"If the God you believe in as an idea doesn’t start showing up in what happens to you in your own life, you have as much cause for concern as if the God you don’t believe in as an idea does start showing up. It is absolutely crucial, therefore, to keep in constant touch with what is going on in your own life’s story and to pay close attention to what is going on in the stories of others’ lives. If God is present anywhere, it is in those stories that God is present. If God is not present in those stories, then they are scarcely worth telling." ~ Frederick Buechner

22 March 2013

Ooey, Gooey Cinnamon Squares

*You can find my version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

I was just thinking recently that it might seem like I bake a lot. And to be honest, I do bake more now than I have over the past couple years, because it's a fun activity that B can "help" me do while also learning (numbers, names of different ingredients, distinguishing between "big" and "little" in terms of measuring cups and spoons, tasting a variety of spices, etc.).

I also have a lot more frozen bananas than ever before, because we buy big bunches now and don't always get through them all. Frozen bananas = yummy baked goods in our house.

Anyway, yesterday, I was looking at pizza dough in the refrigerated section of the grocery store (I was short on time for dinner, and the inspiration for pizza hit me too late in the day to make a homemade crust), when B requested cinnamon rolls.  He was scanning the shelves as I mulled over which dough to get, and stated, "B needing cimmamum wolls" accompanied by pointing and empathic nodding to indicate to me just how dire this "need" was.

Coincidentally, when N came home last night, he told me that they were having a potluck of sorts at work today.

I was more than happy to put aside my chores delegate my planned evening chores to N and whip up a couple batches of cinnamon bread.

By "whip up," I mean spend two and a half hours in dough. Because cinnamon bread is a time-consuming undertaking. All that heating and cooling and mixing and rising and kneading and rising and cutting and rising.

Maybe that's why I only make them about once a year.

Speaking of which, look how itty bitty Little B was back then.
Even on tippy-toes, his chubby little fingers barely reached the counter tops!


I use Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls 101 recipe for my cinnamon squares, but all that rolling and oozing is too much work for me. So I cut and stack them. Another shout out to my friend Danielle, The Loquacious Introvert, for enlightening me to the wisdom of cinnamon squares.

PDubs' recipe makes a million and a half cinnamon rolls, and really, I don't have a bunch of big, burly rancher-types to feed around here like she does. So I make half (sometimes a quarter) of her recipe.
As you can see, it makes plenty of dough that will turn into perfect squares of ooey gooey scrumptiousness.
I think what really makes this a huge hit is the icing though.
Oh, the icing. Mouth-wateringly decadent maple coffee icing. Mmmmm.

All that yummy bread just covered in that icing...
I have to say, I didn't use the icing last year, since we were limiting B's sugar (and caffeine!) intake, as he was only 14 months old at the time.

But this year, I went all out. He can handle a smidgen of caffeine, methinks.

(It really is only about 1/16 of a c of coffee, don't worry.)

We had a playdate scheduled this morning at a friend's house, but her older son threw up in the middle of the night. So although he was insisting he was better and wanted us to still come over and play, the mommies decided it was better to reschedule for next week.

Which means Little B and I are going to have to resist the temptation to eat an entire loaf of cinnamon squares all by ourselves today.

Except it's really about 2/3 of a loaf, because N and I couldn't help ourselves after they came out all warm and gooey from the oven last night. There's just nothing like freshly baked yummies with a tall glass of milk, is there?

Now I'd better go check on my son, who seems to have turned into a teenager overnight. It's past 9:30 and he's still sleeping! 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

RECIPE: Oooey, Gooey Cinnamon Squares
In a stainless steel, large pot, scald (don't boil!):
     *2 c whole milk
     *1/2 c oil (I used grapeseed, but any unflavored oil good for baking would work)
     *1/2 c sugar
Take it off the heat and allow it to cool to lukewarm (about 45 minutes).

Add 1 package of active dry yeast and allow it to soak the moisture in (about 15 minutes).

     *4 c all-purpose flour
     *1/2 heaping tsp baking powder
     *1/2 scant tsp baking soda
     *1/2 tsp salt
Mix thoroughly, cover, and allow to rise at least 1 hour. If you're making the dough ahead of time, you can set the entire pot in the refrigerator overnight.

Punch down your dough and roll it out into a large rectangle on a floured surface. Spread evenly on top:
     *3/4 c melted butter
     *1/4 c cinnamon
     *1 c sugar
Cut the dough into even strips lengthwise. Stack strips on top of one another. Cut into squares. Arrange squares into two greased loaf pans. Bake for 20 minutes at 400F.

While your dough is baking, make the icing by combining:
    *1/2 package powdered sugar
    *1/4 c whole milk
    *3 T butter
    *a smidgen of strong, brewed coffee (3-4 T)
    *a pinch of salt
    *1/2 T maple extract

As soon as you take the pans out of the oven, drizzle the icing all over the cinnamon squares, making sure to get into the "cracks." That's part of what makes them so "oooey gooey"! Remember, as PDubs says, "These are NOT non-caloric."



  1. Hannah, I have the pleasure of sitting behind "N" at work, with the move to our new desk's I will again have the pleasure of sharing my cubicle pod with him! I am happy with that! (Has he told you we even got window seats, very exciting for us, well me anyway) Every yummy morsel he has brought in that you have baked has been absolutely delicious. Thank you for baking for our food/potluck days! Melony

    1. Hi, Melony! Thanks so much for popping over to visit my blog and for your sweet note. I'm happy to bake and send goodies when I have the time. :~)

      N's looking forward to those windows, too!

  2. Good afternoon, Hannah! The windows are everything we were hoping they would be. N keeps saying, "Wait until Ed Rust finds out we have window seat!" I keep saying quit saying that so he won't find out. :) Happy Monday! I look forward to checking in on your blog! M

    1. Thanks for checking in, Melony! I'm so glad you're all enjoying those windows. There's just something about being able to see a little bit of blue sky and sunshine that is so uplifting for our spirits! Happy Monday to you as well! I hope the remaining couple hours at work fly by!

  3. Oh, how yummy! What a delicious treat.

    1. They really are and so much quicker (and less messy) than rolls. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. These look wonderful! I am going to have to try them. Soon.

    1. Oh, definitely do! They're scrumptious! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a note!