My Table, without the Cinnamon Rolls I Made
This is my table. You’ve seen bits of it, as background to lots of things, from Squishy to cookies. But it is a thing of beauty in its own right, even when all 2 dozen cinnamon rolls I made today aren’t on it, because they have all been eaten before I could get the camera.
Papa made this table in 1972. It was our family dinner table for pretty much the rest of my growing up years. Baggy sat at one end, Papa at the other, and the seven of us were ranged down the sides in order of age–girls on one side, boys on the other–on long benches painted bright yellow. Innumerable bowls of Roman Meal hot cereal, plates of spaghetti, Thanksgiving turkeys, platters of birthday fried chicken, more bowls of homemade soup (cheap, filling, and nourishing). Thousands of hours of homework. Lunches, midnight snacks.
On one side is carved, “The Earth Abideth Forever,” and on the other, “Peace is the Way.”
After years of faithful service, the table was retired, and a new dining room set took its place. (I need hardly say that this took place while I was temporarily out of town.) The top was badly warped, the pine boards notched and scarred. Our faithful servant stood in the garage, neglected and alone.
But five years ago, in pursuit of the $100 Christmas, Joan took my table apart, sanded and planed and rebuilt it, finished it with tung oil, and gave it to me for Christmas. The Windsor chairs from the new dining room set work just fine with it. And now our kids eat their oatmeal, quesadillas (the latest breakfast craze), and cinnamon rolls on it.
Which is why there is no visual of the cinnamon rolls. They ate them all. But here’s the recipe, in case you too are feeling the bite in the air which means fall.
Cinnamon Rolls (adapted from Todd Wilbur’s hilarious A Treasury of Top Secret Recipes.)
1 packet (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 cup milk, gently warmed in the microwave to about 105 .
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
1/3 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed, and mixed with
2 teaspoons Penzey’s Baking Spice (Happy Birthday to Me!) or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cloves and 1/4 teaspoon allspice
In your KitchenAid bowl, combine the yeast and warm milk. Stir till dissolved, and let it rest for ten minutes or so. In another bowl, mix the butter, sugar, eggs, and salt. Beat this mixture till it’s well-combined, and then pour it into the yeast mixture. Add the flour, and stir with the dough hook attachment till it’s well-kneaded, glossy, and soft–about six minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place till doubled in size, about an hour.
Pat out the dough on a lightly-floured countertop into a rectangle about 16 x 21 inches. Spread 1/3 cup of softened butter over the dough, and then spread the filling over it. Carefully roll up the rectangle the long way, so you have a 21″ log of dough before you. Slice carefully into 1 3/4″ slices using a serrated knife and a light touch.
Put the rolls into 2 greased Pyrex pans (13 x 9), leaving room between the rolls for rising. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and let them rise until almost doubled–about one hour. Preheat oven to 350.
Bake rolls for 10-12 mnutes, until golden brown.
The original recipe, as claimed by Cinnabon, includes loads of fluffy cream cheese frosting. We scorn this gilding of the lily, preferring our cinnamon rolls ruggedly naked, as befits a pioneer family. They really are incredibly good. I’m sorry I can’t show you how pretty they are, too.