Saturday, September 4, 2010

Knowing what you Need: Cinnamon Rolls

These are a few of the things I need to keep my balance. Water, sunshine, homemade food and flower. Years ago, I heard a friend speak about individuals with disabilities and their need to have choices about what they wanted in their lives. Too many times, those choices are made for people who must be supported in the activities of daily life. Well-intentioned caregivers may assume they know best what a person who struggles with less than average cognitive ability might need or want. His point was that we all need to identify those things we need in our lives so that the crazy things others do don't scare us so much. When I feel as if I am reacting only to what others expect, when duty compels me to weariness, or when fear rather than love is driving my actions, I recall my friend's excellent advice.

What puts the less in your fear? What makes you feel your feet are firmly planted, your nerve endings are covered and your eyes can stay wide open? It is different for all of us. But this Labor Day weekend, I am thinking less about labor and more about balance. I work well. I don't always take care of myself well. So, lately I am making time for that. I went to play in the water, to buy myself some flowers and I baked up an amazing batch of cinnamon rolls. And I ate them warm. I am feeling more balanced already.

Here is the recipe for truly wonderful cinnamon rolls. It is adapted slightly from the Mennonite Community Cookbook (1950).
1 cup scalded milk (I used 3/4 cup half and half and 1/4 cup 2% milk)
1 cup lukewarm water
2 packages of yeast
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
6 -7 cups of flour (I used one cup whole wheat, the rest white flour)

Scald milk and pour it over sugar, salt, and butter.
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water.
Add beaten eggs.
When milk has cooled to lukewarm temperature, add the yeast and beaten eggs.
Beat well.
Add flour gradually, beating well.
Knead lightly, working in just enough flour so that dough can be handled (think soft and supple) easily.
Place dough in a buttered bowl, cover and let stand about 2 hours.

Make into cinnamon rolls by rolling out dough into an oblong shape. about 1/4 inch thick. Spread with melted butter, sprinkle brown sugar mixed with cinnamon and add chopped pecans. Roll up like a jelly roll and slice. Lay down in a buttered pan. Let them rise for about one hour. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

While still warm, frost with butter frosting:
3 T butter
2 T milk
powdered sugar to desired consistency

Here's to knowing what you need,


  1. Did you mean 1 lukewarm cup of "water" instead of lukewarm milk? You reference mixing yeast in water..but you do not list any amount of water in list of ingredients.

    thanks, sounds good.

  2. Oh, thanks for noticing the error. I corrected it now, yes, 1 cup of lukewarm water. I think I need an editor, don't I? Thanks for reading. I have made cinnamon rolls a few times but this was my first with this recipe. Truly melt in your mouth wonderful!

  3. Ellen, I truly admire you and the balance you are trying to achieve in your life. I will second the fact that you work well. You are awesome at what you do and our students are better for you being there. Thanks for sharing your blog with me. I really enjoy reading it. I want to try these cinnamon rolls. I love to bake and my kids love to eat cinnamon rolls:). I think I'll get my girls to help.