It's almost criminal not to love cinnamon rolls, especially great cinnamon rolls. There are certain qualifications that set the perfect rolls apart from the plastic-wrapped supermarket variety: not too dry; moist, but not gummy; lightly brushed with a sugary glaze -- too much icing can turn a breakfast roll into a cupcake.
KCUR-FM's Walt Bodine loves cinnamon rolls (he particularly misses the ones at the long-defunct Putsch's Cafeteria) and every so often devotes an entire segment of his talk show to the subject. The phone calls generated by this topic speak volumes to Kansas City's love for this buttery spiral pastry.
These are the cinnamon rolls that I would elevate to the Top Ten offered in the city, from the sticky to the sublime:
10) Stroud's. These aren't really cinnamon rolls in the traditional sense, they're biscuit dough slathered with cinnamon and sugar. But when they first come out of the oven, they're extraordinary. Not so great served cold the following morning.
9) Napoleon Bakery, 706 Westport Rd. The new owner of this venerable establishment, pastry chef James Holmes, knows how to rock a roll.
8) Mama's 39th Street Diner, 3906 Waddell. If you haven't tasted Ira Aurbach's fried cinnamon roll slathered with butter, you haven't lived.
7) Granny's Chicken Ranch, 1340 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, Kansas, This restaurant serves hot biscuits and first-class cinnamon rolls. It's the only way to truly enjoy a fried chicken dinner.
6) You Say Tomato, 2801 Holmes. Co-owner and baker Mark Wingard puts a lot of love into his rolls.
5) Le Monde Bakery, 308 Armour Road. In a word: divine.
4) The Sweet Guy, 7439 Broadway (photo, below) serves an excellent roll -- not too small, not too big -- sinfully flaky and excellent with a hot cup of coffee.
3) Wheatfield's Bakery & Cafe, 904 Vermont Street, Lawrence. Not, this bakery isn't in Kansas City proper, but the sweet rolls and baked goods are so extraordinary here that it's worth hopping out of bed on a Saturday morning and driving 40 minutes or so just to enjoy one of the cinnamon rolls baked here. 2) The Classic Cookie, 409 W. Gregory. (see photo at very top). An excellent, flaky and gorgeously moist pastry.
2) The Classic Cookie, 409 W. Gregory. (see photo at very top). An excellent, flaky and gorgeously moist pastry.
1) Chacko's Bakery, 6001 Johnson Drive, Mission. If the sensual and lusty qualities of sex could be reproduced in flour, butter, sugar and milk -- this bakery's roll would be the result.