A cinnamon roll is made of yeasted dough consisting milk, yeast, eggs, butter, sugar, and flour. The dough is rolled out, spread with butter and sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, sometimes raisins and nuts, rolled into a log like a Swiss roll. The log is divided crosswise, baked, and topped with an icing made with cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar.
Cinnamon rolls were invented in a time when sugar, butter, and spices were commonplace. That brought us back to the mid 17th to 18th century when Northern European bakers had mastered the rich, butter-infused yeast doughs: the French shaped them into buns to make brioche; the Dutch fried them in oil to make doughnuts. In time, the Germans invented Schneken, the Swedes kanelbulle, and the English Chelsea buns, all of them antecedents to what we now know as the cinnamon roll.