Happy winter, everyone. As beautiful as it is, winter is not my favorite season, but lots of important events happen in this bone-chilling time of year. Christmas is one of those wonderful happenings, and I thought I would share one of our Christmas traditions that my family loves. Although my husband and I try to avoid eating bread for the most part, freshly baked bread is one of my weaknesses. Freshly baked cinnamon rolls are probably one thing that I just can’t resist. Years ago I started making a simple version of cinnamon rolls, which we lovingly refer to as cinnamon rings. It’s one of the easiest holiday traditions for us, and I am even able to make several at a time to give to neighbors and friends as gifts at this time of year. Don’t get me wrong… I love making my own bread dough from scratch. I don’t know why, but the process of mixing, hand kneading and rising the dough is somehow soothing and comforting to me. My problem is usually time (or lack of it). I began buying frozen bread dough for this recipe, and it really works out beautifully.
Depending on how many rings I need, I will buy the three- or five-loaf package. I spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay the frozen loaves on it. I cut the plastic bag they come in so it is just a large plastic rectangle, place that on top of the loaves and cover with a tea towel to rise all night in a cold oven. When I get up in the morning, the loaves are generally risen enough to then roll out into large rectangles and spread the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. If I want a little bigger ring, I will use 1.5 loaves per ring. After it is baked, I have a large platter ready to transfer it to and then frost while it’s still warm.
We had our Christmas early this year with our children and grandchildren. I made two large cinnamon rings using three loaves of frozen dough, and they lasted about 20 minutes. They are so good, especially while still warm.
If you’re looking for a yummy treat for your family or friends this holiday season, you might want to try your hand at cinnamon rings. You might get hooked. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our house to yours!
1-1½ loaf frozen bread dough (any brand)
½ cup softened butter
Brown sugar (to taste, but probably about 1-1½ cups)
½ cup butter
2-pound bag powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Enough milk to make an easily spreadable frosting
Beat with your electric mixer for a nice, smooth consistency. Set aside.
Allow the frozen bread dough to thaw and rise to double or triple in size. (It should be soft and not cold to the touch and have some bubbles in the dough.) Stretch out to make a large rectangle. Spread butter over the area of the rectangle, spread brown sugar evenly over the butter, and sprinkle cinnamon over all. (I didn’t put amounts on the cinnamon, as it is according to your taste.)
Roll the dough into a long log and pinch the dough together at the seam. Transfer to a large greased cookie sheet with sides. Bring the ends together to make a circle, seam down. Pinch the dough together to connect the ends, making a nice circle. Using a sharp knife, cut 5 or 6 slits in the dough just down deep enough to cut through the next layer of the rolled up dough. Cover with the plastic and tea towel again. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 18-24 minutes (or until a nice golden brown). When you take the cinnamon ring out of the oven, use a pancake turner to transfer it to the platter. Frost while still warm, allowing the frosting to melt down into the cracks and crevices. For a festive touch, you can sprinkle with holiday-colored sugar or sprinkles. Enjoy! ♦