Grammy Rolls

These warm rolls have made Jenni Ridall's Christmas mornings forever memorable.

Jenni Ridall's Grammy Rolls
Photo: Peter Frank Edwards; Prop Styling and Floral Design: Sara York Grimshaw
Active Time:
40 mins
Rise Time:
1 hrs
Stand Time:
1 hrs
Bake Time:
30 mins
Rest Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 20 mins

When Jenni Ridall was a girl, the main event on December 25 wasn't the traditional midday meal, when they'd serve roast beef or pork. It was breakfast. She and her family would wake up to the sweet aroma of Grammy Rolls that had been rising while they slept. "My mom kept the original recipe for these rolls, which came from her grandmother, on an index card," she recalls. "They go back a long way in our family. It was always a tradition to prepare them on Christmas Eve to bake the next morning." When she was 10 or 11, her mother was busy raising three kids and stopped making them. "The recipe card was lost, and the rolls disappeared," says Ridall.

Years later, when she was in culinary school, Ridall and her mom tried to track it down. She asked some of her professors for guidance and attempted to re-create the rolls from memory countless times, with renewed determination. The recipe is essentially monkey bread, with balls of dough covered in cinnamon sugar. "I remember dipping the dough in melted butter and sugar. It was gooey, sticky, and fun, and it had the most wonderful cinnamon smell," she says. "My mom sent me her grandmother's thin aluminum tube pan, and I finally nailed it. I called Mom and said, 'We did it!'"

Prepared the night before and then baked first thing the next day, Ridall's cherished family recipe fills the house with cinnamon-scented cheer. These Grammy Rolls will be the sweetest start to your Christmas morning.


  • 2 cups warm whole milk (about 95°F)

  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided

  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 (¼-oz.) envelope active dry yeast (2¼ tsp.)

  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

  • 5 ¼ cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon

  • Powdered sugar, for topping


  1. Stir together milk, 4 tablespoons of the melted butter, and ¼ cup of the granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over top, and let stand until active and foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in salt.

  2. Attach dough hook to stand mixer. With mixer on low speed, add 5 cups of the flour, 1 cup at a time, until a shaggy dough starts to come together. Increase speed to medium, and mix until dough is smooth and tacky but will pull away cleanly from sides of bowl, about 5 minutes. Add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve this texture.

  3. Butter a large mixing bowl with softened butter. Form dough into a ball, and place in prepared bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at a warm room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.

  4. Pour remaining 5 tablespoons melted butter in a medium bowl. Whisk together cinnamon and remaining ¾ cup granulated sugar in a medium-size shallow bowl.

  5. Transfer dough to a clean work surface. Portion into roughly 45 (1-ounce) pieces. Cup your hand on top of 1 piece of dough. Gently press it against the counter, moving in a tight circular motion until you have a smooth ball. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.

  6. Dip each ball of dough in melted butter; then roll in cinnamon sugar to coat. Arrange dough in two to three layers in a 10-inch tube pan greased with butter. Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon sugar over dough in pan. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 1 hour, or chill dough overnight.

  7. If dough was chilled overnight, allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake rolls until puffy and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let rolls rest in pan 10 minutes before unmolding. While still warm, invert pan onto a serving platter or cake stand; tap to gently release rolls. Dust with powdered sugar, and serve warm.

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