Q: For a couple of years many moons ago, I was at a public elementary school in Virginia where, for a nickel, the lunchroom served the most incredibly delicious hot-out-of-the oven cinnamon rolls. Loaded with raisins and cinnamon, and heavily iced with a powdered sugar frosting it was a child's perfect mid-morning yeasty snack and something I dream about to this day.
So where on earth in Charleston can I find such a delightful concoction? Is Cinnabon the best I can do? (I’m usually out of town on Sundays.)
A: Raisins! That’s one way to up the ante. Many bakers feel a cinnamon roll is plenty sweet without them. And once nuts are added to the mix, the pastry is typically reclassified as a sticky bun, which is WildFlour Pastry’s claim to fame.
In the realm of buttery breakfast treats, it’s hard to beat Lauren Mitterer’s signature. But it sounds like you’re after a cinnamon roll available on a daily basis, which narrows the field considerably.
The Harbinger Café only bakes its Roly Poly #1 on Wednesdays and Sundays, and Home Team BBQ’s glazed cinnamon roll limits its public appearances to weekend brunches. Other bakeries around town keep less predictable cinnamon roll production schedules, which means you might well find yourself out-of-luck on a random Tuesday.
For a stellar cinnamon roll that’s almost sure to be in the display case when you arrive, I’d suggest Brown’s Court Bakery. The roll at Brown’s Court has enough structural integrity that you could probably eat it while walking, but it’s better to spend time unfurling its buttery layers, cinnamon-dusted to the core. Granted, it costs more than five cents, but I think you’ll agree the soft pastry within, rich caramel without, and shock of frosting on top are worth the price.
By the way, since we’re talking cinnamon rolls, have you read Geraldine DeRuiter’s piece for Everywhereist, which won this year’s James Beard Foundation award for long-form personal essay? “I Made the Pizza Cinnamon Rolls from Mario Batali’s Sexual Misconduct Apology Letter” is a different kind of treat.