Ask Jen about ice cream and cinnamon rolls

cinnamon rolls

So when someone says “a’la mode,” you think about a homemade apple pie, fresh out of the oven, baked with love and served with a hearty scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. The hot cinnamon-y apples melts the ice cream into a messy, creamy, better-use-a-spoon pile of deliciousness, right? (I think I just gained 5 pounds thinking about it.)

Or, some people think about cinnamon rolls. Like me.  Mmmmmm…

When I was in college, I had a friend whose mom baked 24/7. I swear she did. She made homemade cinnamon rolls that were absolutely to die for (eat your heart out, Cinnabon). We used to beg Lisa to take us home with her on the weekends for her mom’s cooking, or at least bring us doggy bags.

I remember one fall weekend when four of us went up to Lisa’s place. It was only about a two hour drive, but two hours can take an eternity when you’re a starving college kid. When we got there, Mrs. H had her cinnamon rolls in the oven, and was making the cream cheese icing. The house smelled amazing, and the drool was beginning to make its way from our mouths.

We were making our way in the door with our overnight bags, our coats, our pillows and whatever other random junk we felt necessary to lug along. In the middle of the greetings and hugs, someone’s bag or purse or pillow bumped the bowl of icing from the counter. It fell to the floor in slow motion.


We froze in complete horror. What will we do? It’s late, it’s cold and there’s not enough time to go to the store to buy more cream cheese and make more icing before the cinnamon rolls come out of the oven and cool off. This, my friends, was the worst predicament we had ever been in. Like, for real. vanilla ice cream

Just then, like a superhero, Lisa’s dad comes in the kitchen and says, “Can’t we put ice cream on them?”

Mr. H: A gentleman and a scholar. The rest, my friends, is history.

Go make something awesome,

I don’t have Mrs. H’s recipe, but these ones are pretty delish.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls



4 egg yolks, room temp.
1 whole egg, room temp.
1/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. melted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature (or use regular milk and add 1/2 tsp. of vinegar)
4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2-1/4 tsp.
1 tsp. salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray


1 cup packed light brown sugar, approximately
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
1-1/2 Tbsp. butter, melted


1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp. milk
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar


For the dough

  1. Beat together the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter and buttermilk.
  2. Add about 2 cups of the flour, the yeast and salt; beat until combined.
  3. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead until the dough clears the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds.
  5. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2.5 hours.
  6. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  7. Butter a 9×13-inch glass baking dish.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape and roll the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you, approximately 18×12-inches.
  9. Brush the dough with melted butter, leaving ½-inch border along the top edge.
  10. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough.
  11. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness.
  12. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1½-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls.
  13. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish, cover with plastic and let raise on a warm surface for about 30 minutes.
  14. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  15. Place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.
  16. While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese until creamy, then add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth.
  17. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

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