Lately, I have had zero desire to bake or do much of anything in the kitchen. I think about how I always had Ryan with me in the kitchen and we would make anything and everything. Now, it is just me in the kitchen and if I am bring honest ... It sucks being alone in there. I miss him grabbing my legs, his chatter and his little voice always asking to taste and help. I miss him dragging in his foot stool from the bathroom to get a better look. And every once in a while when he couldn't care less about what I was making but still wanted to be in the kitchen, he would bring in his toys and play around my feet. Then he would find something else interesting or daddy would come home and they would go play outside. Leaving me in the kitchen, and I would step on a car or plane toy and scream because stepping on tiny toys hurt! I would yell for Ryan to come pick up his toys and remind him if he is going to play with something else, then you have to clean up this mess first.
My heart hurts. So bad. I miss being a mom. I miss my son.
A few weeks ago a stranger from New York sent me a giant box. You know those white boxes with iconic black lettering on it? When I say giant I mean giant. So, my whole family is there because it is big and I'm saying out loud I didn't order anything from here! I undo the ribbon and there is a tiny, tiny card. When I say tiny I mean tiny. I open it and read, my family yelling "what does it say?!".
We don't know each other, but your story has touched me so much.
Please keep baking. Ryan is so proud of you.
HUGS all the way from NYC.
The Robitaille Family.
In that moment I started to cry. I cry from reading three words 'Please keep baking'. Then I pulled the tissue and bubble wrap and tears came out so hot and fast. My whole family was teared up and really we all were floored by the immense love this stranger had showered us with. Inside the giant box was everything you could ever want while baking. The gadgets were nothing compared to her simple note that urged me to step back into the kitchen, with out my son, and continue to do something I love. Their hugs from a far gave me courage and showed their faith in me. It was all nothing short of amazing and in that moment it was everything I needed. Because right now I am living moment to moment. Some are really bad, some are violent and nasty, some are fine and some are full of love and glimmering hope. So this hopeful moment led me back into the kitchen and I decided to make these. Probably the worst thing for you because they are stuffed with margarine and sugar...but really who cares.
One of my favorite things to eat is cinnamon rolls and making them from scratch is really rewarding. Plus, if you have overnight guests and bake them cinnamon rolls to enjoy in the morning you become a rock star. So, I'll teach you how to be a baking rock star ...
Brown Sugar Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
What You Need
- one package of dry yeast
-one cup warm water
- 1/4 cup sugar
-pinch of salt
-2 tablespoons of melted margarine (for the dough mixture)
-1/3 cup margarine (for the pecan mixture)
-2-3 tablespoons softened margarine (to spread on the dough after rolling out)
-4 cups flour (plus extra for rolling out dough)
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-2 tablespoons corn syrup
-1 cup chopped pecans
-1/2 cup sugar
-2 teaspoons cinnamon
What You Do
Start the day before you want to eat your cinnamon rolls. The dough has to rest at least overnight before you roll it out and bake it.
- Use a mixer and in your mixing bowl add the package of dry yeast with the warm water. The warm water helps the yeast bloom and this whole process should smell like your making soft pretzels. Which might throw you off, but stay focused because at the end of all these steps will be a sweet reward.
- Once the yeast is some what dissolved add the 1/4 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of softened margarine and one egg. Mix these until fully incorporated.
- Now, slowly mix in the flour and pinch of salt. Adding a little at a time so you don't make a flour mess and so the dough mixes smooth with no flour lumps.
- Be sure to not over mix your dough. Once the dough is smooth and slightly sticky stop the mixer.
- Coat a separate large bowl with cooking spray and place to the side.
- Spray one of your hands with cooking spray and pull the wet dough out of your mixing bowl and place in the large coated bowl.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in your refrigerator over night. You can make this dough up to four days in advance and just let it hang out in the refrigerator. Any longer than that and the dough will go bad.
- After you let your dough rest, it is time to roll it out.
- Coat a large surface area with flour and place your dough in the center. Use flour to kneed it into a ball shape. Coat your rolling pin with flour and begin rolling out your dough. This part always gives me trouble because it isn't like cookie dough where you can roll it and it stays still. The yeast in this dough gives it a rubber band feel and it takes a lot of muscle to roll it all over and have it stay rolled out. If you have any tips on rolling out dough please tell me.
- Once your dough is rolled out mix the 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon.
- Rub your dough down with 2-3 tablespoons of softened margarine and then sprinkle on the sugar and spice mixture all over.
- Once coated, begin rolling your dough.
- Once tightly rolled up, use a knife and cut the edges off.
- Now, leave the dough for a second and in a bowl mix 2 tablespoons of melted margarine, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of corn syrup and 1 cup chopped pecans. Pour this mixture into the pan you will bake your cinnamon rolls in. Make sure to coat the pans with cooking spray first. Spread out the sticky pecans so it creates a bottom layer on your pan.
- This dough usually makes around 10-13 cinnamon rolls. Depending on how large you cut them. Once you cut your rolls you can see how big of a pan you will need.
- Place your cinnamon rolls on top of the pecan layer and cover with a damp paper towel.
- Leave the covered rolls for about an hour. You will see the rolls rise and get bigger.
- Once you have waited for the rolls to rise. Bake them for about 30-45 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven. They will be golden brown and bubbly once they are ready to come out.
- While still hot, place a large plate over the rolls. Protect your hands with pot holders and flip the rolls onto the large plate. Use a butter knife to spread the gooey brown sugar pecan mixture all over and between the rolls.
- Serve them warm and enjoy these sticky sweet treats!
Thank you to the Robitaille Family and to every single one of you here with me. Helping me through each one of my moments.