holidays

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon RollsOh. Man. I CANNOT wait to tell you about these Christmas morning cinnamon rolls! I am so excited that we will, in fact, be having these Christmas morning! It’s like a present to me. I’ll have to remember to write myself a thank you card…

Cinnamon RollsThis is our first Christmas as a family of 3 and Travis and I decided this year we needed to start some traditions of our own. First of all, we are traveling A LOT over the holidays. Or at least it feels like that. I’m pretty sure it just seems like we’re traveling more than we are because we need to pack a truckload of stuff with us now that we have a little one. Either way, we made it a point to actually be at HOME for Christmas day. I don’t think we’ve ever actually been home for Christmas day as a couple so this will be fun!

Another new tradition is apparently shopping online because we have no time to shop anymore. I’m starting to feel old because I know I’m totally late to this online shopping thing. BUT, with a baby, online shopping is the best thing since sliced bread.

Cinnamon RollsHowever, as Travis and I discussed traditions we pretty much focused most of our attention on food. Doesn’t it always go that direction?? Isn’t it wonderful?? As I thought about past family holidays, I remember the decorations and presents and snow and fun that we had. None of that was lost to me, but what I remember most is gathering around the table with family and enjoying a meal full of love and traditions. So this was like a BIG deal to come up with our own family traditions.

Cinnamon RollsSome of my most cherished holiday memories come back to baking with my grandmas, mom, and sister. Luckily, my family will be doing a little baking when we visit them so that tradition lives on! I still needed to do a little baking of my own though! That’s where these rolls come in. These cinnamon rolls are actually my grandma’s yeast dough recipe (passed down to her from her mom) that we usually would use to make bobalki (another amazing concoction for another day) and poppy seed rolls (like cinnamon rolls, but with poppy seed filling).

All you Slovak or Polish folks know what I’m talking about when I refer to poppy seed in terms of sweet treats. Most people think of the gross dry poppy seeds they find on bagels. No. Just no. This poppy seed filling I refer to is sticky and sweet and delicious. I think they take the poppy seed and engulf it in a tub of sugar and corn syrup and it comes out magical. So when you make these cinnamon rolls, I dare you to replace the filling with just a can of Solo poppy seed filling. I’m salivating thinking about it. *Warning, it may take some time to fully enjoy the amazing goodness of poppy seed filling if you haven’t grown up with it. Travis is not quite there yet…My brother-in-law is finally in love with it, but he has a few years on Travis in the poppy seed tradition.

Cinnamon RollsTravis agreed that we can make poppy seed rolls as part of our usual tradition on Christmas. However, since we were just figuring things out we landed on the cinnamon roll version for this year. And it’s hard to complain when you land on something so delicious. So I’ll share some of my poppy seed creations later. But for now, enjoy these cinnamon rolls! They will surely help make my Christmas morning so, so wonderful!

Christmas Morning Cinnamon Rolls
Yields 24
Gooey and sweet cinnamon roll treat perfect for special occasions!
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Prep Time
3 hr 20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
3 hr 40 min
Prep Time
3 hr 20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
3 hr 40 min
Yeast Dough
  1. 1 1/2 cups milk
  2. 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  3. 2/3 cup white sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons salt
  5. 2 packets regular yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
  6. 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  7. 2 eggs
  8. 6 1/2 cups flour
Filling
  1. 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  2. 1/4 cup cinnamon (4 tablespoons)
  3. 1/4 cup butter, melted
Icing
  1. 1 cup powdered sugar
  2. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  3. 2-3 tablespoons water
Instructions
  1. Scald the milk in a sauce pan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the vegetable shortening until melted. Stir in the sugar and salt. Set aside to cool to lukewarm (about 10 minutes).
  2. While the milk mixture is cooling, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water in a large bowl. Let the yeast sit about 5-10 minutes (until the milk mixture is cooled).
  3. Add the milk mixture and eggs to the yeast mixture. Add in 3 1/2 cups of the flour and mix well. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour and knead until the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes.
  4. Cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
  5. Grease two 9" round cake pans.
  6. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling.
  7. Divide the dough into 2 and roll one of the halves out on a well floured surface until it is 12x18 inches. Brush a thin layer of melted butter over the dough and sprinkle on half of the filling.
  8. Roll the dough, so you end up with a log 18 inches long. Cut into 12 pieces. Place pieces in cake pan, with a little space around each roll so it can rise again.
  9. Repeat with the second batch.
  10. Let the rolls rise about another hour.
  11. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. Bake rolls for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  13. Combine icing ingredients. Once the rolls are slightly cooled (about 15 minutes), you can drizzle the icing on the rolls.
Notes
  1. To help the dough rise (especially when it's cold), I turn my oven on to the lowest temperature for about 5 minutes then turn the oven off. Then I put my dough in the oven to rise. Make sure to take it out before you preheat the oven to bake!!
  2. You can freeze the rolls once they are cooled but before you put the icing on. To do this, remove the rolls from the pan after they are cooled and wrap in plastic wrap (I also wrap with aluminum foil after the plastic). To serve, defrost in the refrigerator and top with icing. If you want them warm, you can reheat them in the microwave or in the oven prior to topping with icing.
  3. Rolls are best eaten fresh, but can last a couple of days (but they really won't make it that long!).
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Chocolate Mint Crinkle Cookies

Crinkle-Cookies4Okay, so I very much realize that it is halfway through January and many of you may be trying to eat healthy or exercise or do something good for yourself as a New Year’s resolution. Way to go! I’d like to think that these chocolate mint crinkle cookies fall into that “do something good for yourself” category. If you’re not with me on that one, maybe stop reading here because I certainly don’t want to be to blame for a failed diet attempt. I am declaring no responsibility. 

