Sometime in early October, on a day when our driveway was getting torn up for plumbing issues, I had just come back from a trip to Chicago and Tim and I were in the throes of heavy budget talks, we got some life-changing, almost unbelievable, genuinely good news that has been hard to keep from you until now:
We’re having a baby. We who, this February, grieved the loss of a little one sat, two weeks ago, in my midwife’s office, hearing this baby’s heartbeat, loud and strong like horses galloping so fast, I cried with joy and relief. I’m 13 weeks along, I have the tiniest bump under my shirt, I now own two pairs of maternity pants and we have an organic baby rattle from Uncle Adam sitting on the desk in our office. We feel so grateful and amazed and maybe still a little in disbelief. 2014 has been a year of much stretching and growing and grieving and being comforted, and we have our hands open to receive whatever and however God gives next. We don’t think a baby is the greatest gift or the only gift, and I spent most of this year realizing how sweet and precious the Giver is to me, far more than anything He sends. But still we are thankful and praising Him at this little miracle, because we know it is from Him and because we love Him so much. It is such a joy to get to rejoice with you all, our online friends, as we thank Him now. Merry Christmas and Christmas cranberry cinnamon rolls for everyone!
Christmas Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls
My first trimester has been blessedly low on nausea or major discomforts, but that is not to say I haven’t been eating a lower number of average vegetables and a higher amount of fresh fruit and baked goods. Whatever Baby wants, right? That’s probably why these cinnamon rolls are not the first but the second cinnamon rolls we Mallons have enjoyed this month, but these with cranberries added to the filling. They are adapted from The Recipe Critic and the thing I like best about them, besides obviously the sweet and gooey results, is that there’s only one 30-minute rise time.
for the dough:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 1/4 cups all-purpose einkorn flour (want to know more about einkorn flour?
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup Sucanat (unrefined cane sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup kefir
for the filling:
3/4 cup Sucanat
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup dried cranberries
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
for the cream cheese icing:
6 ounces organic cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Sucanat, ground into powder in the Vitamix in 10 seconds or so
1/8 to 1/4 cup plain whole-milk kefir (or milk or cream would probably work)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Start by making the dough: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the butter and milk. Stir together until butter has melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
While mixture cools, grab a large mixing bowl and combine 2 1/4 cups of the flour with yeast, Sucanat, and salt. Add the egg and the kefir, and stir together until well combined. Slowly add in the warmed milk mixture and 1 cup of flour, until the dough starts to form and become smooth. Form into a ball and let rest in the bowl for 10 minutes.
Make the rolls’ filling by combining cinnamon, sugar and cranberries from filling ingredients in a small bowl. Grease a 9″ by 13″ pan with butter.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large 9″ × 15″ square, about 1/4 to 1/2″ thick. Spread the butter (from the filling ingredients) over the top and then add the cinnamon/sugar mixture all over the top of this.
Starting with the long (15″) side, roll the dough up into a log and pinch the ends together at the end. Cut this log into 9 to 2 slices, depending on how thick you want your rolls to be.
Roll up the 15 inch side into a log and pinch the seams. Cut into 9 to 12 slices depending on how thick you want your cinnamon rolls. Place rolls in the prepared 9″ by 13″ pan and cover with a damp cloth. Set in a warm place to rest and rise for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, preheat oven to 375F degrees. Remove cover from rolls and bake them for 30 minutes or until just golden brown on the tops. Make the cream cheese glaze while the rolls slightly cool by beating cream cheese and powdered Sucanat together in a large bowl. Add kefir and vanilla and mix until soft and whipped like frosting. Ice rolls and enjoy them while still warm!
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.