Briercrest CBs at the SS

Posted on: April 19th, 2015 by Carla Johnson 18 Comments

“Cinnamon bites and kisses simultaneously” ~ Vanna Bonta

Anyone who ever had a CB and the SS (Cinnamon Bun at the Service Station) knows how utterly unforgettable they were. They were a very special treat found along the Trans-Canada Highway in Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada. I don’t think they make them anymore, but in the “good old days” they were legendary. My friend’s Grandma used to work there and make them. She shared the recipe, so I hope it’s okay to post it here too.

I am posting the recipe here a little in haste as I haven’t yet tried to make them – and of course I plan to inject some “sin” into them 😉 – but recently a few people have asked for the recipe so here it is, verbatim, just the way it was shared with me.

The CBs, as I remember them, were very tall and rolled in very thin layers. I would lift each layer slowly and savour each soft, sweet bite. I found this image from Solly’s in Vancouver. It reminds me of how the SS made them “back in the day.” If anyone has tips on how to make them in thin layers like this, I’d love to know.

Thank you for sharing the recipe Marilyn!

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Solly’s cinnamon buns, Vancouver. Photo courtesy of Jenn Chic, WE Vancouver

Briercrest CB’s at the SS

Original Recipe (thanks to Donnie Aason – aka Donnie Eliason/Taylor and translated into a written recipe by her daughter Karlene Benallick!)

– 6 cups water
– ¼ cup sugar
– 2 tbsp yeast
Mix the first three ingredients and let stand until yeast activates (bubbles)


– one cup of milk
– ½ cup lard
– ½ cup margarine
– ½ cup sugar
– 2 tsp salt
– 2 eggs
– 12 cups flour (16 cups most likely needed) (kneed until desired texture)
Let rise for approximately 1 hour before forming into buns or CBs.

For CB’s,
Mix 2 cups of brown sugar, 3 cups of margarine and 1 cup of pancake syrup and pour into the bottoms of about four 9 x 12 pans.

Divide the dough into management amounts (e.g. 4 equal parts). Roll each part into a rectangle. Melt margarine and spread in a thin layer on top of the dough. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top of the margarine until the entire rectangle of dough is covered. Roll up the rectangle with the margarine/sugar on the inside of the roll. Cut into 1-2” individual rolls (dental floss works better than a knife for cutting the dough up into cinnamon rolls). Place each roll flat-side down on top of the syrup in the baking pans.

Let CBs rise in pan for at least an hour.

Bake @ 325 for 45 minutes (regular bake – not convection setting).

Note: I sent Donnie a message and asked her about getting the bun layers so thin. It is clearly more about knowing what the dough should feel like – which comes with experience. This is what she had to say. 

When I started working at the Pilgrim years ago there were no written recipes—-everything was done just out of the ladies heads that worked there!!! I sat down and wrote up what they were doing—- and that’s the “recipe” that keeps popping up!!! There is lots to say about proportions but there is also lots to say about how how the dough is supposed to feel, cooking procedure ( which can vary from oven to oven) etc.

Carla’s Cream Cheese Icing

Simply put, stir softened, spreadable cream cheese into your favourite vanilla icing. You can use store-bought icing/frosting, but I like to make my own from scratch. My recipe is rough as I add ingredients as I go, but here is my simple version:

1. In a small or medium sized mixing bowl add 1 good scoop icing sugar + 1 small chunk of softened butter + a couple drops of vanilla. Beat with mixer slowly adding drops of milk until it reaches the right consistency.

2. Stir in a small scoop of the cream cheese and mix until smooth.

3. Spread on top of each CB while they are still warm so the icing melts down the sides and between the layers. Just thinking about all the gooey sugary goodness makes me smile.

Looking for something more specific and helpful? I found this one for you. :)

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Photo Credit T. Bilodeau Photography:

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


Tags: ,

18 Responses

  1. Joy Foreman says:

    We still serve the CB’s both in the coffee shop and the gas station. The restaurant has been gone for 10 years now but the legendary CB’s have survived.

  2. Rachel says:

    They still make CB’s, but the Pilgrim no longer exists. If you can find and post the recipe for their potato skins and dipping sauce, I would be the hapiest person in the workd! Now those are truly sinful! :)

  3. So good to know. Knowing the CB’s are still around makes everything seem right in the world. :)

  4. LOL! I’ll see what I can do. Gotta love potato skins!

  5. Gina says:

    45 minutes baking time seems really long, just wonder if that is a typo?

  6. That’s a good point Gina. I remember them being made quite tall with multiple thin layers, not short and wide like most. It is rare to find them made that way, so 45 minutes might be fairly accurate. As Donnie said, she baked by feel, not by recipe, so feel free to adjust as necessary.

  7. kim says:

    how about the recipe for frozen butter tarts :-)

  8. Okay Kim, you gotta jog my memory on this one. Did they serve them in the caf? LOL

  9. kim says:

    Restaurant was before my time. We got them at the service station 1970-71.

  10. Carolyn carson says:

    How thin do you roll the dough?

  11. Carolyn carson says:

    Also how much cinnamon & brown sugar is spread on the dough? :)

  12. Good questions Carolyn. I’m not exactly sure. Wish I could answer them more specifically. Donnie baked by feel, so we’ll all just have to do the same I guess. If you get any specific amounts, feel free to pass them along.

  13. Kathie Crawford says:

    I make awesome cb’s as well, although slightly different from the caronport recipe. For my 10 to 12 cups of flour batch, I use a pound of nargarine, and probably about 4 cups of brown sugar, then sprinkle cinnamon till it looks good to me. May not be exact, but gives you something to start with.
    Also, if memory serves me, the Skin Dip was equal parts of mayo and sour cream with a envelope type dry seasoning package of Roasted Onion, I believe. The potato skins were just potatoes peeled by hand, generously, kept in water till required and drained and deep fried as needed.

  14. Thanks for the measurement tips Kathie! And the potato skins sound simple and very yum! :)

  15. Nikki says:

    Does this recipe work well quartered or halved?

  16. I’m sure it will. Since it’s from a restaurant cook who did it mostly by feel, you’ll want to be somewhat creative. If you give it a try, let me know. Your advice and tips would be really appreciated.

  17. Marc Martel says:

    Someone who knows what they’re doing needs to make a quick little video of how to make the CBs. This will help to convey the “feel” required to make them just right! These things must live on!

  18. Yes Marc! They must live on! 😀

    If anyone has a video, I’d love it. Please send me the link and I’ll share it here.

Leave a Reply