Breads & Muffins · Uncategorized

Mandy’s Test Kitchen

When you hear about a family recipe that makes time stop and your mouth immediately water, you are convinced that you must see how it’s done. A good friend said her family’s traditional recipe for caramel rolls were the best breakfast (or maybe even dessert) in the world, so it was time to shine our Guest Test Kitchen spotlight in her direction. Mandy is a girl who normally eats in a healthy fashion, runs and bikes along the beach and generally maintains a great balance between enjoying food and living life. But it appears even the most balanced person can tip around caramel rolls! You be the judge. Or maybe we will if she offers to make another batch!

Following an interesting discussion with fellow foodies, I had this amazing realization that I do not associate food born from tradition as junk food – no matter how laden with fat, sugar or carbs it may be! This is definitely one of those recipes–a staple in the traditions of my family, reaching back to my childhood and weekends with my cousins up in Northern Minnesota. That tradition is so strong now that I forbid myself to keep the ingredients on hand, or I’ll make these decadent devils and devour them myself!

Caramel Rolls – Approximately 2 dozen
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more (melted) for brushing the dough and the baking dish
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 loaves frozen bread dough (This is Rhodes’ brand.)
White sugar

The recipe is super simple with just a few ‘must–haves’ only because that is what the women at Ernie’s Food Market in Staples, MN told my Aunt Gina 16 years ago! Thaw two loaves of frozen bread dough (must be frozen bread dough and only in the loaves, not rolls) until 70% thawed. Using just your hands, push the dough out so you get a nice sized rectangle upon which you lovingly adorn with a bit of melted butter, cinnamon and white sugar. Meanwhile, heat the ice cream, butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan. While this is melting, tightly roll your dough into a log and begin to cut 1-1 1/2” rolls and place in a buttered glass baking dish. (It is important to use glass and not metal so your rolls will cook evenly.) When your pan is full of rolls, pour on the caramel mixture. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, uncover your rolls and put them in a preheated oven at 325 degrees and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Take out the rolls and let them sit for a bit then invert onto a tray and enjoy!

Click HERE for the printable recipe.


21 thoughts on “Mandy’s Test Kitchen

  1. Oh my! Ultra rich version of the cinnamon bun but with caramel? Wow! And I do consider dessert healthy! It is good for my mental health!

  2. There is no way this is junk food – this is honest to goodness the best breakfast treats you could have. My mom made something similar when we were growing up and you just knew you were in for a good day when it started with these rolls.

  3. I’m with you! Some of the food that provokes the greatest childhood memories are not really that healthful for you, physically. But emotionally and mentally, they bring a certain joy that can’t be topped. We may not be able to eat them every day now. But when we do, they are truly special.

  4. Truth be told..I live by the motto ‘Life is short, eat dessert first’ You know what they say, ‘everything in moderation’, along woth exercise, and you’re good to go. Well..maybe I go a little above and beyond when it comes to dessert, but WTH lol

    That said, those caramel rolls look incredible – oeey gooey lovliness. Truth be told..I’d take those over the cinnamon rolls any day 🙂 Hope you’re both doing well..your blog continues to inspire and activate the salivary glands 🙂

  5. You need to send this around to the family and not just your dad’s side! What an amazing little story.

  6. Junk food to me is bought in a bag or fast food. I try and avoid both at all cost, but every once in a while loose my willpower. I would love these ooey, gooey cinnamon rolls.

  7. I think even the most healthy of us should still make room for dessert. Life without it just wouldn’t be fun! These caramel rolls sound amazing…they would be a total weakness of mine.

    I don’t think of homemade desserts as junk food either. With all of the blood sweat and tears that go into them, how could they be?

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