My family makes cinnamon rolls like others make sandwiches. A couple dozen are the go-to breakfast treat for family gatherings, a standard request at church bake sales and a traditional offering for friends with a new baby or home. We use no set recipe. I prefer a milk- or sour cream-based dough, which comes out buttery smooth. My sister, when she is in mass-production mode (10-12 dozen), uses a basic recipe with water as the primary liquid, which produces a very light roll.
Nor are we committed to the idea of cinnamon as the filling. The hands-down best variation is the roll that takes humble peanut butter and elevates it to creamy baked sophistication—satisfying to kids but more grown-up than the main ingredient implies.
The mechanics are the same, but instead of covering the dough in melted butter, cinnamon and sugar, the dough is rolled with a crumb-like filling of peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar (see recipe). The leftover peanut butter crumbles are then whipped with milk to make a sublime frosting. The combination is not too sweet and all nostalgia—a real crowd pleaser once your guests get over their initial skepticism.