When I was a little girl I spent a lot of time with my Bambie (my Nana's sister). She and my Uncle Ross lived in a small ranch in Bristol NH, about a 1/2 mile from where my parents both worked. She was one of those ultimate grandmothers/great aunts that always had a house full of kids. She was our family's designated babysitter. A day at Bambie's always included lots of hot chocolate with a large dollop of fluff, Kraft macaroni, her teaching us inappropriate, songs, jokes and riddles that she was famous for, and then afternoons playing cards with Uncle Ross. Now to most young kids, that probably sounds boring, but to me it was comforting, because at that time in my young life, life was full of turmoil.
Like most kids, I was very aware of the things going on around me. We had just moved into a new house, my parents worked a ton of hours, and my mother had just given birth to my first sister, Elizabeth (named after our Bambie who everyone called Bett for short).
Mom carried Elizabeth to term, we all loved her and were excited for her arrival. I still remember vividly, the day mom went into labor. I think she and dad knew right away that something was terribly wrong and without any explanation my little brother and I were shipped off to my Nana's and then later the next day to my Bambie's, where I spent few days waiting for my parent's return with the new baby...
When my dad came to get us one afternoon, I could tell he had been crying, and asked where our new baby was. That is when he told us that Elizabeth had died. I was only 5 years old, and did not fully understand what that meant. I do not know if I was sad because I had never met my sister, but I do know I was terribly confused.
The next day there was a small service held at our family plot in the graveyard across the street from my Bambie's neighborhood. I remember it was really cold and rainy with high winds, and then after the service, there was a lot of food. I am not sure where we went, if it was at a hall of some sort, or if it was at some one's house. I do remember getting a plate of Bambie's homemade dinner rolls and her baked beans and I feasted. She was just as famous for her dirty mouth as she was for making the best yeast rolls known to man. For real, they are the best I have ever eaten in my life.
To this day I associate the smell of fresh baked breads to my Bambie and the smell of her kitchen, which during that time frame in my life was probably my only place of comfort and routine. 25 years later, Bambie is still living in the same house, though Uncle Ross passed away years ago and she is as feisty as ever.
And her kitchen? It still smells like fresh baked bread no matter when you go to visit.
I think one of the main reasons I bake so much fresh bread for my family is because that smell still brings a sense of comfort to me. My kids have grown up with that same smell lingering in our home, and when I start a batch of bread (no matter the type) they comment on how good it smells before they gobble up their warm yeasty rolls.
This recipe is really nothing like Bambie's but it did bring that comforting aroma into our home one Sunday afternoon. Filled with butter, maple syrup, brown sugar and cinnamon then topped with a maple glaze these rolls are sure to bring a sense of comfort to you as well.
Old Fashioned Maple Cinnamon Rolls
2 packages Red Star Platinum Yeast (or another quick rise yeast)
1/2 cup warm water
2 tbs granulated sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup warm milk
1 tbs salt
About 5 cups of flour ( I use bread flour, but you can use all purpose or white whole wheat as well)
For the filling:
1 cup of room temperature butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbs ground cinnamon
For the topping:
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
In a small bowl add yeast to 1/2 cup warm water with 2 tbs granulated sugar. Give a stir and allow to sit for about 5 minutes or until it is bubbly.
In a mixing bowl mix yeast with the melted butter, maple syrup, milk, salt, and about 2 cups of flour. Mix well until it starts to come together. Slowly mix in the rest of the flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is just barely sticky.
On a floured work surface pour dough out and start kneading until it is smooth and elastic. About 8 minutes. Add in as much flour needed (small amounts at a time) to keep it from sticking to your hands and work surface.
Place dough in a greased mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until it has doubled in size. The colder it is, the longer it takes to rise.
Once it has doubled in size, pour it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick.
In a small bowl mix the filling ingredients together and then spread it over the top of your dough.
Starting from one end, roll the dough into a long log enclosing the cinnamon filling in the dough.
Using a piece of string or a sharp knife, cut the rolls about 1 inch thick. Place each of them in a buttered baking dish. I used two dishes, a small pie plate and a 9x11 cake pan.
Set rolls aside, and allow to rise again until they have doubled in size.
Once they have doubled, bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Allow rolls to cool slightly.
To prepare glaze, whisk together maple syrup with powdered sugar and a pinch of salt. Drizzle over the tops of your warm rolls and then dig in!
Recipe yields about 12 extra large rolls.
I have 2 kids that like glaze and one that doesn't.... that's why in all of my picture about 1/3 of the batch is NOT frosted! Because you know how we moms have to make everyone happy!