Some natives of the American South have fond memories of waking up to the smell of butter rolls on cold winter mornings. And yet, few people outside the South have ever heard of this sweet, cinnamon roll–like treat, and even in their native region, they have largely disappeared from breakfast and dessert spreads.
Southern butter rolls are essentially spiraled pastries that bake while swimming in a sauce of milk, sugar, vanilla, and sometimes cinnamon. Recipes vary by family but often involve covering buttermilk biscuit dough in butter, sugar, and spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon, then rolling it into a log. After cutting this sweet, buttery log in half or into discs, bakers place everything in a pan and bathe it in the sweet sauce.
The end result is sweet, hot, sticky, and comforting. A good butter roll should sit in your stomach and make you want to curl up and take a nap by a fireplace.