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When I was a baby, my grandparents moved a mobile home on to our tiny two-acre farm. They left the family farm by the time I was ten and so my memories are limited to flashes here and there. Grandma’s living room being filled with handmade quilts… Grandpa sitting in his chair embroidering in the corner of the dining room… Grandma’s strawberry patch and clothesline and their food storage room off the kitchen that held shelves of hundreds of quarts of canned vegetables and fruits that Mama and Grandma grew in our family garden. I remember Grandma baking. Mostly, I remember her cinnamon rolls. How big were those pans?? She must’ve been able to fit about 18 rolls on each pan. When they were finished, she would turn them out on a brown paper sack on the counter. Grandma’s kitchen was small by modern standards, but I still remember dozens of cinnamon rolls cooling on the minimal counter space next to the stove. Grandma wasn’t known for her cooking, but rather for her baking. I think she and I are a lot alike, and my Mama tended to agree. Grandma and I will not normally measure our flour and other ingredients. We go by the look of things. We knew that from day to day and flour to flour, the bread would take more or less to produce a perfect product.
In the spirit of all of that, I now make her cinnamon rolls for my own family! I wish I could bake them with her just once, but she passed away when I was sixteen after a years-long battle with dementia. Today I go off of some instruction from my own Mama and what I remember from Grandma.
Every holiday, my family knows (and are thankful) that breakfast is likely to include Grandma Moir’s Cinnamon Rolls.
To start, I make my No-Fail Bread Recipe. This recipe is from a cookbook left to us by my mother-in-law so that ultimately makes this recipe the perfect blend between our two families.
On a floured surface, roll the dough out to something close to a rectangle. My rectangles always turn out pretty “rustic”. That’s what I’m calling them anyway. I still haven’t perfected how to get those perfect angles!
Next, I spread a liberal amount of butter on the dough followed by brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins. I sometimes add pecan bits or leave off the raisins depending on who I am making them for, but it usually happens just like this.
Next, I roll the dough starting at the long side closest to me, so I am left with a long roll that I can cut from.
Next, I slice the dough about every 1 1/2 inches. That produced 14 rolls from this doubled recipe of No-Fail Bread.
Today, I used an 8×11 inch pan. Before I put the rolls in the pan, I lightly grease the sides and add a layer of butter and brown sugar on the bottom of the pan. This creates a caramel sauce that, when you flip the rolls out of the pan after baking, creates a sticky, chewy and sweet topping for the rolls. You can opt out of this, of course, and just lightly grease the whole pan with butter and put a frosting on the top after it has cooled. My Grandma Moir always made the caramel sauce, however, so that’s how I do it.
When you bring the fully baked rolls out of the oven, run a knife along the sides of the pan. Prepare a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and turn the pan over on to the cookie sheet. Scrape the pan for any leftover caramel sauce.
We are nothing without tradition. I have diligently taught my children this to the point that they remind me of things that “have to happen” on every holiday. Sights, smells, routines… those are the things that bind us together as a family thru the generations, aren’t they? A recipe here, an event there, the things we find joy in and the things we share with others write the story of who we are because of where we came from. I’m so thankful for the few years that I got to spend with my grandparents living on our little farm in Southwest Washington State! The sights and smells and values that I learned during those years left an imprint on my life that I’m certain I am extending to my children in the life we live today. I would like to think that Grandma would think I’m doing a pretty good job. My prayer is that our legacy of family continues for generations to come.
Grandma Moir’s Cinnamon Rolls
- 2 No-Fail Bread Recipe (link in instructions)
- 2 Sticks Salted Butter, room temperature (divided)
- 1.5 Cup Brown Sugar (divided)
- 3 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 Cup Raisins
- Make a double batch of No-Fail Bread Recipe No Fail Bread Recipe – Faith-Family-Farm
- On a floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle.
- Spread a stick of room temperature butter on to the dough.
- Sprinkle half of the brown sugar onto the buttered dough.
- Sprinkle all of the cinnamon and raisins on to the the buttered and sugared dough.
- From the long end, roll the dough.
- Slice the rolled dough into 1-1.5 inch sections to form approximately 12 cinnamon rolls.
- Lightly grease a 9×12 baking pan.
- Spread the second stick of butter evenly across the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with remaining brown sugar.
- Put rolls in the pan on top of brown sugar and butter layers, facing up.
- Allow to rise for approximately 45 minutes or until they have filled the pan.
- Place in oven and set temperature to 350*. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the temperature of a roll is about 200* on a stick thermometer.
- Remove from oven and slide a knife along the sides of the pan to loosen the rolls from the sides.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and flip cinnamon rolls on to the pan quickly.
- With a rubber spatula, scrape the pan and add remaining caramel to the rolls.
- Allow to cool a bit before eating as the caramel can be very hot!