"Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived."
-Jean Luc Picard

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cinnamon rolls, Christmas parties, baking, etc...

Wow! I can't believe it's been over a week since my last post. I've been busy unpacking and getting ready for Christmas. We went to a Christmas party last Saturday night that one of Mr. Hairball's colleagues was hosting. The place was packed and we were told that the turnout was unusual. We had a great time and they did one of those games where everyone brings a small gift and then you draw numbers and can pick an unwrapped gift or steal one from someone else. It's funny to see grown people going nuts for stuff like Hot Wheels and and guns that shoot rubber bands!! *grins*

While mingling, I heard a younger guy talking about how he had never eaten a sugar cookie made from scratch. This made me feel very sad as I do think our "modern and enlightened" way of life is slowly killing off the recipes of the past. I showed up at a potluck once with a homemade cake and had trouble convincing someone that I really did make it from scratch. The woman asked me what brand cake mix I used as she wanted to make it herself. I told her I didn't use a mix and she looked very confused at the concept of baking without mixes. *sighs*

This topic has inspired me to do some baking this week. Yesterday I made a batch of cinnamon rolls and will make another batch tomorrow. These are the old fashioned kind ( no whack-a-dough!!) with yeast, butter, cinnamon, nuts, coffee and maple flavoring. The recipe won a baking contest years ago before whack-a-dough and baking mixes became the default. It's *not* my recipe nor a family recipe but, it's the only cinnamon roll recipe I've made for the last 13-15 years.

Grandma's Cinnamon Rolls

5 ½ to 6 cups all-purpose flour, divided

½ cup sugar
1 cup milk
¼ cup. (1/2 stick) butter
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 (1/4 oz.) pkgs. Quick rising active dry yeast ( 2 1/2 tsps )
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 c. water
2 eggs
No-stick cooking spray
Maple Glaze, recipe follows
Nut Filling, recipe follows

In large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar and salt, mix well.

In small saucepan, heat milk, water and 1/3 cup butter until warm, butter does not need to melt entirely. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, add egg. Blend at low speed of electric mixer until moistened, beat 3 minutes at medium speed. By hand gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic, 5-8 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place until light and doubled, about 30 minutes. Spray 2 (13x9 inch) baking pans with non-stick cooking spray. Punch down dough, divide in half. On lightly floured surface, roll or pat each half into a 12x9 inch rectangle. Brush each part with half of the melted butter; sprinkle half of nut filling over dough. Starting with shorter side, roll up tightly and pinch edge to seal. Cut each into 12 slices; place in prepared baking pans.

Cover; let rise in warm place until almost doubled, about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden. Drizzle Maple Glaze over hot rolls, cool slightly and remove from pans.

¾ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped nuts

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well.

2 cups powdered sugar
½ tsp. maple flavored extract
3 T. butter, melted
3 to 4 T. hot coffee

In small bowl, combine all ingredients, blend until smooth.

(Yields 24 cinnamon rolls)

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