My mother has been making homemade cinnamon rolls since I was a small child—I mean get-up-at-2am-mix-roll-cut-bake-ice-from-scratch cinnamon rolls to die for. She taught me only one part of that process: how to make the powdered sugar icing. (I’m sure she would have taught me everything else, but I never woke up till the icing was all that lacked.) Whole recipe: put a bunch of powdered sugar in something and stir in a tiny amount of water or milk. She never used precise measurements. It was a lot of this or a little of that, until the result was right. The amazing thing was the last step in getting the right thickness. With the icing still too thick to use, she said, “watch this,” and added (I’m not exaggerating) about a drop of water. As she mixed it in, the icing went from pasty dry to buttery smooth. One drop.
My assessment of our world is that we are aware of less than 1% of the things which directly affect our daily lives and activities, and that we are intentional about what we do with even less than that. Obviously I’m manufacturing the number, but things ranging from autonomic reactions to highway rage should at least bring my point above the line of credibility. All of those undeliberate things taken together comprise the dry substance of people’s daily lives in a fallen and frustrating world.
Sometimes, we are overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of need in the world, especially when compared with the minuscule power we have to change it. I know I am. That’s why I mention my mom’s icing. I may only have one drop of kindness or good news to add to someone’s apparently rigid day or demeanor, but that one drop is sometimes all it takes.
Add one drop and change the world, this week.
Mom’s Cinnamon Rolls
By Joann Creamer
- 2 cups hot milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 packets yeast
- 4-6 cups flour
- Pour hot milk over butter cut in tsp size pieces, add salt and brown sugar.
- Put 1/4 cup water over 3 packets yeast. Stir just to dampen.
- While yeast moistens, mix some flour in milk mixture to make a thin batter. Add yeast and start adding flour until a smooth dough is formed that cleans the bowl–cannot over knead.
- Cover and let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.
- Roll out dough to rectangle, brush with butter, cover with brown sugar and cinnamon. Beginning on long side, roll up and slice in about 2″ slices, turn flat in pan. Let rise until double and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Make a thin glaze of powdered sugar, water, vanilla, and butter.