At the Boyce General store near Bowling Green, Kentucky, Brad and Brie Golliher bake cinnamon rolls you eat like a cake

Credit: Brie Golliher

The Boyce General Store is a 20-minute drive from Bowling Green, Kentucky, far enough into the country that there's not much else around. But the lines for the Southern cooking and baked goods that owners Brie and Brad Golliher serve up regularly wind around the porch. Their Friday fish fry has gotten so popular than it prompted the Gollihers to install a block of bathrooms outside of the main structure to ease the pressure on the single toilet inside. "People are like, wait, is that an outhouse?" Golliher said on a recent Saturday morning. "But those bathrooms are nice, they're the most expensive part of the whole place."

The general store has operated in some form or another since 1869. The Gollihers bought it in 2012 and set about making it into the kind of restaurant that's also a center of the community. Brie, who has a degree in photojournalism, clearly has a knack for curating spaces to make them welcoming. The walls of the store are lined with vintage cooking implements and knick-knacks arranged by color: pie plates, mason jars, needlepoint, milk glass bowls, cake stands. The day I went, a chalkboard in the back had a message from a wedding recently held at Boyce.

The General Store serves a full slate of burgers and breakfasts, including homemade Nutella pop-tart-like creations that are only available on Saturdays. They source their ingredients as locally as possible—if they can't find lettuce from a nearby farm that week, no burgers can have lettuce that day. The excellent sausage patties are from a farm just up the street. Brie also churns out pies like nobody's business. In 2015, she won the Best Overall Dessert at the Duncan Hines festival for her Fudge Nest pie, a dense chocolatey number with a coconut macaron crust. She's aiming to make something like a thousand pies for the holiday season, in addition to the regular offerings at the store and at Whole Foods.

The pie is really good, but what impressed me most during my visit were the gigantic cinnamon rolls on offer. They're so big that you need to serve them in slices, or at least have a big group of people around when you order one. They're the size of a small, round cake, and exactly what you want in a cinnamon roll—full of flaky layers and swirls of cinnamon, just the right amount of sweet and spiced. Brie calls them "Mama Cinnies." If you're around Bowling Green, you should definitely go taste one. But in case you're not, here's how you make them at home. This is a big recipe that makes four, so if you're making just one, cut the ingredient amounts down by four.

Mama Cinnies (Makes 4)

Ingredients for the dough

  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 1/5 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 18 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoon salt

Ingredients for the spread

  • 1 pound butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon

In a pot mix together sugar, milk, and vegetable oil on medium high heat and bring to just before boiling. (Don’t boil.) Take off the heat and let cool down til warm to the touch. Add the yeast to the liquid. In a separate large bowl, measure out 16 cups of the flour. Add the warm liquid to the flour and combine with your hands. Cover with a clean towel and let sit in a warm area. Let rise for one hour.

In a separate, medium-sized bowl, mix together 2 cups flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Once the dough has risen, combine the baking soda mixture and dough with your hands until the mixture is fully incorporated, cover and put it in the fridge overnight, up to two days.

One your dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 250 degrees, flour a surface and roll it out into a large rectangle. Spread the softened butter over the rectangle, then sprinkle with brown and white sugars and cinnamon so it's covered edge to edge. Cut the rectangle into eight longways strips (left side to right side). Then starting on one side roll into a large spiral then put onto the next strip and continue to roll into an even larger spiral. Place into a 9-inch greased pie pan.

Bake at 250 degree for 20 minutes, then raise the oven temperature to 350 and bake about 15 minutes until browned and the center dough is done.

Ingredients for the icing

  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup water or milk

To ice the rolls, combine a pound of powdered sugar with the milk or water and vanilla, and whisk until thick but pourable (you may want to add up to an additional 1/4 cup of liquid). Pour over finished cinnamon rolls.