I didn't take very many pictures of the Christmas festivities over the weekend. I wish I would have. It was a lovely Christmas. I was just too busy to get out the camera. My parents came to visit, and so did Derek's brother. The picture above is from Christmas Eve. We watched my daughter perform in the Nutcracker that evening. I knew it would be late when we came back home. I still wanted something special for dinner- but it had to be simple. A finger food buffet, that needed little more than opening jars and boxes fit the bill. My daughter made some "pigs in blankets" with breakfast sausages that we had cooked ahead of time, wrapped in refrigerator croissants. Dessert was sea salt chocolate caramels with vanilla ice cream.
For Christmas breakfast, I knew my husband would need to use the whole kitchen for his traditional cinnamon roll baking (it's a small kitchen). But I also knew that we would need something other than just sweets- so I made this breakfast casserole the night before. It cooked all night in the crock pot and was ready when we woke up. It was so good!
After breakfast I used the crock pot again to get dinner ready. We were going to be at church during the time I would normally have been making dinner. So I made it easy on myself with a pre-marinated roast from Trader Joes. I love the crock pot.
These cinnamon rolls are my favorite. We also use the dough recipe for homemade pizza crust. I think it's time I finally share it here with you. This is the single most requested recipe that my husband and I ever get requests for when we cook for company. We adapted it from Julia Child's: The Way to Cook, book. You need a food processor for this.
Makes two 16-inch pizza discs
For approx. 15 cinnamon rolls, double this recipe:
The yeast mixture
1 package dry active yeast
1/2 cup tepid water
1/8 tsp. sugar
Additions to the yeast mixture
3/4 cup cold milk, plus more if needed
2 TBS olive oil
The dry ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Mixing the dough
Whisk the yeast ingredients in a measure and let bubble up 5 minutes or so to proof. Measure the dry ingredients into the bowl of the processor. Blend the 3/4 cup of milk into the ready yeast mixture.
Turn on the machine and process the yeast, then the oil, and droplets more milk, if needed, just until the dough masses on the blade of the processor.
The dough will be very soft. Let it rest 5 minutes, and it will develop enough body to be processed 2 seconds more in the machine. Then turn it out onto your lightly floured work surface.
Knead 50 strokes by hand, give a two minute rest, and knead 20 strokes more to make a soft, smooth dough.
Rising- about 1 1/2 hours. Let the dough rise in a covered bowl until doubled in bulk. Turn it out onto your work surface and it is ready to cut and form.
For pizza dough, after topping, bake at 450 F for 7-10 minutes
For cinnamon rolls, roll out dough into long rectangular shape, approx. 1/4 inch thick. Spread about 2 sticks of softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and sugar. Roll up the dough into a log shape. Cut dough into approx. 15 equal pieces and place a baking dish. Let proof until rolls double in size, about 20 minutes.
Bake at 350 F, for about 30 minutes