Mary Janet MacDonald's cinnamon roll recipe

Published April 14, 2020 10:45 a.m. ET
Updated May 15, 2020 10:23 a.m. ET

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HALIFAX -- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and have your cookie sheet ready with some parchment paper lining your pan.

Ingredients for dough:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 6 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 heaping tbsp. white sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening or butter
  • 2 cups of milk

Ingredients for filling:

  • butter or becel
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon


  1. Mix the dry ingredients -- flour, baking powder, salt and white sugar -- with your hands.
  2. Add ½ cup shortening (or butter – your choice – and make sure it’s at room temperature) and blend it into the flour with your hands until crumbly (mealy).
  3. Make a well in centre and add 2 cups of milk. 
  4. With a fork – scrape all the flour into the milk and combine until all the flour is absorbed and you have the dough nicely combined. 
  5. Sprinkle a little flour onto your counter and form the dough into a ball and place on the floured surface.
  6. Sprinkle a bit of flour on the dough and on your rolling pin and roll out until about ½ inch thickness.
  7. You can use butter (or I use Becel because it’s nice and soft) and spread some all over the surface of the rolled out dough – just like you were spreading  peanut butter on the surface of a slice of bread.
  8. Now add some brown sugar – sprinkle enough on – probably more than a cup, maybe a cup and a half - until all spread out all over the surface and right to the edges.
  9. Now, sprinkle cinnamon over the complete surface – don’t be shy. 
  10. Roll up the dough like a jelly roll.
  11. With a serrated bread knife, cut off both ends of the roll (these pieces you can cook on your second pan) but for now – cut your slices about ¾ inch thick and place on the cookie sheet.  (I use a stoneware 9x13” pan as I find they scorch easily in a metal pan – or perhaps you might want to try a lower temperature if you are using a metal pan.)
  12. Bake for 18 minutes on middle rack (18 minutes in my oven – yours might be done at 14 minutes - check often). 

This will make about 15 cinnamon rolls.  

While they’re baking – make the frosting/glaze:

  • 3 tablespoons of soft butter or Becel
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • About 2 cups of icing sugar
  • A little bit of milk

Combine ingredients in a bowl. If too thick, add a bit more milk until you have a nice consistency – similar to peanut butter.

Spread over warm cinnamon rolls. 

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