Producing Cinnamon Rolls at Work While Making Cinnamon Roll Candles at Home

While the British traditionally enjoy a tea break between 3:30 and 5 PM, the Swedes enjoy a ten to thirty minute mid-afternoon coffee break known as a fika. This tradition is more than just a coffee break. It’s a time to socialize while enjoying a hot beverage with a sweet snack. While these snacks could include cake, pie, or even cookies; the kanebulle (cinnamon roll) is by far and away a national favorite; so much so that October 4th has been designated as Sweden’s National Cinnamon Roll Day.

Although Swedish cinnamon rolls are typically flavored with cinnamon, cardamom, and large crystals of pearl sugar; the typical American version is more sweet and is stuffed with ground cinnamon, granulated white sugar, and brown sugar. It is also drenched with a sweet and sticky icing.

Within the United States there are regional variations of this pastry. While coffee scrolls (cinnamon rolls topped with a sweet coffee glaze) are popular in the Northeast, in the South honey buns are stuffed with honey and cinnamon prior to being deep fried. In Pennsylvania, Philadelphia-style cinnamon rolls are stuffed with raisins and topped with pecans or walnuts.

Pictured from top left going clockwise: Swedish kanebulle, Philadelphia-style cinnamon rolls, Southern honey buns,
Northeastern coffee scroll

As part of learning how to bake, my Culinary II and III students made cinnamon rolls over the past week. Since yeast doughs have to rise, this was a laborious process that was different from the quick breads that we have previously made. To make our cinnamon rolls, the students:

  1. Created a sweet roll yeast based dough that was rolled out after having been proofed (allowed to rise) for 1-2 hours.
  2. The rolled out dough was brushed with melted butter.
  3. The dough was then coated with granulated white sugar, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon.
  4. After adding the filling, the dough was rolled up.
  5. It was then sliced into 12 equal sized portions.
  6. The cinnamon rolls were placed spiral side up on a sheet pan and covered with plastic wrap. After sitting at room temperature for an hour so the rolls could rise, the pans were refrigerated overnight, and baked during our next class.

While the cinnamon rolls were baking, the students made an icing which was drizzled over the hot pastries after they came out of the oven. Pictured below is a student portion of our completed product.

freshly baked cinnamon rolls

A few teachers were given cinnamon rolls by the students. Most of these lucky people were teachers or staff members whose children were in my class.

Even though my district has a mask mandate, the sweet smell of cinnamon and brown sugar permeated the air and caused students passing by our kitchen door in the main hallway to pause and stare and to deeply inhale.

Since the average cinnamon roll has 290 calories and 47 grams of carbohydrates, I couldn’t eat any of these pastries because my doctor has put me on a diet. My goal has been to lose 50 pounds. As of this morning, I have lost 27.

Inspired by what the students had made, at home I produced a batch of cinnamon roll candles. Having exhausted my supply of Golden Soy Wax 416, these new candles were made using CC-35 soy wax that was produced by California Candle Supply in Glendora, California.

CC-35 is roughly comparable to the Golden Soy Wax that I’ve been using. Giving the rising cost of gasoline which has now hit a national average of $3.19, the shipping cost of Golden Soy from my previous supplier would have DOUBLED the purchase cost. It doesn’t help that inflation has also raised the cost of this wax by an astounding $28 compared to the last order I made for two 45 lb. cases just three months ago.

Since I am much closer to California than I am to Texas, the cost of shipping two 45 lb. cases of CC-35 was much lower. At $75 per case, this wax was also more affordable than the $103 now being charged by the other vendor.

As with Golden Soy 416, CC-35 was formulated to make pillar candles. Both types of soy wax have a melting temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit. The only real difference is that while GSW-416 can hold 10% of its weight in fragrance oil, CC-35 is marginally inferior with a retention rate of 8%.

Although I briefly considered purchasing paraffin wax or beeswax, both of these waxes can only hold 3% of their weight in candle fragrance oils. Beeswax is also more expensive while paraffin is an artificial byproduct of the oil industry. In contrast, CC-35 (and GSW-416) are made with all natural ingredients.

I was quite pleased with the cinnamon roll candles made with this new wax. Despite the slightly reduced holding capacity of this product, the candles are still fragrant with the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon rolls with a sugary icing.

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