It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
The holiday season brings so many wonderful traditions and customs that make our home a warmer and happier place. We start a month before Christmas and love taking our time getting everything ready.
It’s hard to choose my favorite thing about the holiday season. love spending time with family and friends that I haven’t seen in a while. Of course, making wish lists with the kids and writing letters to Santa is always fun. And just listening to happy Christmas songs and beautiful holiday hymns always gets me in a wonderful holiday mood.
And then, of course, there’s the food.
I love to cook and bake year-round, but my favorite recipes are always saved for the holidays. When we have loved ones and friends dropping by to visit, I love to serve them our absolute favorite foods and desserts that I know they’ll love.
But since we have the same friends and family over every year, I also like to change things up a bit as well. Each year, I try to add a few new recipes, change the holiday decorations a little, and plan new activities for everyone to enjoy.
This year, I’ve already found great inspiration to help me start planning our holiday festivities. I’ve been reading a lot of great posts on the Food Lion blog and have some great ideas about new things we can try to ‘make more merry’ this holiday season.
Food Lion knows that families love their traditions, whether they’re big holiday meals, baking cookies for local firefighters, or other special ways to spend time together. Because of that, Food Lion shares great ideas, recipes, and inspiration to help make holiday traditions more fun and memorable each and every year.
One of my favorite posts from the Food Lion blog was “Common Thanksgiving Desserts Googled in Each State”.
With friends and family coming from different parts of the U.S., I was curious about what everyone’s favorite desserts might be.
I knew, of course, that pumpkin pie would be a hit, but was surprised by a couple of the other more popular desserts. One that I wasn’t surprised by, but that I haven’t made in a while was carrot cake. I love carrot cake and used to make it all of the time, but haven’t really thought of it as a holiday dessert.
Since I’ve already got several of my traditional desserts and a few new dessert recipes all planned out, I decided to make carrot cake a little differently. I’m changing up one of America’s favorite holiday desserts to make it a breakfast recipe. I think it will be a delicious way to start our holiday!
Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls
1 cup whole milk
1 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup cup finely grated carrot
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons cinnamon
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoon butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine the milk, butter, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat, and heat just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to a lukewarm temperature. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lukewarm milk mixture, yeast, egg and egg yolk, about half of the flour, the 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and the salt. Stir until smooth. Mix the remaining flour in , and add the carrots and knead by machine or by hand for 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl, flip once to coat. Loosely cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow it rise for about 1 1/2 hours. The dough should have doubled in size. Punch the dough down with a greased or floured hand and dump it out on a floured surface. Roll it out into a rough rectangle shape around 10 inches by 8 inches (a little bigger or smaller is no big deal, a rough estimate is just fine). Grease or line a 13×9 inch baking dish (or 2 pie dishes will work as well).
In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter with brown sugar and the cinnamon. Spread the mixture over the dough. Beginning at the wide end, pinch the edge inwards, and roll the dough up to make a tight log (be careful not to tear the dough in the process). Slice the log in half, and cut each side in half as well. Cut each quater into 3 slices to create 12 rounds and carefully trsnsfer them in the prepared baking dish. Cover the baking dish with a kitchen towel and let the rolls rise a second time for about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F (I usually do this when there’s 10-15 mins left for the cinnamon rolls to rise.) Bake the cinnamon rolls for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow them cool slightly (a few minutes).
In a medium bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with the softened butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla, and spread the icing over the warm cinnamon rolls.