In 1984, Ted and Joyce Rice put Kansas City on the cinnamon roll map.
Ted was a camera man for KCTV5. Joyce was an elementary school teacher. To make extra money, they made and sold cinnamon rolls at state fairs, arts and craft shows and festivals.
Ted and Joyce’s rolls flash-danced over your taste buds.
They were addicting.
By 1986, the Rices opened the first T.J. Cinnamons at Ward Parkway Shopping Center.
Growing too fast spelled the demise of this local business, now owned by Wendy’s. Today, you have to go to Texas to taste a fresh T.J. Cinnamons cinnamon roll.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a homemade treat that channels Kansas City’s sweet and spicy history.Classic Cinnamon Rolls
This classic dough makes a cinnamon roll with a sweet flavor and a feathery crumb. Adapted from I Love Cinnamon Rolls! by Judith Fertig.Makes 12 large rolls
Dough: 1 cup whole milk 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1/3 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading 2 1/2 teaspoons instant or bread machine yeast
Pan sauce: 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Filling: 1 cup packed dark brown sugar 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/8 teaspoon salt
Frosting: 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/8 teaspoon salt
To prepare the dough:
In a 4-cup measuring cup, combine the milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until warm. Whisk in the eggs.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the flour and yeast. Add the liquid ingredients. Mix on low speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time, until the dough forms a soft mass and starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove the paddle attachment and switch to the dough hook. With the mixer on low, start kneading the dough with the dough hook. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour, if necessary, to keep the dough from sticking to the sides of the bowl. When the dough is smooth, not sticky, and springs back when you press it with your finger, you’ve kneaded enough (about 4 to 6 minutes).
Place the dough in a large, oiled mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm place at room temperature until almost doubled, about for 45 to 60 minutes.
For the pan sauce:
Spread the butter in the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch pan.
For the filling:
Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
Then, proceed with the rest of the cinnamon roll recipe.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll out to 16- by 20-inch rectangle. Spread with the butter and sprinkle with the topping. Starting with a shorter side, roll up the dough to form a 16-inch tight cylinder. Cut the cylinder into 12 rolls. Place in the prepared pan.
Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until lightly browned on top.
For the frosting:
Blend the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla in the bowl until smooth. Spread over the warm rolls.
Award-winning cookbook author Judith Fertig lives, cooks, bakes, grills and writes in Overland Park, Kan. She is the author of “Heartland: The Cookbook” and “I Love Cinnamon Rolls,” and the co-author of “The Gardener and the Grill” and the IACP award winning “The Back in the Swing Cookbook.”