Let the aroma from cinnamon rolls welcome you home after your child’s special morning
Parents know that first Communion Sunday — as glorious, beautiful and fulfilling as it is — can be hectic and exhausting.
The push to get young communicants into their special clothing, shoes polished, hair arranged and faces shining can take its toll as families head out the door earlier than usual for pictures and last-minute rehearsals before Mass. I know years ago when my sons made their first Communions, I was swept into tending to last-minute details and worried about missteps. It took a conscious effort for me to focus on the beauty of the Mass, and I was worn out when we finally got through the morning.
So last spring as I watched the youngsters approach the altar to receive their first holy Communion at my parish, I caught myself thinking that I should have planned a nice family breakfast on each of my sons’ big days — maybe scrambled eggs, orange juice, yogurt, strawberries, bacon and homemade cinnamon rolls. A special meal would make the day all the more memorable. So often, food is associated with memories we carry close to our hearts.
Certainly, over time U.S. Catholics have settled on traditions of dress for the children: white dresses and veils for girls and dark suits with white shirts for boys. More to the point, though, white symbolizes purity, and it is the color worn for the three sacraments of initiation: baptism, Eucharist and confirmation. Why not start another tradition, a lovely family breakfast with homemade cinnamon rolls? I’m thinking this could be adopted when my granddaughter makes her first Communion in a few years and something that this year’s first Communion families could enjoy now.
I’ve been making these cinnamon rolls forever. They are nothing special in terms of ingredients, only special in terms of the effort it takes to make them. The dough doubles for Thanksgiving Parker House rolls, without the brown sugar, raisins and cinnamon.
Photo: Rachel Bauer
1 packet dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
pinch of sugar
1 cup milk, heated in the microwave (not too hot)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup melted butter
3 1/2 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
brown sugar, more melted butter, cinnamon and raisins to spread on the dough, according to how sweet you want your rolls
Soften the yeast in water that’s about 110 degrees. Add the pinch of sugar and watch the mixture expand and become fluffy.
Combine the milk, sugar, melted butter and salt. Make sure you cool it to lukewarm so you don’t kill the yeast when it is added to the mix.
Add 1 1/2 cups flour, mixing well. Beat the egg, then add it and the yeast to the dough. Work in the rest of the flour. Place in a buttered bowl, turning to coat the surface. Cover and let rise until double, about 2 hours.
Turn out on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a 12-by-18 rectangle. Slather melted butter over the surface, then sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins over the whole thing, according to how much sugar and spice you want. Roll lengthwise as in a jelly roll. Seal the edge and cut the roll into 1-inch slices. Place cut side down on a buttered surface. I use parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
Cover and let the rolls rise for another 45 minutes. Bake at 350 for about 15–20 minutes.
Cream cheese frosting (optional)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
I never frost the rolls, preferring to let the butter ooze and the cinnamon dominate. However, if someone wants to spread an extra layer of decadence on the rolls, just cream all the ingredients together and you’re set. Serve on the side.
Northwest Catholic - May 2016
Janet Cleaveland is a member of the Proto-Cathedral of St. James the Greater in Vancouver.