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Food Nerdery: Princess Leia Cinnamon Buns

Food Nerdery: Princess Leia Cinnamon Buns

Hello! My name’s Rachael, and I’ll be your resident Food Nerdist. I’ll be providing you with nerdy recipes and other foodie ephemera that catches my eye. For my first ever post for The Nerdist, I decided I’d share a recipe for my most favorite cinnamon rolls ever. The only thing easier than that Princess Leia/cinnamon bun joke is this recipe. These cinnamon rolls are the perfect combo of sweet and cinnamon-y and buttery, and you can easily make these for breakfast or brunch or for my favorite time of day: watching “Metalocalypse” with a glass (or bottle, whatever) of red wine.

Little note: I tend to be pretty cavalier with my recipes in the kitchen. I tried to be as clear as possible with ingredients and techniques, but if you have any questions about the recipe, let me know, and I’ll try to clear them up in the comments!

Before you start anything, take a stick of butter and let it come to room temperature. Seriously, don’t forget to let it soften and then try to thaw it out in the microwave, and then half of it melts all over the bottom of the microwave and your hands and small appliances get all greasy. It’s no good. So before the cinnamon roll train leaves the station, DO THIS!

Then! Take a bag of 12 biscuits and lay them out on a heavily floured board in three rows of four like so:

The frozen biscuits are the best because the bag automatically comes with 12 biscuits in it, so you don’t have to do any math, or open those godforsaken exploding biscuit tubes or anything. I use the butter-flavored ones because they are awesome. If you look closely, you can see the little bits of yellow fake-y butter product in the dough, and, as everybody knows, fake butter chunks = delicious. Make sure the board has plenty of flour on it so that when you roll out the dough later, it doesn’t get all gross and stuck to the board.

Then you wait. The biscuits need to thaw for about 30 minutes, or until they’re soft and still cold but before they get all gummy and melted. Go check your e-mail, or watch an episode of “Futurama,” or run up and down the stairs a few times to compensate for the thousands of calories you’re about to consume, because, seriously, you will want to eat all of these things.

Once the biscuits have reached the perfect level of thaw, squench the dough together to fill the holes between biscuits and gently roll them out into a big rectangle that measures about 10″ by 12″. Tear off some biscuit from the edge to fill in any holes as needed.

After you get the dough all rolled out, take half a stick of that room temperature butter and spread it all over the dough. Your hand is a good tool for this, so you don’t mess up the lovely dough you just rolled out.

Then mix together 3/4 of a cup of brown sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon (this can vary depending on how much you like cinnamon. I love cinnamon) and pat it evenly onto your dough, making sure it sticks. Leave about an inch on the top bare so that when you roll the cinnamon roll log up, it will close shut. Then sprinkle 1/2 a cup of chopped pecans on top. If you’re not from the South, you could put walnuts in there, or you could add raisins if you’re a jerk.


Now roll up the entire thing, starting with the bottom edge. If the dough is stuck to the board, take a spatula (or a dough scraper, if you have one) and some flour and unstick the dough from the board while slowly rolling it into a lovely cinnamon roll log. Then cut your dough log into 12 equal pieces and put on an aluminum foil-covered pan that you’ve sprayed judiciously with Pam.

This would be the point in time at which you could freeze some of the cinnamon rolls, in case you don’t need a whole dozen tempting you from across the room. If you’re like me, and you’ve got an entire season of “Metalocalypse” to get through, you’ll want to make them all. Set them on the pan about half an inch apart.

Then bake them at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until the rolls in the middle are golden brown, to make sure that everything is baked through. While the rolls are still warm, beat together the other 1/2 stick of softened butter, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract with a mixer until it all comes together in a thick paste, and spread the frosting all over hot the rolls and watch as they morph into the best ever.

Then all that’s left to do is to stuff them in your face as fast as possible while they’re still warm, or, if you’re an idiot like me, you can do this:


If you want to know more about me, visit my awesome blog, follow me on Twitter @gaggingtowards, or check out my Kickstarter project to raise money for my book about grown-up picky eating. In lieu of donations, I will take the gooey, unbaked centers of your cinnamon rolls.

Images: Rachael Oehring

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  1. Paula says:

    Looks yummy!!! Going to try it!

  2. Alec says:

    have made these three times since I saw this and there amazing! im a pastry chef by trade and love the simplicity and room for grow with them 🙂 amazing!

  3. Brynn says:

    i gotta admit, those look way better than cinnamonsters. i’m guessing your special ingredient is nerd love, yes?

  4. Dan says:

    “…or you could add raisins if you’re a jerk.”

    YAY! A food nerd and NO raisins! I LOVE YOU!

  5. Tess says:

    I’m going to whip these up just so I can say ghat I squenched something. Thanks!

  6. Geoff says:

    Awesome first post, food nerdist! Looking forward to more.

  7. Sara says:

    Thanks to Comedy Death Ray and James Adomian’s take on Merrill Shindler, I can’t see the word “buttery” and not feel a tad nauseous.

    Otherwise, I loved this article and look forward to further installments!

  8. Patti says:

    cate ~ I think she was talking about the Pillsbury frozen biscuits. I know the Grands ones that aren’t frozen have the chunks of fake butter. No doubt the frozen kind do as well. Meat biscuits? LOL!

  9. cate says:

    cannot wait to make these! do you suggest a particular brand of biscuits? i am, how you say, utterly incompetent in the kitchen, and i just want to make sure when i whip this out for guests i don’t accidentally use some sort of meat biscuit. oh god, that’s not a real thing, is it?

  10. bubblefett says:

    Hmmmm. Okay do you have like a Mod to turn these into sticky buns?

  11. Curtis says:

    NO! Tasty food goes in the mouth, not on the ears! Preferably my mouth!

    Seriously, though, they look great. Welcome, Nerdist.

  12. Patti says:

    Wow, a food nerdist?? I wanted to do that, but welcome, Rachael! (Guess I shoulda acted on that. Oh, well.) You did, so you win. LOL! How nerdy are Princess Leia Cinnamon Buns? They sound fantastic, btw. I guess if you have recipes with titles like that, you deserve this position. 🙂 Looking forward to more nerdilicious recipes!

  13. But will they do +1 to magical attacks?

  14. housel says:

    wow. these look awesome! i will definitely make these. thank you for the delicious recipe, food nerd. you have won my heart!
    nom nom nom

  15. Corey says:

    I SO know what I’m doing this weekend. Good stuff!

  16. Alicia says:

    This site just keeps getting better and better. Welcome, Food Nerdist!
    I shall be making these tomorrow.