Crinkle-Cookies1/Whew/ With that off my conscience I can start to talk about why I believe this is doing something good for yourself. Ummm…chocolate. Cookie. Mint. Covered in powdered sugar. Chocolate chips. Baked to chewy perfection. 

Seriously, is this even a question why these are good for you? I’m not talking about the nutrition facts here. If that’s the case, no. No, these are probably not good for you one bit. I’m talking about the fact that maybe a little powdered sugar-covered, chocolate chip filled, chewy, minty, chocolate cookie could make your day 1006% better. Even if you’re day is already spot on. 

Crinkle-Cookies2These cookies are almost like little brownies. Like think of that section of the brownie that’s between the edge and the middle. Not too soft, not too chewy. Just perfect. Yes, that’s a good word for this cookie. Perfect. That’s not even taking into account the fact that they are beautiful! You can totally impress whoever you want with these things. 

Crinkle-Cookies3Crinkle cookies are definitely are not hard to make but make sure to leave yourself a good amount of time because they are refrigerated before you bake them! I actually made the dough the night before I baked them, but you really only need a couple of hours to refrigerate. When I made them ahead though it was a breeze to roll, coat in powdered sugar, and bake. Give it a try!

Chocolate Mint Crinkle Cookies
Yields 42
Delicious, chewy chocolate mint crinkle cookies.
Print
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
3 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
3 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1 cup cocoa powder
  3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 cup sugar
  7. 1 cup brown sugar
  8. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  9. 4 eggs
  10. 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  11. 1 bag of dark chocolate chips (10-ounce bag)
  12. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat sugar, brown sugar, oil, and eggs until combined. Beat in mint extract.
  3. Stir dry ingredients and chocolate chips into wet ingredients using a spatula or spoon until just combined.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Pour powdered sugar into a small bowl. Roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar before placing on baking sheet, 1 1/2 inches apart.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the edges begin to set. Let rest on cookie sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Notes
  1. You can make the cookie dough a day before baking. I did this and the cookies turned out great!
  2. If the dough is too soft while working with it, return it to the refrigerator and let set until it is easier to work with.
Adapted from Betty Crocker
Adapted from Betty Crocker
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/

Sour Cream Banana Bread

Banana BreadIt’s not Christmas yet. In fact, it’s not even Thanksgiving. However, it snowed so much yesterday in Michigan that it sure feels more like Christmas than Thanksgiving. I’m talking multiple inches of snow, not just a dusting. Yes, I’m from the Midwest and am used to snow. No, we don’t usually get that much here this early.

Since it feels and looks like Christmas, I think it’s okay for me to talk about Christmas. **But for the record, I’m not a fan of the whole Christmas decoration thing immediately after Halloween**. Too soon. Too soon.

Banana BreadEvery Christmas Eve my extended family usually gathers together for dinner and fun. We tend to make and bring WAY too many cookies as a group to this celebration. We always end up with WAY too many leftover cookies that most of us cannot eat. However, I’m pretty sure my husband is a cookie eating machine at Christmas time so he helps the situation slightly.

Anyways, to help with the cookie overload, a few years back my mom started making mini loaves of bread for everyone to take home instead of sending them home with extra cookies. Not only delicious, but they are also perfect for a Christmas morning breakfast or brunch! When I asked my mom for the banana bread recipe she uses, she couldn’t find it!! Panic!! It’s possible she is hiding her recipe so she’s the only one that can make it but I’m pretty sure she probably just left the recipe with her mini loaf pans somewhere in the Christmas boxes. She’ll probably call me in a week with her recipe.

Banana BreadRegardless of whether this is THE banana bread recipe or not, this is sure to make your stomach happy. The cinnamon sugar coating on the pan is GENIUS! So much better than a flour coating. I made mine as full loaf pans but you can also reduce the cooking time to make smaller pans! Wrap them up and hand them out at Christmas. Everyone will love it!

Banana Bread

Sour Cream Banana Bread
Yields 2
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
To coat the pans
  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  3. cooking spray
For the banana bread
  1. 3/4 cup butter
  2. 2 cups white sugar
  3. 1 cup brown sugar
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 6 ripe bananas, mashed
  6. 1 container sour cream (16 ounces)
  7. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  8. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  9. 4 1/2 cups flour
  10. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  11. 3 teaspoons baking soda
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray 2 loaf pans (mine were 9" x 5") with cooking spray. Mix together 1/4 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Dust the loaf pans with the cinnamon and sugar mixture, making sure to cover the bottom and sides.
  3. Cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the eggs, bananas, sour cream, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  4. Stir in the flour, salt, and baking soda until just incorporated.
  5. Divide batter into the 2 loaf pans. *Optional: sprinkle a little white sugar on top to give a slight crunch to the top.
  6. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf.
  7. Remove bread from loaf pans and let cool on wire rack. To store, wrap in aluminum foil.
Notes
  1. I froze one of my loafs because they are so large. They freeze and thaw very well! You can also make this recipe with 4 smaller loaf pans (7" x 3"). If you use smaller pans, adjust the baking time to about an hour, then check with a toothpick to see if they are done.
Adapted from All Recipes | Banana Sour Cream Bread
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/