10 January 2007


This year was a *last* Christmas of sorts...or at least our last Christmas in the moderately-sized Midwestern city in which I grew up. Officially my parents still live there in the home where I spent my formative years: a gorgeous brick home surrounded by giant trees and quiet streets. But in a few months that home will be empty and no longer ours, when my parents pack up and move south. While I haven't lived in that home for years, and neither have either of my siblings, to us Christmas morning "at home" means curling up by the fireplace in THAT house, wearing brand new pajamas and diving into a mug of thick cocoa and a plate warm, homemade cinnamon rolls. Next year it might feel strange to celebrate Christmas "at home" in a new house, in a new town and enjoying a very new climate. But I'm pretty sure once we tuck into a plate of these cinnamon rolls, together, on Christmas morning, we'll know that we are, in fact, still "home."

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls
*begin preparing on Christmas Eve

2 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups scalded milk, cooled to lukewarm
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1 egg
6 1/2-7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

6 T butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
6 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 T milk (or enough to make icing smooth)
1 tsp. real vanilla
*double recipe to ice both pans of rolls

Make Rolls:
Dissolve (well) yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk, 1/3 cup sugar, oil, baking powder, salt, egg and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle (not too sticky).
Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes.
Place in large greased bowl; turn over so greased side is up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hrs. (Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.)

Punch down dough; divide in half.
Roll 1 half into rectangle, 12x10 in. Mix remaining sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl. Spread rectangle with 3 T softened butter. Sprinkle with half the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll up, beginning with long side and pinch edge firmly to seal. Stretch roll to make even. Cut into 12 1-in slices and place slightly apart in greased 13x9x2 in. pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
Repeat with remaining dough and filling ingredients.
Refrigerate at least 12 hrs. and no longer than 48 hrs.

To Bake:
Heat oven to 350˙. Remove foil from pans and bake until golden, 30-35 minutes.

Mix powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth, adding more milk if necessary. Drizzle over WARM rolls.

Yield: 2 dozen rolls

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