Roses are red, violets are blue, these rolls are for you dear, but so hard to chew

Making these "two-ingredient, five-minute" cinnamon rolls for that special someone on Valentine's Day will give a whole new meaning to the term "tough love."

Tammy Swift online column sig revised 3-16-21.jpg
Tammy Swift, Forum columnist.
The Forum

FARGO — Envision this cozy scene on the morning of Valentine’s Day.

You bring your loved one breakfast in bed. Crisp bacon, fresh fruit in cut-glass bowls and eggs cooked so perfectly that they might have been prepared by Eric Ripert.

Then, to cap it off, the ultimate carbohydrate-soaked sonnet of love: A single, fluffy cinnamon roll, warm out of the oven and glistening with a buttery drizzle of Madagascar-vanilla icing.

For most of us, such an accomplishment — especially on a Monday morning — is outside our reach. From-scratch cinnamon rolls would require getting up at 3 in the morning and devoting hours to kneading, proofing, forming, slicing, proofing again, baking and icing. It might be easier to buy a Cinnabon franchise and pay an employee overtime to deliver one.

So I was pretty excited when a friend sent me an article on two-ingredient cinnamon rolls. The pastry was devised by an Instagram/TikTok sensation named Eloise Head , a self-taught baker whose #fitwaffle page has become wildly popular for recipes like three-ingredient Oreo cake.


The recipe supposedly takes just five minutes to prepare, uses only Greek yogurt and flour in the dough and is ultimately microwaved inside a mug for 1 minute. No yeast, no proofing, no need to knead.

Basically, all rules of food chemistry blithely tossed out the window. What could possibly go wrong?

So I headed to the kitchen and was soon on a roll. (Heh-heh.)

It didn’t take long to realize this recipe would take longer than five minutes, due to a number of factors:

  • I didn't have Greek yogurt. After some hurried Googling suggested this would not be a problem — and, in fact, regular yogurt can produce prettier baked goods — I substituted vanilla Activia.
  • Several key ingredients were in grams, which meant dragging out the kitchen scale, weighing the containers used to hold the ingredients and then carefully adding the ingredients to reach the recommended weight. (This alone took five minutes.)
  • The flour needed to be heat-treated, as it’s technically a raw product. I wound up dumping the flour in a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup, covering it with plastic wrap and microwaving it for 80 seconds — removing it every 20 seconds to stir it.
  • The flour also needed to be self-rising. Google helped me make my own by whisking 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt into 1 cup all-purpose flour.
  • What with all the heat-treating and the weighing and the melting of butter, this simple recipe still managed to fill the sink with dishes. 
Even if these cinnamon rolls really only took five minutes to prepare, it will take a half hour to wash all the dishes.
Tammy Swift / The Forum

Finally, I reached the point of dough return. The recipe instructed me to mix the flour and yogurt together and roll it out into a “rough rectangle shape,” which, in my case, meant “the approximate shape of Idaho."

Then I spread the sugar-cinnamon filling as much as possible, folded the dough and plunked it in a mug.

Head advised bakers to microwave the roll for 1 minute, but noted that her microwave was just 750 watts so people with more powerful appliances might need to adjust.

As it turned out, determining when my insta-roll was done really was the hardest part of the process. For one thing, baked goods don’t brown in the microwave, so the roll basically looked like raw dough with lava-hot cinnamon filling.


On the other hand, I feared overcooking it in my nuclear-powered, 12-year-old, builder's grade microwave, which takes 25 minutes to warm a cup of water to "tepid."

Finally, I gave up and removed the roll from the cup. At this point, it had partly unrolled into a weird toboggan shape and acquired a leathery texture. In short, it looked nothing like the pillowy cinnamon roll of #fitwaffle fame. It was more of a #fitanvil. More rock than roll.

021222.F.FF.SWIFT COL.jpg
The "five-minute" cinnamon roll was nothing like the tender, pillowy cinnamon rolls like Mom used to make. Even so, the glaze was pretty good!
Tammy Swift / The Forum

Still, I'll share the recipe here, in case you’re the adventurous type.

But I wouldn’t recommend this edible boat anchor for any lover’s breakfast — unless you want to bring a whole new meaning to the term "tough love."

Five Minute Cinnamon Rolls

60 grams of yogurt
50 grams of self-rising, heat-treated flour
10 grams melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3-5 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk (plus I added 1/2 teaspoon vanilla)
Mix heat-treated flour with yogurt until dough forms. Place on floured surface and roll into a rough rectangle.
Mix butter, sugar and cinnamon; spread over dough. Fold the long edges of the dough into the middle. Then roll dough up and place inside a microwavable mug.
Cook in 750-watt microwave on high for 1 minute. (You'll need to adjust for higher-powered appliances.)
Mix powdered sugar, milk and vanilla till smooth. Remove roll and top with glaze.

Tammy has been a storyteller most of her life. Before she learned the alphabet, she told stories by drawing pictures and then dictated the narrative to her ever-patient mother. A graduate of North Dakota State University, she has worked as a Dickinson, N.D., bureau reporter, a Bismarck Tribune feature writer/columnist, a Forum feature reporter, columnist and editor, a writer in NDSU's Publications Services, a marketing/social media specialist, an education associate in public broadcasting and a communications specialist at a nonprofit.
What To Read Next
Get Local