No one's slick as Gaston, no one's quick as Gaston …
And, until now, the arrogant "Beauty and the Beast" villain was also the best at serving up warm, delicious cinnamon rolls.
If you're unfamiliar with Gaston's famed sweet treat, inside Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World lies Gaston's Tavern, an eatery decorated with antlers (shocker!) that serves the most gigantic (each roll is 8 square inches) cinnamon rolls I've ever seen. They're also the best cinnamon rolls I've ever tasted, and if the cult-following the super-sized pastries have is any indication, I'm not alone in my opinion.
The rolls, drizzled with cream cheese frosting and melted butterscotch, are large enough to feed a family of four. And, at about $6 a pop, they're often a go-to treat for my Disney-loving family when we're visiting Magic Kingdom.
But thanks to the "Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook" by Ashley Craft, we've recently been enjoying copycat versions of the rolls from the comfort of our own home.
I tried Craft's Gaston's Giant Cinnamon Rolls recipe out for myself, and while the effort they involve is as enormous as the treat itself, there's a sweet payoff when the work is finished.
The recipe calls for a dough made from basic ingredients like flour, eggs, milk and yeast, formed into a ball in a stand mixer. After a bit of rising, the dough gets rolled out into a huge (3- by 2-foot) rectangle and sliced into two giant rolls. There's more rising, followed by baking the rolls to golden-brown, cinnamon perfection.
These rolls are so epic, they get two kinds of icing: Craft's recipe includes both cream cheese frosting and a butterscotch drizzle. It's a total sugar rush, in the best way possible.
There's about an hour of prep and rising time for the rolls, followed by baking time and the time it takes to make each type of icing. It's a labor of love, but it's worth it.
When my Gaston copycats came out of the oven, my family could not wait to dive in. The cinnamon-sugar fragrance that had been wafting through my house during the process had been luring us in all morning — and we were not disappointed.
The week before, I snagged the real deal for comparison, bringing one of the cinnamon rolls from Gaston's Tavern home from a day trip to Magic Kingdom so the flavors were fresh in my family's mind.
When I asked my kids how my version compared, they agreed that the homemade version was better because it was fresh out of the oven, warmer and more gooey and buttery than the original.
I'd have to agree.
As the head pastry chef in my household, I'd save this recipe for special occasions. It's labor-intensive and requires a lot of time in the kitchen, but I can see it becoming a family holiday tradition, everyone chowing down on freshly baked cinnamon rolls in their pajamas as a perfect start to the day.
And Gaston shouldn't worry: I'll still be making my way to his tavern for Disney's version any time I visit Magic Kingdom. One can never have too many favorite cinnamon rolls, after all.