it, it should sort of “bounce” back at you.

    • I wonder how many people have been standing there waiting in fear of a ball of dough bouncing at their face or is it just me because I am that kind of stupid? Heh.

      That’s a very good way to describe it though (to reasonably intelligent people, unlike myself).

      • Lol! Good point, Nance… and it definitely *is* a hard thing to describe! I was clueless the first few times I made bread, but then got the feel and have always tried to come up with a good description for others ;). But yeah… if your bread dough is bouncing back into your face, you probably kneaded it *too* much hehehehehe!

  4. I’ve made these (recipe linked below) on multiple occasions, and they always turn out great. The best part is that the recipe uses frozen bread dough (no dealing with yeast!), and if you don’t have heavy cream, you can substitute coffee creamer (even flavored) if you have that on hand instead. I usually substitute pecans for the walnuts, and the bottom of the pan ends up full of the caramel-esque sticky sweet syrup that Fred liked.—easy

    • I had an aunt that did the frozen bread dough route. I could never get the timing right on waiting for it to defrost without it rising, etc. I would forget about it or some crazy shit. But damn, they were so good…

  5. I also once knew a person who needed the help of maggots with their dead flesh issue (aaannndd now I want to thow up a little after using the words maggots and flesh in a sentence) and I can never look at them the same way. I also know someone who did that whole bee sting therapy for their arthritis…creepy, creepy, creepy.

      • Oh, Lord, yes. It is as creepy as it sounds…basically you let yourself be stung by a shit ton of bees in your “affected” area. Something about the venom is supposed to reduce inflammation. I think they use it for MS patients, too. Supposedly, after the first couple of stings you go numb so it doesn’t really hurt that bad, ACK!! [Okay, so I just Googled this and one of the suggested searches was “bee sting therapy erectile dysfunction”…let’s now take a minute and die laughing thinking of THAT scenario.]

      • Oh God…are comment sections part of search engine indexes? If so, I am terribly sorry if you get any creepers from my last comment, ha!

  6. This is not something I would ever make, and on a normal cooking blog – would have just bypassed the recipe entirely. But, as always, I read the whole recipe just for the comments and asides from the cooks as well as the hilarious commenters (why does it show this is spelled wrong? How else would you spell it?) Anyways, loved it as always – esp the maggot story. Next time someone around here whines about a little hurt, I am going to suggest maggot therapy.

  7. You ladies make me feel like such a baking slacker! Whenever I’ve made this, I’ve just used Pillsbury crescent roll dough. That stuff’s pre-rolled and you just have to pretend like the triangular perforations in the dough aren’t there. I’ve also used Pillsbury biscuit dough to make monkey bread. No way am I going through the trouble of yeast and dough hooks!

  8. Bummer… I was kind of hoping the cinnamon pulls worked out. Will have to try the other links instead as cinnamon rolls are the most requested breakfast item at any sleepover and I’m not a fan of Pillsbury canned rolls.

    I am, however, exceptionally glad that I stuck around past the dough hook (which I do not have) so I could enjoy 53 chickens, maggot medicine, counter vacuums, and Nance’s new mugs. Where else on the internet is recipe sharing so entertaining?

  9. Maggots and vaccums and FU cups, oh my! Loved this entry. I am curious though. Robyn is there some kind of wiring in your pan? It looks like there is some spring holding the rolls in place in the pan.

  10. I loved reading your recipes but I won’t make it. When I make cinnamon rolls, I make the bread machine do the dough work. or do a cheat and make tea bisquit dough with a hell of a lot more sugar in it then make them cinnamon bun-ish.
    And also?
    I now cannot get the vision of maggots out of my head

    • This is why I miss my bread machine. I have no idea what happened to it… just know that I don’t have it anymore. It did the hard work on the homemade cinnamon rolls for me. Perhaps I need a new one.

      Darn it… 11 months until my birthday and 12 months until Christmas. I shall have to find a suitable celebration in between.

      • Years ago, we bought a bread maker and ended up only using it a few times. Then we decided it was just taking up space, so we gave it to a friend. Then we moved into this house and started really wishing we had one. Now we have one, and we use it MAYBE twice a year. But there’s no way I’m getting rid of it – it comes in handy when we want to use it, and the rest of the time it hangs out in the back of the hall closet. 🙂

  11. Loved this post!
    But, seriously now, it looks like just as much trouble as just rolling up the dough and slicing it for “regular” cinnamon rolls. And, if you didn’t feel like doing all that work, buy a bag of frozen rolls or Pillsbury in a tube biscuits, dip in butter, cinnamon-sugar and pile up in a bundt pan to make monkey bread.

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