Friday, January 21, 2011

My Grandma's Cinnamon Rolls

My Grandma makes good food. No, strike that. My Grandma makes legendary food. She has a knack for tweaking just one little ingredient and making the whole thing better.

Take her cinnamon rolls.

A good number of people will tell you that in order to make good cinnamon rolls, you must take those rolls and slather them in frosting.

This is wrong.

Just plain wrong.

Cinnamon rolls are delicious because they are rolls that have cinnamon in them. In order to really appreciate this combination, you must be able to taste the roll and the cinnamon, and not just sugar.

This is where Grandma has surpassed all expectations and obtained perfection.

You will need some dough. In her words, "any old sweet dough recipe will work." You can also use frozen bread dough.

Lightly flour a flat surface.
Then roll out your dough. I love Grandma's hands. I think you can read the story of her life without even knowing anything about her.
Roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thickness.
Let everyone have a turn.
Here is Part I of Grandma's secret. Shortening. Okay all you out there cringing. She also said lard would work.

Spread this out over the dough in a semi-thin layer.
Then sprinkle with your favorite cinnamon-sugar ratio.
Start on the long end and roll up the dough.
And now Part II. If you made it past the first round of shortening, there's more. Take a little bit and melt it into the bottom of your baking pan.
You should have a thin (1/4 inch) layer on the bottom of the pan.
Now cut that roll of dough into about 1 inch slices.
And place in the melted shortening. Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon-sugar mixture, because that's what Grandma does.
She also adds a little bit more shortening. Don't skip this step. This is how the magic really happens.
Let those rolls rise in a nice warm place until they are doubled in size (about an hour). Just before baking, pour a can of evaporated milk over the rolls and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

EDIT: I do not have a picture of the evaporated milk! Grandma did this while I went to help Dad move round bales! This is a crucial step that cannot be avoided and I managed to hide it well enough for some people to miss it! (Sorry about that, Neal)

Invert those baked rolls onto a plate and let them cool, leaving the pan on top of the rolls. This is important! All that shortening deliciousness is going to fall out of the pan down into the rolls.

And you get this...
Scoop any extra gooey back onto the rolls.

Gooey, yummy, oh my...
Just looking at this picture makes me hungry.

And it makes me think of my Grandma.
And, yes, this picture of her and The Girl makes me want to cry.


Neal said...

I am so glad you got to do this with Grandma! Makes me wanna cry too.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the most important ingrediant - LOVE. I know your Grandma's cooking is full of that too.

Anonymous said...

Tracy, This is so ironic. I sat at that kitchen table last weekend and watched your grandma do exactly the same thing you have so aptly described while making a batch of cinnamon rolls. So much Love, patience, knowledge and instruction involved. What a precious story you have created. I love it. JoAnn N.