A few years after moving to Michigan my dear friend, Robin Taylor, told me a tall tale. She said, "Ya know, here in Michigan there's a place that serves a cinnamon roll the size of your head."
"What?!" NO!" I cried in disbelief. I had never heard of such a thing--a mythical and, dare I add, audacious, baked good the size of one's head. Who thought of such a thing? What visionary dared to dream so big? And, the real question, why the heck was this so intriguing to me? Well, if you've ever read one of my novels, you know how much I love my mythical, legendary, and unexplained phenomenon. I also love to bake.
Now, while I'm a self-admitted sucker for all things Nessie, and Sasquatch, and mysterious, this larger-than-life baked good really captured my imagination. I've been baking since I was a kid. I was making big cinnamon rolls before Cinnabon was making big cinnamon rolls. Heck, I even went on my late 80's Cinnabon kick--like everyone else who hung out at a shopping mall and was tempted by the heavenly scent of a warm bread dough wrapped in sweet cinnamon and topped with gobs of gooey frosting. Those were sinful enough. And so damaging to the waistline! I'll venture to say that Cinnabon was likely the catalyst that sparked the whole low-carb movement. But I digress. Yet as ridiculous as the Cinnabon was, there was now something else out there even more audacious--a cinnamon roll the size of one's head.
Of course, I put this legendary baked good on the back-burner and went about my daily life, raising kids, writing books, going on family adventures, and dabbling in the kitchen. Then, years later, while on a trip to the U.P. (Upper Peninsula) with the family, we stopped for breakfast at a little backwater eatery called the Hilltop Restaurant. And there it was, the Michigan legend itself! I had finally found the cinnamon roll the size of my head!
Needles to say, I was amazed. It took a family effort to take this "sweet roll" down, and we enjoyed every sugary, sinful, scrumptious bite of it.
Now, while there is no substitute for this Michigan classic (because it really was worth the 8 hour drive!), I've gathered my cinnamon roll recipes, did a little research on the internet, and have tried to recreate this wonder at home.
. **DISCLAIMER** THIS IS NOT THE ACTUAL HILLTOP RECIPE. IT'S A COPYCAT!
My effort was, well... a bit larger than my head. Actually, my cinnamon roll was the size of a platter. Yes, it was warm, gooey, and sinfully delicious. Again, it took a family effort to eat. In fact, it was a two-day Hannah challenge, and, of course, we were up to it. But the real heart of this story was that my cinnamon roll adventure had come full circle. I had heard the legend. I had hunted for it. And, by the grace of God and a very long drive, I had found it. It was my own folly to try to recreate it, never realizing I'd make my own legend--a cinnamon roll the size of a plate! But I'm glad I did, because now you can make it too.
Please click here or visit my recipe page to print out a copy of this recipe, or you can just click on the picture of the Hilltop Restaurant above and order a dozen "head-sized" cinnamon rolls to be sent to your house. Either way, you win!