Simple Cinnamon Roll Biscuits

A zero-proof, and fool-proof recipe to eliminate obstacles for cinnamon rolls (or tricky decents).

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Season: Fall, Winter
Dosha: Pitta, Vata

originally published in August 2016

“The problem is not the problem. Its your attitude about the problem.” – Captain Jack Sparrow

I remember many a time, not that long ago, standing at the top of a tricky, loose, rocky descent squeezing the brakes of my mountain bike and quivering from the inside out. I knew that the rocks weren’t going to jump out and take me down, and I knew that the only way to navigate them safely was to choose a line, gain some speed, and commit. But, I also didn’t trust myself to choose a line, didn’t like the way my brain would go to disastrous places in the middle of the decent; places so dark I’d falter or fall. And then I’d bleed.

But all those times felt a million miles away the other weekend when a little crew of my favorite girlfriends and I packed our bikes, bikinis and a change of clothes and headed to the little town of Buena Vista a few hours from home. We had our sights set on some of the areas’ most beautiful mountain biking terrain; terrain I had never ridden, on mountains I had never seen, and there were sure to be tricky, loose, rocky descents galore. We spent all weekend ripping through aspen groves, fluttering the daisies, columbine flowers and wild roses as we whooshed past. We climbed tricky grades covered with roots and boulders, and wound our way through forests only to find ourselves in the middle of fields that made us feel on top of the world. If there was a line I couldn’t navigate, I don’t remember where it was. If there was a lack of trust in myself, I never felt it, and if there was a dark place lurking behind the grin that I wore ear to ear as I played in this beautiful backyard with these bold babes, I never detected it. Nothing, really, had changed for me…except my attitude about how to approach the obstacles in my path. And, it really wasn’t until, at the end of the weekend – when we’d ridden so hard and tackled so many obstacles subliminally – that we found ourselves having a hard time processing them. And then we just rolled over that shit.

It’s absolutely true that we’re more brave when we know we’re not in it alone – no matter what “it” is. Hearing the whoops of this babe squad filling the forest, I knew that whatever lie ahead was either a simply wonderful challenge, or just wonderfully simple and I didn’t think a bit about it. Rather than focus on the obstacles ahead, all I could think about was getting up to the origin of that enthusiasm and being part of it.

The same held true for finding a way to get cinnamon rolls on the table when we woke up in Buena Vista on Saturday morning. Bike adventures are nothing to me if there aren’t treats involved and this was no exception. This time the girls requested cinnamon rolls, but recipes calling for yeast-raised dough posed a problem; I wouldn’t have time to make the dough on the night we arrived at the house, and I couldn’t guarantee that the temperature of the dough would stay cold on the car ride to Buena Vista. Instead, I wanted a formula that would be easy for me to pack, transport to the high-country, and then whip up with just a few steps in the morning before we left to ride. We were so excited to eat cinnamon rolls for breakfast that I couldn’t imagine it any other way. And I couldn’t allow these silly dough-fermentation obstacles to bring me down.

The inspiration for the recipe came first from Meredith, (who raised her emoji-hand immediately when I asked for requests for breakfast pastries and typed CINNAMON ROLLS!) and then from a Moosewood Cookbook recipe she remembers making for her teammates years ago; one leavened by baking powder. In my kitchen, the recipe became less nutmeg-y and a little more cinnamon-y. Then there was an easy little vanilla bean glaze added.  They were wonderfully simple to make, and absolutely part of the enthusiasm of the weekend; making our getaway breakfast feel special and ceremonial, and the leftovers held up well in our backpacks to be eaten at the top of Georgia Pass so these quick cinnamon rolls will be whipped up again and again for weekend rides where satisfying, sweet, trail treats are an order.

Dancing on Monarch Crest

A few notes: the directions below give you guidance as if you were going to make the biscuits in your kitchen in one fell swoop. But, I can’t emphasize just how great these are for a camping trip, road trip or weekend getaway or anywhere you might be cooking away from home. See the recipe notes below for instructions on how to take these delectable rolls on the road!

Georgia Pass

No obstacle to cinnamon rolls (or tricky decents) is a reasonable one! xx – L

Recipe Notes

  • Take ’em to go: In individual plastic bags, measure out the ingredients for the cinnamon-sugar, the dry biscuit mix and then the powdered sugar for the glaze. When you arrive at your destination, buy the proper measure of cream and then mix all the components. Roll out (hopefully not with a wine bottle, but so ya know, it WILL work if your rental kitchen doesn’t have a rolling pin!) Then bake, and enjoy.
  • Dairy-free: I imagine you could use dairy-milk alternative in lieu of milk if dairy is an obstacle for you, although I haven’t tried it. If you do, let me know how it goes for you!
  • Spices: You can add more spices here, like cardamom, or more cinnamon, if you like. Don’t be afraid, mix it up and get creative!
  • Equipment: A pie plate is recommended for these cinnamon rolls, because it’s so darn easy to pack on-the-go. Otherwise an 8×8 baking pan will work just fine.
  • Storage: Cinnamon rolls keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Flavor Notes

Flavors are FUN, yes, but they also are the mechanisms by which our bodies nourish themselves. Flavors basically tell our bodies what the food is giving us – on a nutritional and energetic level. Our bodies then prepare enzymes to break those components down, assimilate them, and turn them into fuel for our vibrant lives. We can’t eat just one flavor and get all of the things we need, so learning to track the flavors in our foods helps us to be sure that we’re really getting all of the things we need in our meals. This particular recipe has three of six flavors. The more flavors we can enjoy in any meal or food, the happier and more balanced our bodies will be. If you’re wanting to learn more about how the flavors we eat fuel our bodies – energetically and nutritively, check out this little blog post.

  • SWEET: butter, sugars
  • SALTY: salt
  • SOUR: N/A
  • ASTRINGENT: cinnamon

Simple Cinnamon Roll Biscuits

A zero-proof, and fool-proof recipe to eliminate obstacles for cinnamon rolls (or tricky decents).

makes 8 cinnamon rolls


Active Time: 45 minutes


Serves: rolls


for the biscuits:

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (297.5ml) heavy cream

for the filling:

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter (melted)
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

for the icing:

  • 1/2 cup (60g) powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp whole milk


  • 1Prep to bake

    Preheat the oven to 425℉ and place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven.
  • 2Make dough

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cream and stir with a wooden spoon until a rough dough comes together.

    Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly-floured surface. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds, or until smooth.

    If the dough seems dry, add more cream, 1 Tbsp at a time.

  • 3Form rolls

    Roll the dough into a 9×12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter.

    In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle evenly over the surface of the dough.

    Starting at one of the long sides, roll the dough into a cylinder. Cut the cylinder into 8 equal pieces. Lay the pieces down flat and press down each piece to flatten slightly, then transfer to a pie plate. Repeat with all the pieces.

  • 4Bake + drizzle

    Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown.

    Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.

    Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk and drizzle the icing over the biscuits. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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