Of Sundays and Cinnamon Rolls

January 16, 2011

First, I should let you all know that I did not manage to hold my Daniel fast. I broke it last Sunday after only six days in. It's really so silly that I quit; it was getting easier day by day. The interesting thing, though, is that as it became easier, my prayers did as well. When those hunger pangs slowed; my prayers slowed, too. Our pastor's message last Sunday was about prayer (listen to it at southsidealma.com) and I just felt that Jesus was saying to me, "I'd rather have your prayers than your hunger." So, I came home and ate a regular Sunday afternoon lunch with my family and felt perfectly at peace about doing so. I will continue to use fasting combined with prayer as the Lord leads -- probably in smaller time increments, though.

I have so much that I could write about right now. I think I'll respond to a request and post my cinnamon roll recipe. I cannot let a snow day go by without baking. I can't. There's just something about fresh-from-the-oven food (sweets, specifically) that warms us up both literally and figuratively. I love to bake homemade bread; I love to eat homemade bread. When I was a little girl, a lady in our church named Anna Melton made the most amazing hot rolls and cinnamon rolls you've ever tasted. I am not exaggerating when I tell you they were 5 inches tall! She was kind enough to share her recipe and, until recently, I always turned to the FBC Sallisaw church cookbook (circa 1983) and made Anna Melton's bread. Mom and Gram use Anna Melton's recipe, too, so I think it's understandable that after 25 years or so I was ready to try something new.

I like sweet homemade bread. I like my bread moist and light. I like the tops of my rolls only slightly browned. After trying several recipes over the past couple of years, I've settled on this one from Taste of Home's Winning Recipes published in 2007. The credit goes to Jayne Duce from Canada. I have tweaked it slightly and I add more sugar than she does. These are actually Freeze and Bake rolls, but the only time I attempted that I was not successful. This recipe is also easy to half. Usually, I'll make the full recipe and half the dough. That's yields enough for around 15 cinnamon rolls (or regular rolls if you want) and a loaf of bread. Without further adieu...

2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
5 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups warm milk (110 to 115 degrees)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 teaspoons salt
7 1/2 to 8 1/2 cups all purpose flour

If making cinnamon rolls, another 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar, cinnamon, softened butter (a stick and a half)

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 5 teaspoons sugar in warm water; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the milk, oil, salt, and remaining sugar. Stir in enough flour to form a stiff dough. (If you're lucky enough to have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, use it.)

Turn out onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch dough down. If making whole recipe, divide in half. If halved recipe, use all. Roll out dough into a rectangle (or as close as you can get). I usually roll mine pretty thin. Spread softened butter (if you melt it completely it will run everywhere, so maybe put your sugar down first to soak it up) over dough, sprinkle with lots of sugar and cinnamon. Roll from one end to the other, then slice into 1 to 1 1/2 inch rolls. Place rolls side by side in baking dish (I always use a 9x13 Pyrex dish). Let rise for another 20-30 minutes. You can also cover and refrigerate overnight it you want them warm for breakfast. Just take them out so they have enough time to warm to room temperature and rise some more.

Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. If just making plain rolls, bake only 15-18 minutes. Check often after 22 minutes...some ovens are really hot. When you think they're ready, be sure to poke around on the middle roll and check to see if it's still doughy. If it is, back in the oven for a few more minutes.

I let mine cool in the dish for a while, then I drizzle with icing. Just take two cups of powdered sugar, a 1/2 tsp of vanilla, and enough milk to get the consistency you want. (Go slow when adding the milk!) You may prefer to ice them individually.

Eat them warm!  If you have some left the next day, warm them in the microwave for a second before eating.  If you try the recipe, I'd love to see pictures and know how they were.

Winning Recipes from Taste of Home

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