Is it me, or is cinnamon one of the toughest words to spell in the English language?
Nevertheless, the stuff sure is delicious – especially when combined with sugar, flour, butter and copious amounts of icing.
Cinnamon buns, or cinnamon rolls if you prefer that terminology, have long been one of Z’s favorite treats. I can’t say I mind them much, either.
We learned to make them once at an epic cinnamon roll baking class for families at Glass Rooster Cannery many years ago. Our home-made ones tasted absolutely delicious, but it was such an intensive process that we haven’t done it since.
That’s why, in an effort to brighten up these early months of 2021 and get us through winter, our family has decided to embark on a cinnamon bun tour of Columbus. Since we live slightly north of Columbus, we’re including Delaware, Ohio, too.
Here is the first round of reviews on our 2021 cinnamon roll tour!
Corner Bakery Cafe, Polaris area – Interestingly, the Corner Bakery’s online menu does not include cinnamon rolls, but when we rolled up to the drive-through last week, they were there loud and proud on the menu screen. Corner Bakery’s cinnamon roll is a lot like Panera’s (in fact, one could say that Corner Bakery is a Panera knockoff in its entirety). It looks great but upon first bite one realizes it’s just too much, too sweet and too dry. Our fam gave it a 2.5 out of 5 stars.
Ikea, Polaris area – You may think of the Swedish superstore as a place for furniture, but they also make a pretty great, not too sweet cinnamon bun. You can park at the cafe tables and eat a cinnamon bun there at the store, or you can pick up a packaged tray of six and bring them home to warm up on a weekend morning and delight your family. We have a holiday tradition of picking up a tray on Christmas Eve so we can heat them up Christmas morning. Yum! Our fam gave these a 4 out of 5 stars.
Hamburger Inn Diner, Delaware – This charming old diner in downtown Delaware is known for its burgers, breakfasts and – you guessed it – legendary cinnamon buns. They are huge and have a unique maple frosting which our fam gave mixed reviews. I loved how soft, generously sized, reasonably priced and obviously freshly baked these cinnamon buns were. Still, if you’re a purist like our Z, you may turn up your nose at the maple frosting. Our fam average score was 3 out of 5 stars.
Cinnabon, Polaris Fashion Place – The roll, the myth, the legend. Now available in a variety of sizes and even a Caramel Pecan spinoff, the Cinnabon is the classic cinnamon roll for us and a gold standard by which all others are measured. Yes, I know it’s a chain and I prefer to support small local businesses, but we have to recognize the greatest cinnamon bun of all time for its tender dough, cinnamon-richness and perfect balance of sweet frosting. Our fam average score was 5 out of 5 stars. It’s tough to beat perfection. That said, Cinnabon will not be counted in the final score out of fairness to the others cinnamon buns.
The Dipped Donut, Delaware – We were pleasantly surprised our first time trying cinnamon buns from the Dipped Donut. After all, they don’t even receive top billing here – but they definitely should. This cinnamon roll was big, tender, not too sweet and had the perfect homemade flavor. This was by far our favorite non-Cinnabon cinnamon bun and is the local winner of round one of our tour with a solid 5/5 stars! The Dipped Donut even makes a gluten-free cinnamon bun which also gets rave reviews. We’ll have to try that one next time.
I’m going to need a short break – and a few glasses of ice cold milk – before I can even look at another cinnamon roll. But don’t despair, after a few palate cleansers, our cinnamon roll tour will continue in the coming months.
In the meantime, if you have a favorite place to get cinnamon rolls, please let us know in the comments below or over on Facebook so we can add them to our list of contenders.
An ambitious baker at heart, I’m going to suggest baking them again at home, but with one specific recipe, and in 2 stages, which makes them waaaaay more manageable than all at once. As much as I love to bake, yeast baking scared the pants off of me until I decided to conquer the yeast, that is, after I could actually score some, at the beginning of the pandemic, when apparantly everyone decided to conquer yeast baking. While baking these in one shot was a bit of an ordeal, I found that letting the dough rise once, filling, rolling, cutting and then freezing for later use was much more manageable. This recipe is the best I’ve had including the gold standard, Cinnabon, which I only ever allow myself in airports. Airline travel has become so completely miserable that I rationalize airport Cinnabon calories can’t possibly count. Anyway, there’s still likely going to be some cold (baking!) days ahead, where you might tackle these again at home, following the directions where you make the rolls, freeze them, then delight your family by taking them out the evening before a cozy weekend morning, and completing the second rise and bake on the morning where the glorious cream cheese frosting is made. The author details how to do this in a very clear and approachable way, and by now, you don’t even need to sell a kidney to score yeast anymore….. Happy baking!
This sounds wonderful, Christine – I’ll give it a go and let you know how we fare!
Next time in Delaware, grab a made-from-scratch cinnamon roll at Fresh Start Cafe & Bakery.
Hi! This is probably a bit far out for you, but I recommend Rolls by the Pound in Newark, OH. They specialize in cinnamon rolls & they’re probably the best I’ve ever had.
You need to try Cinnaswirl cinnamon rolls that are sold at the Powell Farmers Market and by delivery. THEY are the absolute BEST rolls in the world!!
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