Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls

About 15 years ago, I started cooking in cast iron. The cinnamon rolls are one of the first recipes I ever attempted, and they have become our Christmas morning tradition. I like cast iron because your cooking ware goes from stovetop to oven every time. My skillet not only makes scrambled eggs but also serves as a cinnamon roll baking dish.

Over the years, I’ve made a number of variations on this recipe including adding peanut butter, walnuts and even cherries or strawberry jam to the inside and top of the rolls.

These cinnamon rolls are easy to make when traveling or visiting family. They looked like you slaved in the kitchen but your work can be spread out over 2 days. You will need to use a rolling pin, however, an empty wine bottle works well in a pinch.

This cinnamon roll recipe can be halved easily. The recipe below feeds a family of 6-8. I will typically halve the recipe and save the remaining cake mix and flour in a separate bag for use another time. You can also freeze the remaining cinnamon rolls for later baking.

Iron Skillet Cinnamon Rolls

1 yellow cake mix (not pudding)
5 c. flour
1 pkg. dry yeast
2 1/2 c. warm water
3 sticks butter, room temperature
1/2 c. white sugar
1 1/2 c. brown sugar, divided
1 c. pecans pieces
cinnamon, as desired

In a large bowl, combine cake mix and flour. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add dissolved yeast to cake mix/flour mixture. Mix with wooden spoon and hands. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 1/2-inch thick. Butter dough. Combine 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and cinnamon to taste. Sprinkle over buttered dough. Roll long-ways and cut into 24 rolls.

Butter bottom and sides of two 10-inch cast iron skillets, approximately 1 stick per pan. Sprinkle buttered skillets with remaining brown sugar and pecans. Put rolls in skillets and let rise 1 hour.

Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately turn rolls out of skillets onto plates. Scrape out any caramel that remains and spread on the cinnamon rolls.

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