Mom’s cinnamon rolls in 20 minutes**

I can thank my Mother for all of my baking skills and most of my cooking skills. She has a pie crust that has yet to be beat. Every time Christmas came around or there was a bake sale or picnic, Mom’s desserts were the best by far. I’m sure many people think their Mom is the best cook around, but when I think of all the foods I’ve tried, she always makes the top five list of “best things I ever ate.” I have visions of going on that Food Network show and proclaiming to the world, “my Mom’s cinnamon rolls are the best thing I ever ate. My Mom makes them. Sucks that your Mom doesn’t make them… BOO YA!”

When Mr. Los Angeles visited my house for Christmas the first time, he experienced all of the Greatest Hits of Mom’s cooking. His assessment is as accurate as my own. On a side note, I introduced him to pecans. His family always used walnuts. A small detail but one that would change his perspective on desserts forever.

Most holidays or special occasions called for her pecan cinnamon rolls. She snagged the recipe from the food section of The Oregonian many moons ago and ever since they’ve been a Christmas morning staple. The process starts the night before by bringing and egg to room temperature (and we always found creative ways to do this) and making the dough. The next morning she’d get up at the crack of dawn to roll out the dough, do the filling, let the rolls rise and bake.

The L.A. Lady is not a morning person. She does not do breakfast before 10am despite numerous sources telling her it’s important for her health. But when a Lady gets a craving, something must be done. And fast. If not attended to, chaos ensues and then it’s a trip to Cinnabon and the mental health outfall from going to a Cinnabon, plus the physical results of downing what’s basically 2,000 calories of sugar, bread and fat in a sitting. And you know you get that extra little tub of frosting “just for funsies.”

I propose an alternative.

Observe the crescent roll.


The ‘Murrican lazy version of the croissant. It is the rice of pastry. You can pair it with anything: sausage, cheese, fruit, tomato sauce, jelly, pie filling, veggies, french fries, you name it. It works. My first foray into Crescent Roll Experimentation was at Thanksgiving when Mr. LA was responsible for the rolls. I suggested basting the dough triangles with butter and cinnamon. Results: excellent. We were dipping those cinnaminny-bites into the sweet potato casserole and it was a hit. At Christmas, it was garlic butter. BAM: interesting rolls. Do these rolls need more butter? Nope. Let’s not talk about it.

So while I was browsing Pintrest and saw some crescent rolls covered in what appeared to be cinnamon roll frosting, I didn’t even have to look at the recipe. So now this happens…

Mom’s Overnight No Knead Sticky Buns: Crescent Edition. 

  • 1 package crescent rolls (I use Trader Joe’s crescent rolls. There’s 8 in a can)
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 4 TBSP butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 c. chopped nuts. Pecans, of course. You can use some raisins if you’re not into nuts.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or whatever it says on your package of crescent rolls). Mix together brown sugar, butter, vanilla, nuts and cinnamon in a small bowl with a fork. The resulting mixture should look crumbly. If you think you melted your butter too much, stick the bowl in the fridge for 10-15 minutes and let the butter harden again.




Distribute the filling evenly between the dough triangles and then spread the mixture out to coat evenly. Roll the triangles and pop into the oven for 12-14 minutes (or whatever it says on the package).

The next phase is optional awesome.

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • a little more vanilla extract if you want.


While the rolls are in the oven, mix these ingredients in a bowl. Specifically, mix them in the bowl that you were using to mix the filing. That way it’ll catch any/all of the leftover brown sugar and cinnamon and you’ll get a caramel-colored frosting. Having less dishes to clean is always a bonus, too. When the rolls are done and hot out of the oven, drizzle over the top. I like using a plastic sandwich bag with a very tiny hole cut into the bottom corner, otherwise known as the poor man’s pastry bag. Or you can dip them into the frosting LIKE A BOSS. I don’t judge.

If you’d like to try your hand at The Real Thing, download the recipe here.


**within reason. Most things that are quick are just that. Quality takes time. Thanks, mom.

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