The sound of sleepy little feet tip-toeing down the stairs.
Stocking hang, filled with special goodies.
The talk of the Christmas story.
The smell of fresh-brewed coffee.
And the warmth of gooey rolls being pulled from a hot oven.
With Piper now at the wonderful age where he can enjoy Christmas, I decided last year was the year. The year I took the memory-making, the tradition, seriously. And that’s exactly how this girl envisions Christmas. Warm, cozy, perfect. And somewhere in that warm perfect morning, my food blogger mind desires gooey cinnamon rolls.
Last year I set it in stone, meaning I declared to Dustin, Christmas morning will, from now on, consist of excited children, seasonal jammies with furry socks, warm coffee, and cinnamon rolls. Of course, as any good man knows, his response of, “Yes, dear,” was exactly the motivation I needed to get to work on the classic (newly adopted) tradition of “The Annual Marr Family Cinnamon Roll.”
Cookbooks in hand, I sat late at the table the week of Christmas, scouring for the perfect cinnamon roll recipe. I’m talking perfect, after all, family traditions are always characterized by the word perfect.
Within minutes, I found it. The cinnamon roll recipe my family would come to love and cherish, beg for every year. One thing I should note here: I tend to be a bit of an impulsive woman. Directions? I don’t read them. I just do it! I really should have read the three pages of directions in that cookbook.
Christmas morning came and this mama was wiped. Instead of the floating down the stairs in fuzzy socks, I just wanted to sleep. The problem — I had spent the last two days working tiresly on those perfect cinnamon rolls. Four risings, three kneadings, and two cups of coffee later.
Christmas morning was perfect. The cinnamon rolls were delightful and memories were made. Tradition was forged.
This year, I pledged to continue our tradition of Christmas morning cinnamon rolls, but with a new recipe. From that pledge, this recipe was born. A recipe that requires very little kneading, very little effort, and rises overnight in the fridge. Producing warm, sweet gooey rolls we proudly call “The Annual Marr Family Cinnamon Roll”.
- 1 cup warm whole milk (I use raw)
- 1 TB Active Dry Yeast
- ½ cup organic whole wheat pastry flour (where to buy)
- 2 eggs
- 4 TB honey
- 1 TB apple cider vinegar (where to buy)
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract (homemade)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 3 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour (extra flour on hand after the first rise if the dough is sticky)
- ½ cup cold butter, cubed + 2 TB butter, melted
- 1 cup organic brown sugar (where to buy)
- ⅓ cup pecans, chopped
- 1 TB ground cinnamon
- Pour the warm milk into a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the milk. Allow to sit for 5-7 minutes to proof.
- To the yeast and milk add ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour. Mix together and cover the bowl. Allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together the eggs (beaten), vinegar, honey, vanilla extract, and salt.
- After 30 minutes, add in the wet ingredients (above) and the softened butter.
- Turn on your mixer, using the dough hook. I use a stand mixer, but a hand mixer would work too) until all ingredients are combined.
- Add in all remaining flour, ½ cup at a time while the mixer does its work.
- Allow the dough to knead for 8-10 minutes.
- Turn the mixer off, cover the bowl, and allow to sit at room temperature for 3-4 hours. The dough will double in size.
- Butter a 13X9 baking dish.
- Transfer the dough over to a lightly floured surface. If the dough is sticky, add flour a tablespoon at a time, kneading the dough until it is able to be handled. Roll out into a rectangle.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar, ½ cup cubed butter, cinnamon, and pecans evenly over the dough. Roll up the dough, lengthwise.
- Slice the dough to your liking. I get approx.18 rolls. Place the rolls in the baking dish. Brush with the melted butter. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
- In the morning, preheat the oven to 350F and remove the rolls from the refrigerator. Allow the rolls to rise at room temperature.
- Bake for 25-30.
- While baking, beat together: cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup or honey, and vanilla extract.
- Remove the rolls and allow to cool to a warm touch. Once, cool enough to touch, but still warm, frost each roll with the icing.
- Serve warm.
If your dough is sticky, simply knead more flour into the dough.
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