I have always considered Sarah more like a sister than a cousin as we have very similar biological backgrounds both having a caucasian and Indian parent. This recipe is dedicated to her love of cinnamon rolls, Christmas and the love we have for each other.
We are a very close knit family and frequently celebrate holidays together, especially Christmas. For years, my family celebrated Christmas between Montreal and Toronto, Sarah’s home.
In Montreal, Christmas is heavily influenced by the Italian side of my family. We have our traditional holiday treats and the whole family gathers for a large, rowdy dinner where wine laden laughs sound out late into the night.
In Toronto, we gather with a smaller crowd, around a beautifully arranged table, set with Christmas crackers and red crystal glasses. Christmas morning comes, the intoxicating fragrance of cinnamon and sugar baking in butter fills the entire house and our mouths water in anticipation. Sticky, sweet, gooey and buttery cinnamon rolls are frantically torn apart and enjoyed as we sink back into our seats exhaling a slow moan with every sweet bite.
Night comes, the turkey is perfect, the excellent side dishes lend their aroma to the entire house as the fire, tended expertly by my uncle , roars away masterfully. The meal is had, the wine is drunk and crackers snapped revealing their paper crowns and odd gifts within. Stuffed, we clear the table, make coffee and try to breathe past the pain of our gluttony, vowing to ourselves that tomorrow we will not eat. Yeah right…
back to blue
makes 16 rolls
Cinnamon Roll Dough
4 cups whole milk
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
8 1/2 cups all purpose flour + 1/2 cup for dusting
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp kosher salt
Cinnamon Roll Center
2 cups unsalted butter, soft
2 cups packed brown sugar
4-6 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup dried raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9” x 13” baking pan.
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine milk, butter and sugar. Bring mixture almost to the boil, but not boiling (scald). Remove milk mixture from heat and cool until mixture is warm. Stir yeast into milk mixture until dissolved and let stand until frothy.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in yeast mixture and knead dough until smooth ball forms (add more flour if necessary). Transfer dough to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for an hour or until doubled in size.
While dough rises, mix together soft butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts to form a paste. Divide in half.
When dough has risen, transfer to a floured work surface and divide in half. Roll out half the dough into an even rectangle, approximately 18” x 9”.
Spread half the sugar and butter mixture all over the dough in an even layer.
Working with the long side towards you, roll the dough onto itself, resembling a jelly roll, pinching the dough as you roll to hold it together.
Using a very sharp knife, cut 8 equal rounds from the log. Repeat with other half of ingredients.
Place cinnamon rolls, swirl side up in baking dish almost touching each other. Brush tops with melted butter.
Bake rolls for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
For frosting, mix all ingredients together to form a smooth paste, feel free to adjust consistency with more sugar or more milk.
Cover cinnamon rolls with frosting while still warm, serve immediately.