Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Norwegian Grub and CHRISTMAS Cinnamon Rolls

Christmas is HERE!! 

This year the anticipation has just been killin' me! 
This is my first year working retail in a setting where the music is not really... negotiable? If you will... 

However, even with the endless hours of 'Santa Baby' and 'All I Want for Christmas is the Girl of My Dreams'... I
still have been so unbelievably excited for it all. 
Last night my parents and I went to my great-uncle's house, as we always have, and although it was a smaller crew than I am used to, it was
so great. My cousin and great-aunt made traditional Norwegian food... We almost always enjoy lefse, but this year were able to experience lutefisk (more on that in a moment) and rømmegrøt. 

Lefse is a Norwegian flatbread or tortilla of sorts made of flour, cream, and potatoes, of course... We always doctor it up with butter, cinnamon, and sugar, but others often enjoy it with savory items like ham and cheese or beef. 

Lutefisk is a traditional Nordic soup made from aged cod and a whole lotta butter. It is gelatinous in texture (the second of the two main problems... and has an extremely strong, pungent odor (the first of the big problems). Its name literally means 'lye fish'.  I am not a 'gaggy' person... I couldn't stomach this. My great-uncle, Keith, is a big, burly Viking and told me while I was giving my very best efforts to choke it down, that even he couldn't stomach it... it was at that moment that I decided I wouldn't renounce my heritage by spitting out the rank fish soup. 
Ahhhh, rømmegrøt. :) My first introduction to this decadent treat was at Nordicfest in Decorah, Iowa. It is a porridge made of whole milk, butter, and is often topped with cinnamon. It is rich and delicious and the perfect way to end a wonderful evening of food, stories, and laughter.

I just love my lil tree! It might be why I am still so very excited about Christmas! 

While last night was wonderful, today was lovely too!! My brother and sister-in-law are expecting their third little bumpkin and just moved into their new house about a month ago. It's much larger than their last house and a really great layout for rambunctious boys and a bunch of adults to eat, drink, and be merry.

My contribution to the brunch was homemade cinnamon rolls.... I have backed way off on baking in the last few years as I've been noticing it's really just not all that necessary, nor does my body like it very much... but I forgot how much I LOVE whipping up something sweet. :) Thankfully, I had the opportunity to tap into that delight once again this Christmas.

If you're interested in making these lil Christmas beauts, just follow these simple steps!

For the dough, you'll need:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (NOT pastry flour!!)
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the deliciously gooey insides, you'll need:

  • 1 stick of butter or 1 cup
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar

For the icing, you'll need:
  • 1/2 bag of powdered sugar (about a pound... they're sweet!)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter (about 1/3 of a stick), melted
  • a dash of salt
  • a generous splash of pure maple syrup
To make the dough, you first need to heat the milk, oil, and sugar in a medium pot over medium heat. You want to warm the mixture, but NOT boil it... it's a delicate dance here. Once you've heated the mixture, but saved it from boiling, set it aside and let it cool until it's lukewarm.

Once the milk, oil, and sugar have cooled, add 4 cups of the flour and your packet of yeast and stir just to combine. The dough will be sticky. Cover the pot with a towel and let the dough rise for an hour while you wrap more presents... or while you shower and beautify before everyone else wakes up. ;)
After your hour has passed, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder, and the salt. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, start melting your butter, and roll your dough into a large rectangle. I had to roll mine into two large rectangles... just do what you need to make it work. :) 

Pour on your butter and spread it around with your lovely little hands! (Have fun with it, how often do you get to slather butter all over your counter?!)

Sprinkle your cinnamon allllll over your rectangle of gold... I mean, dough. I love cinnamon, so I was extra liberal in this step. Don't be stingy on the edges! Follow with your sugar - the same mindset for that ingredient... the more, the merrier.

Do your best to roll your rectangle up super tight... this will simply make it easier to keep all that ooey, gooey, goodness INSIDE your rolls rather than all over your counter. Take a step back to enjoy your masterpiece and break out the butcher knife to slice your log into rolls. 

I felt like a combination of when I eat corn on the cob going back and forth, making sure I don't miss a single kernel and how I used to pretend to type or play the piano as a kid - you need quick fingers to keep it all together!

So much goodness right there.

Bake at 375 for 13-17 minutes, depending on your oven. Make sure not to let them get too brown as nobody's looking to eat any hockey pucks for their brunch... golden is good, aim for golden. 

This is the part my nephews love the most: the icing. It makes sense, who doesn't love straight sugar and butter? Mix together powdered sugar, milk, butter, and a smidge of salt. Once that's all mixed well, add in your splash of maple syrup. Most would whisk this all... I don't care for whisks though, so I simply mix it with a fork. To each their own! 

If you can even contain yourself for the 7 minutes or so that the smell of baked dough and buttery, sugary, cinnamony perfection has been tantalizing your nose, then break them out and let them cool for a moment before slathering the icing ALLLL over them. I'd suggest doing this while they're hot as the icing is pretty heavy duty.

I could stare at them all day... is that weird?

Good as gone.


Merry Christmas to you and yours!


  1. Hi Lauren! Love the step by step with pictures here, going to try the cinnamon rolls :)

    1. Hey Rhoda! That's so great to hear. :) Please let me know how they turn out. Happy New Year!

  2. You're such a faker, acting like you're nervous about making cinnamon rolls! They look amazing!!!! I love the blog and you look GORGEOUS in your pics, ow ow!!!

    1. Hahahahahaha. Initially, I was like, 'Who is this punk calling me a poser?!' Then I realized it's you. :) Thanks for the kind words and the laugh! :) Oh yeah... and for putting up with me and my craziness so often!!