Papa Morehead’s Cinnamon Rolls


What you are about to read is one of the great treasures of the Morehead estate. Ever since I was a kid, my father — who gave us permission to post this recipe — has made a batch of these cinnamon rolls for special occasions (e.g., Christmas, Thanksgiving).

He’ll usually do all of the preparation the night before, sometimes even after everyone else has gone to bed, and then get up early the next morning to throw the rolls into the oven, thus ensuring that we have nice, warm — and very gooey — cinnamon rolls waiting for us when we wake up.

And yes, there really is a secret ingredient in the “goop”, but no, I don’t know what it is. My father has an odd sense of humor, and has entrusted this hidden knowledge to his daughters-in-law but not to his very own sons. Renae isn’t talking, so your guess is as good as mine.

Ingredients – Dough

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups all-purpose flour

Ingredients – Filling

  • 1/2 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • Raisins (optional, should be mandatory)

Ingredients – Goop (aka, the best part)

  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk or cream
  • Secret Ingredient

Ingredients – Icing (Optional, we never add it, FWIW)

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons warm milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Soften yeast in warm water with sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Scald milk and let it cool to 110 degrees. Add in sugar, shortening, and salt.
  3. Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
  4. Mix 1 cup of flour and the milk mixture in a large mixing bowl for 2 minutes.
  5. Add beaten eggs and mix on “High” for 2 minutes.
  6. Add softened yeast and mix gently with spoon.
  7. Gradually mix in remaining flour to form a soft ball of dough.
  8. Cover mixing bowl and let dough rise until it’s doubled in size (approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours)
  9. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and spread it into an 18″ x 10″ rectangle with a rolling pin.
  10. Spread softened butter/margarine over the dough, followed by brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. (Make sure the dough is thoroughly covered, so use more butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins if necessary.)
  11. Roll up the dough tightly from the long side.
  12. Cut into 1″ thick slices.
  13. Place slices cut-side down in a greased 13″ x 9″ plan and let them rise until double in size (approximately 30-40 minutes).
  14. Preheat oven to 350 degrees while waiting for slices to rise.
  15. To prepare the goop, melt the butter/margarine, brown sugar, white sugar, evaporated milk/cream, and secret ingredient together in a large saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. Do not let the mixture boil.
  16. Pour goop over the raised slices.
  17. Place slices in oven and let them bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  18. Remove rolls from pan immediately when done: to do so, place the pan upside down on a foil-lined cookie sheet and let rolls slide out.
  19. To prepare the icing, whisk confectioner’s sugar, warm milk, and vanilla together in a bowl until the mixture is smooth.
  20. Drizzle icing over the cooled rolls.

One Response

  1. Dick has not even told me (his wife) the secret ingredient. Rumor has it that Renae may have whispered it to Simon when he was helping grandpa make the rolls, but Simon isn’t talking either. LOL Simon loves grandpa’s cinnamon rolls along with the rest of us. Hope you enjoy them.

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