Grandma and Grandson
What would we ever do if our treasured family recipes were not written down and captured as our heritage to pass onto our families and generations that follow? How sad. That is why cooking and recipes are so important to me. No matter what they are with you, waiting to be made again and again. I love that warm feeling deep in my heart when I come across a tattered recipe card with my Grandma’s or Mom’s handwriting. Immediately I think of the last time we made that recipe together, was it for a holiday? Oh that’s right…oh, and I remember the laughter as we bumbled around my Grandma’s kitchen…we made it a “three tush kitchen” no problem!
"Country Cooking School with Grandma!"
How silly we are together, and such different styles of cooking and prepping ingredients! Flour all over the counters, measuring cups and utensils strewn about, oven toasty warm, and coffee endlessly brewing away. Laughter and stories, laughter until we’re in tears and stitches…did we get all the ingredients in? And there’s almost always a “oops” moment, but ah what the heck, it all eats the same, as my Grandma says! How I will long for these moments one day…long for my children to be old enough to remember their kitchen time with Great Grandma…to remember the tastes and smells the way I do. I love my Grandma Oakes.
Baking at the Farm
I wish I had this special relationship with all of my grandparents, however miles have kept us all too often apart over the last years. Recently, my father lost his dear mother, my sweet Grandma Dorothy. She lived in Colorado much of her life, loved so deeply, gave so much…had seven children and raised the last bunch on her own. Can you imagine? She was a spit fire of a woman, so sharp that lady! She loved to read and read and read. She would finish a novel in a day. She had a quaint little apartment for the longest time, and I still remember those visits, sitting at her organ pretending to play music with my brother. The latest latch rug (is that the right term?) hanging on her bedroom wall. Her phone that lit up when a call came in. Her love of movies that my uncle would deliver regularly. She kept an immaculate home and always smelled of the most lovely perfume. I wish I knew what that scent was….I can still smell it. Hmmm.
Family Reunion with Grandma Dorothy
Grandma Dorothy had the most lovely smile and tender laugh. She always sat so poised at the edge of her chair. Never bitter, never downward looking. Quiet in spirit and so strong of heart. She was always looking ahead, even at our last visit just before she passed. I can remember her voice as she commented on the flowers we brought her, and asked about my brother. She always referred to my dad as “David” and never Dave. He was her baby you see.
Mother & Son
Grandma Dorothy would write the sweetest letters with the crispest penmanship I’ll have you know! She always had a little kleenex slid under her watch band also and when we would take her out she would wear this cute little triangular hair covering to protect her perfectly set hair. Grandma Dorothy had the sweetest, calmest voice I’ve ever known. She almost always had something sweet to snack on as well, and one of my dad’s favorites in particular were her cinnamon caramel rolls. Oh, how I will treasure these memories and her wonderful cinnamon rolls. I miss her deeply. So, in honor of my Grandma Dorothy & Grandma Oakes, I share this recipe with you. Their combined recipes are wonderfully delicious.
Mommy & Son Baking Time
Make it slowly and with a joyful heart, kneading out your thoughts and worries into that dough. Kneading until your shoulders ache (it takes a good 10 minutes you know!) and you’ve shed a few tears. (A few of us in my family have found kneading quite therapeutic actually!) And when those rolls come out from the oven, put on the coffee or whatever delights you, sit down with a pretty plate and savor the calm, if even for a moment. Enjoy.
Cinnamon Caramel Rolls
Mix together & microwave until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm, between 110-120 degrees. :
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Add 2 rounded teaspoons yeast to liquid mixture once it is lukewarm.
In a large bowl mix together liquid, 2 eggs, & 4 cups flour with a spoon.
Then, one cup of flour at a time, add 3 additional cups of flour. Can mix with you hands if needed.
Once combined into a smooth, elastic ball-knead for several minutes (about 8 mins.) & place in an oiled bowl. Turn dough over once and cover with oiled lid or tea towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
When doubled, punch down and divide into two rounds (or four if you’re new to working with sweet dough.) Use about 1/2 cup flour total for dusting the countertop and rolling out dough. Working with one round of dough at a time, roll into large rectangle.
Soften a stick of butter and divide depending on how many sections of dough you’re working with. Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 1/2 Tbs. cinnamon. Sprinkle buttered dough with mixture. Roll up dough and slice into 24 pieces if working with 2 sections of dough. Slice into 12 pieces if using 4 sections of dough. This recipe will make approx. 40-48 rolls depending on the width of your slices.
Melt 1 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 4 Tbs. light karo syrup until just boiling/sugar is dissolved. Spread into 2 9×13 inch greased pans or four 9 inch round pans. 1 cup whole pecans or chopped pecans can be added here if desired. Place rolls in pans. Cover, let rise until doubled in size about 1 hour. If your house/kitchen is not very warm, turn oven on to 200 degrees, place pans in oven and turn off the heat. Let sit in oven until doubled.
Bake rolls at 375 degrees for about 18-20 mins. until lightly golden. Cool several minutes and invert on waxed paper placed on a rimmed baking sheet (in case the caramel runs).
Can top rolls with icing made from powdered sugar, butter & vanilla-but the caramel alone is over -the- top!
These freeze well also. This sweet dough can also be used to make plain rolls of various kinds according to the Betty Crocker cookbook of my Grandma’s from back in the day. Crescent rolls here we come!