Cinnamon rolls have mission at Café Espresso

Robin McDaniel
Emily Byrd’s Cinnamon Rolls keep the faithful happy at First Baptist Maryville’s Café Espresso Coffee Bar.

Photo by Robin McDaniel

Emily Byrd’s Cinnamon Rolls keep the faithful happy at First Baptist Maryville’s Café Espresso Coffee Bar.

I was privileged recently to sample a homemade cinnamon roll from the Cafe Espresso Coffee Bar at First Baptist Church of Maryville. These cinnamon rolls were made by Emily Byrd, who has been baking them now for about 18 years.

Emily oversees The Cafe Espresso Coffee Bar, which serves homemade sweet rolls and other homemade breakfast items on Wednesday mornings from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and on Sundays from 8 to 10 a.m. The Bar was established several years ago by Chuck O’Conner, pastor of Family Life and Missions, to raise money for ministries and mission opportunities sponsored by the Family Life Ministry of the church. The Coffee Bar has provided support for such projects as the Grief Ministry, Family Promise, Reaching Our Community and the Go Ministry.

The coffee bar offers various coffee drinks like cappuccinos, lattés, mochas and frappuccinos. They also serve hot chocolate and Italian cream soda.

On Sundays, a special breakfast “item of the day” such as Belgian waffles, pancakes, egg sandwiches and French toast is added to the menu. The cafe is located in the Family Life Center.

When Emily said she would give me the recipe for these wonderful cinnamon rolls, my first thought was, “Oh no! If it has a yeast dough I’m in trouble, because recipes with yeast and I just don’t get along.”

Fortunately, Emily baked a pan of her cinnamon rolls and brought them to us here at work. They were still warm and so delicious, but the best news came when I looked at the recipe. Emily uses a frozen bread dough for these tasty treats.

Emily Byrd’s Cinnamon Rolls


1 frozen bread dough (defrosted)

1/2 stick margarine or butter, softened

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)


1 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons milk

Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out defrosted bread loaf to a 15-inches to 18-inches long and 5-inches to 6-inches wide rectangle. The dough will want to bounce back but keep rolling or pulling it until you get a rectangle.

Spread softened butter onto rolled out dough. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Add chopped pecans.

Begin rolling dough into a log lengthwise. Your roll should be 15- to 18-inches long. Seal ends and edges by rubbing a little butter along the seams and pressing together.

Cut log into approximately 12 slices, with each slice being 2 to 2 1/2 inches wide. Place cut side down in prepared baking pan, 4 rows of 3 rolls. Place plastic wrap over pan and let rolls rise for 6 to 8 hours (overnight is perfect).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow rolls to cool slightly before adding glaze.

In a small bowl, mix 1 cup confectioner sugar with 1 tablespoon of milk at a time. Glaze will have a glue-like consistency. Put glaze into a Ziploc bag and snip a small hole in a corner and drizzle onto warm rolls.

These rolls freeze well. Just put them in a gallon Ziploc freezer bag.

Instead of the optional pecans, add whatever you want to your rolls including raisins, chocolate chips or walnuts. Be creative!

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