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Cinnamon Rolls- A Holiday Tradition

During my childhood, holidays meant homemade cinnamon rolls. It is a tradition that I have carried on with my family. As I prepare for Easter morning, I am gathering all of my ingredients. I thought I would share….my recipe…not the rolls….get your own!

A few thoughts about my recipe:

  • The dough is made in a breadmaker, though it could be adapted.
  • I have included a recipe for Vanilla Frosting, but for a less sweet roll, we have skipped the frosting and drizzled melted butter over the rolls. (Much healthier, right?)
  • I included an option for a roll with a caramel bottom. I haven’t tried this before, but it sounds really good! (If we are going to choose unhealthy, let’s go all the way!)
  • This recipe is adapted from a recipe that I found on Allrecipes. Her recipe has cream cheese frosting, but my family prefers vanilla. Check it out if you prefer cream cheese.


Cinnamon Rolls


1/4 cup of warm water

1/4 cup of butter, melted

1 box of instant vanilla pudding mix (not prepared, just the mix)

1 cup warm milk

1 egg, room temperature

1 tablespoon white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups of bread flour

1 package rapid rise dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast, out of a jar)

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cup brown sugar

5 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 cup of chopped pecans



1. In the pan of your bread machine, combine water, melted butter, vanilla pudding mix, warm milk, egg, sugar, salt, bread flour, and yeast. Set machine to dough cycle and press start.

2. When dough cycle is finished, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 17×10 inch rectangle. Spread with softened butter.

3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the dough evenly.

4. Butter two round pans.

5. Roll up the dough tightly, beginning with the long side. Slice into 16 one-inch slices. (I gently mark off every one inch. Then I wrap dental floss around the entire roll. Pull it tightly, slicing off each slice.) Place the rolls in the buttered pans. Let them rise in a warm place until they have doubled in size. (about 45 minutes)

6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

7. After the rolls have risen, bake them in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven and drizzle with frosting. Use dental floss to cut the rolls.


1. Make them the day before: Make the rolls. Instead of letting them rise immediately, set them on the counter. Spray plastic wrap with non-stick spray. Cover. Loosen the plastic wrap so that the rolls can rise overnight. Let them sit at least 10 hours before baking.

2. Make ahead and freeze: Make the rolls. Instead of letting them rise immediately, cover them. Spray the plastic wrap with non-stick spray. Cover them with plastic wrap. Cover them again with foil. Freeze. The evening before, pull them out of the freezer and set it on the counter at least twelve hours before baking. Loosen the plastic wrap so the rolls have room to rise.


Vanilla Frosting


3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup of butter, softened

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3 1/2 tablespoons of milk



Combine. Drizzle over warm rolls.


Caramel Bottom


1/3 cup of butter

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream


Cook mixture over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Pour in the bottom of the pan. (before adding the rolls to the pan)


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Top Ten Easter books


In preparation for Easter, I am gathering my favorite Easter books.  Currently, these are my favorites.   

1.  Twice Yours by Nan Gurley - While not directly related to Easter,  this book brought me to tears. The author weaves a story of a little boy that carves a boat, loses it, and then purchases it again.  The boat was “twice his”- once when he created it and once when he bought it.  Using this story, Nan Gurley reminds us that we belong to the Lord twice- once when he made us and once when he bought us.


2.  Benjamin’s Box by Melody Carlson - Intended for use alongside the Resurrection Eggs, this book tells the Easter story from the point of view of a little boy living in Jerusalem during the life of Jesus.  The  reader receives more than just the facts.  This book reveals the emotions felt by a young boy that loved Jesus.  I have looked at several books that go along with the Resurrection eggs.  This is my favorite! 



 3.  The Legend of the Sand Dollar by Chris Auer-  A little girl learns the story of Easter by looking at a sand dollar.


4.  The Country Bunny and the Little Golden Shoes by Du Bose Heyward-  Okay.  This book does not tell the true meaning of Easter-at all.  It is a book about Easter bunnies.  So, if you are completely opposed to the Easter bunny then you may not like it.  But, that being said, it is precious!  A Mother Bunny is exalted and named “Easter Bunny” for her wonderful abilities at raising her twenty-one children.  At the end of the book, she is rewarded for being  ”wise, kind, swift, and brave.”  Motherhood is praised and exalted. 


5.  The Legend of the Three Trees by Catherine McCafferty – This book tells the story of three trees.  Each one has a dream for it’s life.  As the story unfolds, the trees realize that God’s dreams for them, though different from their own,  are much better than they ever imagined.


6.  The Parable of the Easter Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs- While perfect for preschoolers, my older boys don’t like this book as much.  But, for the sake of the little ones, I have included it in my list. Honestly, my favorite parts are the bible verses listed at the bottom of the pages.  They fit perfectly with the story and are a perfect way for adults to find eternal meaning in a simple child’s book. 

7.  Easter Eggs for Anya by Virginia Kroll and The Bird’s Gift by Eric Kimmel -  These are two different books that mesh together perfectly.  These storybooks illustrate the Ukranian custom of painting eggs at Easter celebrations.  The illustrations are beautiful and the angle unique. 


8.  The Easter Story by Brian Wildsmith- The illustrations in this book are breathtaking!  The story is a traditional retelling of the Easter message told from the point of view of the donkey that carried Jesus. 


9.  The Story of Easter by Aileen Fisher - This book gives factual reasons as to  why people celebrate Easter.  Also, it explains Easter traditions from all over the world.  It is more of an encyclopedia-type book, rather than a story.  But, I included it because it gives useful information about global traditions.   


10.  The Legend of the Easter Egg by Lori Walburg - A sweet story that attaches meaning to the traition of the Easter Egg. 


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