Nestled at the foot of Mt. Evans, location of the highest paved road in North America, there is a a log-construction building surrounded by natural beauty. Pine trees in the adjacent wilderness make the air sweet, and the 10,600 ft elevation and nearby lake ensure that the breeze stays cool even in the brilliant sun. The Echo Lake Lodge acts as meeting point, gift shop, and restaurant for cyclists and drivers heading up Mt. Evans or exploring the woods. And they sell cinnamon rolls.
Cinnamon roll from Echo Lake Lodge near Mt. Evans in Colorado
My roll came out of the oven only two hours before I sampled it. The flavor of the roll was well-balanced. Not too sweet, not too cinnamon-y. The bread had hints of milk and yeast, also quite pleasant. The icing tasted quite natural and neutral with perhaps a hint of buttercream and vanilla; I’d be shocked if it was anything except homemade.
Unfortunately, the roll was somewhat under-baked. Where it was properly done, it was excellent, but there were many spots in the interior that were only raw, chewy dough.
The underbaked spots took away from the roll so much that I have to rate it 6/10. If the roll had been fully baked, it would have easily been a 9/10.
Where to get it:
Echo Lake Lodge
13264 Chicago Creek Rd
Idaho Springs, CO
Just outside of Boulder, Colorado, along the beautiful Peak to Peak Highway, there is a town called Nederland. The air is refreshingly crisp at 8,300 ft in elevation, and every March you can celebrate Frozen Dead Guy Days with the jovial townspeople. Not there in March? Then perhaps you can celebrate with a cinnamon roll from the New Moon Bakery and Cafe.
Cinnamon roll from the New Moon Bakery and Cafe in Nederland, Colorado
I got a cinnamon roll at New Moon based on an earlier experience with their muffins. Although I wouldn’t consider myself a muffin connoisseur, I have to say that the blueberry muffin I had at New Moon might be the best I’ve ever eaten, anywhere. I had high hopes for their cinnamon roll.
Sadly, the roll was… OK, I guess. Not great, not awful. The flavor was well-balanced. Not too much cinnamon, not too much sugar, and neither of them overpowering the flavor of the bread. The icing was fine.
What I noticed more than the flavor was the texture. The interior was doughy, in a “Is this underbaked?” sort of way. As a result, the bread was chewy and dense rather than light and airy. Not sure what happened there, but it’s possible that the butter used for the cinnamon seeped into the bread and altered the bread’s texture as it cooled. The roll was purchased in the late morning, so perhaps it would have been better earlier.
In short, a decent cinnamon roll, but I’d recommend going for their muffins instead. 7/10
Where to get it:
New Moon Bakery & Cafe
1 West 1st St.
Nederland, CO 80466
I have discovered that the cinnamon rolls vary from Whole Foods to Whole Foods. I suppose that isn’t surprising, given that they bake them on site, but still, it was a matter of changing an assumption. The one today comes from a Whole Foods in Denver; compare it to the Whole Foods roll I reviewed from Minnesota and you’ll see quite a bit of difference.
Cinnamon bun from Whole Foods in Denver on Hampden Avenue
This is a very large bun. The bread is sweet with a nice texture: soft with a relatively open crumb. Similar to the innards of a properly baked yeast-leavened doughnut. I would have preferred cream cheese frosting, but the icing that is pleasant is well-executed and does not overwhelm the rest of the roll.
Overall, a good cinnamon bun. 8/10
Where to get it:
7400 E. Hampden Ave, Unit D
Denver, CO 80231