Based on what is going on in the food-blogosphere this week, I have a sneaking suspicion that American Christmas morning includes the following traditions:

  1. Opening Presents (98%)
  2. Cinnamon Rolls (97%)
  3. Going to Church (40%)

Growing up, this was our routine.  We invariably opened gifts, and invariably went to church.  At one point Aunt Helen’s sticky cinnamon rolls made their way into the roster, and now I crave them for gift opening time, too.  There’s just something about baking cinnamon that is SO Christmas.

These are a labor of love, meaning that after you labor, you will be so in love that you will surely add them to your routine, too.  Don’t worry, I feel confident you can get them all ready in less than 5 hours (which is how long it took me).  Luckily, Miles allowed me 20 minutes to get it all done at the end, while he prepared a demo for his upcoming lecture “How to Amuse Yourself with only a Saucepan with Lid and 6 Various Tupperware Lids”.

Merry Christmas, enjoy.

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls (from joythebaker – she has great step by step pics!)

  • 1 packet or 1/4 oz dry active yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup water at 115 degrees
  • 1/2 cup milk at room temp
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup 0r 4 oz) butter
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 Tbsp real maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • One more stick of butter, divided in half, melted
  1. Combine the first set of 3 ingredients in a small bowl, stir and wait 10 minutes until foamy.
  2. Add the next 5 ingredients and whisk until well combined.
  3. Sift together salt and flour.  Slowly add to the liquid yeast mixture until fully incorporated.  It will be very sticky.
  4. Take off your wedding ring, dump it on a clean counter and knead it for 4 minutes.  Scrape it off your hands and the counter (this can be very helpful, also for cleaning under baby’s chair) and form a ball.
  5. Add the butter and knead another 6 minutes.  Still sticky?  Good.
  6. Now incorporate about 1/3 cup more flour and knead 2 more minutes.  Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
  7. Take the cream cheese out to soften, mix the filling ingredients in a separate bowl, host a playdate.
  8. Generously flour your surface, and place the dough there.  Knead it and add flour until it is no longer sticky.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  9. No rest for you!  Massage the cream cheese with knife until it is spreadable.  Roll the dough to 10″x10″.  Spread with cream cheese evenly all the way to the corners.  Now fold in thirds (like a letter), and then in thirds the other way to end up with a square.
  10. Roll out the dough to 10″x20″.  Some cream cheese might spill, that’s OK.  Put half the melted butter on the dough, then spread the sugar/nuts/raisin filling out evenly on the surface.  Roll, starting on the short end.
  11. Cut into 8 rolls and place them in a buttered pan.  At this point, I opted to freeze two pans of four rolls, one for Christmas morning, one for when our highly anticipated visitors get here.  If you do freeze, allow them to defrost in the fridge Christmas Eve, or on the counter if your room temperature is not 85 degrees.  In any case, allow to come to room temperature for at least half an hour after refrigerating.
  12. Preheat oven to 375.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Prepare the remaining melted butter.  When the rolls are done, brush immediately with melted butter and cool at least 5 minutes.
  13. If you are from the midwest, you may choose to add even more butter as you eat these rolls..  Others who may be from Colorado, for instance, may like a frosting of even more cream cheese, buttermilk and powdered sugar. Go ahead.  It is Christmas  Enjoy, and don’t forget to put your wedding ring back on!

Note: you can leave all the mixing and kneading to your Kitchenaide if you didn’t leave it at home with your other beloved appliances after moving to the land of 220V outlets.