It was 6:30 when my alarm went off this Christmas morning. I was tempted to stay warm and snug under the covers for another half hour, but then I thought about my children and their excitement, their threats of waking up at "the crack of dawn" to tear into their gifts and discover what Santa had left them. So I rolled half-unwillingly out of bed, put on my slippers, and stumbled out my bedroom door toward the kitchen.
I didn't notice him on the way to the kitchen because I had just one task on my mind: get the rolls out and rising. But on the way back to bed where my place would still be warm and I could re-set my alarm for 7:00 when I had to start the baking, I saw him. He was sound asleep seated on the couch, the ottoman pulled up to support his legs, glasses on. He was snuggled under a blanket, the cat curled up beside him, his stocking loot scattered around him on the couch and on the floor beneath him.
He brought a smile to my face, and my heart melted. I started for the camera but then stopped. I hated to awaken him; I had no idea how long he had been up or how long ago he had ventured downstairs, the curiosity and excitement too much to keep him in bed a second longer. I started to turn quietly away, but just then his sister came down the stairs, laughing as she noticed her brother sound asleep there on the couch. Her laughter awakened him. He grinned, his eyes sparkling as they so often do.
"What time did you come down here, Michael?" I asked.
"One o'clock." He giggled.
"Silly boy," I said.
This recipe is a bread machine recipe. I'm going to give it to you in the order in which I place the ingredients in my bread maker. I'm sure it would be just fine by hand too--just be sure to dissolve the yeast in the warm milk, add the other ingredients, knead about 8 minutes and let rise for 45 the first time. Here are the ingredients:
1 c. warm milk (110 degrees F/45 C)
1/3 c. butter, melted (recipe calls for margarine; I use butter--I suppose it just depends where you stand on the butter/marg. issue)
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
4 1/2 c. bread flour
2 1/2 t. yeast
After it rises, roll out. I use oil on the counter surface instead of flour with my dough--it keeps it moist.
Spread with 1/3 c. butter, softened, and a mixture of 1 c. brown sugar and 2 1/2 T. cinnamon
Cut rolls and place in greased pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400. Bake about 15 minutes.
While still warm, frost with 3 oz. cream cheese, 1/4 c. butter, softened, 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar, 1/2 t. vanilla, and 1/8 t. salt.
If you wish to make these the night before, complete recipe and then roll out dough, add butter/cinnamon/sugar, and form rolls. Place them in baking pan, cover, and put in fridge. In the morning, get the rolls out and put them on top rack of cold oven. Place a pan of boiling water in the bottom of the oven. Let rise in the steam for about a half hour. Then remove pan of water, take rolls out to preheat oven, and proceed with baking and frosting as instructed.