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Christmas Eve's Tea & Toast!👩🏼‍🍳 Candle Tea & Cinnamon Rolls

Merry Christmas to you all! How are we already here, to the end of the year? I haven't got a clue, but it's got me feelin' all the feels lemme tell ya. This year has been very special in many ways. A year of challenges, true growth, learning, love, and new traditions!


It's a funny thing but as we get older, we all of a sudden are torn between this desire to keep traditions from our childhood alive but also to put our "signature" on the holidays, creating something unique to us and maybe only us. For example, this year as been a year that made my husband and I especially appreciate each other in deeper ways, a year that grew both of us individually and as a unit, and we wanted to celebrate that, with just us. So we created a few new traditions outside of our extended family celebrations and I am really excited about it.


A practice that has evolved since the time we started dating has been that we do things a little differently every year, and that has become a tradition within itself which is kinda neat. It makes for something new to look forward to each Christmas, and things don't get boring!


This year, we started slow on Christmas Eve, just us, making breakfast, cleaning the house and then baking homemade, ooey gooey cinnamon rolls and sipping on hot tea and Christmas cocktails throughout the day. We super last minute took our Christmas card pictures and then ended the afternoon with the Moravian Love Feast as the sun dipped down behind the trees. It was really peaceful to just be.


For those of you who aren't familiar with the Love Feast, it's a Moravian Tradition where you sing carols, while tea and a sweet bread are passed around to everyone. I wanted to share my own candle tea recipe, inspired by Old Salem's traditional version, and my annually-baked cinnamon rolls that pair quite nicely with it. { Candle Tea is traditionally made with a strong coffee, but I make mine with a strong black tea instead 💁🏼 }


Old Salem-Inspired Candle Tea Recipe { ...but with real tea }

Ingredients:

4 heaping tablespoons black loose leaf tea of choice { I used one that had cloves & cardamom }

16 oz. filtered water

1/4 cup half & half

4 tablespoons white sugar


Instructions:

1. Fill a french press, infuser or bags with the black tea

2. In a hot water kettle, heat the filtered water to it's boiling point. Pour it gently over the black tea and steep for 5-7 minutes to brew a strong dark tea

3. In a separate tea pot, dissolve the sugar and half & half

4. Pour the strong black tea into the tea pot and stir until everything has been combined

5. Serve hot, adding more half & half or sugar to taste if needed




Christmas Eve Cinnamon Rolls { makes 12-14 rolls }


Ingredients:


THE DOUGH

1pkg. active dry yeast

3/4 cup warmed milk { 110 degreesF }

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

4 large eggs

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour { I always use King Arthur Flour } plus some for later

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter { at room temp } cut into chunks


THE FILLING

4 tablespoons unsalted butter { at room temp }

2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

The zest of 1 large lemon

1 egg { lightly beaten w. 1 teaspoon of filtered water }


THE FROSTING

8 oz. cream cheese { at room temp }

4 tablespoons unsalted butter { at room temp }

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar


Instructions:

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let stand for about 10 minutes, or until foamy and "yeasty" smelling. Add the granulated white sugar, large eggs, the 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and salt. If you have a dough hook, attach it and knead on low until the ingredients come together. If needed, add a tiny bit more flour. Then, throw in the butter and continue kneading until the dough is smooth, 5-7 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, form the dough into a ball, and put it in the oiled bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let the dough sit for a rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size. It usually takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.


While the dough is rising, butter a 9x13in baking dish.


When the dough has finished its rise, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured countertop. Roll it out into a vertical rectangle. Spread with the butter, then sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Beginning at the long side closest to you, roll the rectangle away from you, tucking it in as you go, creating a log. Using a sharp knife, cut the log crosswise into 10-12 equal slices. Arrange these slices cut side down in the prepared baking dish. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let it go for a second rise for about 1 hour, or you can refrigerate them overnight to bake in the morning { but be sure to let stand for about 30-45 mins after so it comes to room temperature }.


Preheat your oven to 400 degreesF. Brush the rolls with the beaten egg mixture. Bake the rolls until they are a pleasant light golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Takes about 20 minutes, sometimes a few minutes longer. Do not over-bake, though, or they will be dry and not as delicious.


While the rolls are in the oven, you can make the cream cheese frosting. In a medium sized bowl and using an electric hand mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Sift in the powdered sugar gradually. You can stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if needed.


When the rolls are done, transfer their baking dish to a wire rack and let cool slightly, then spread all of the frosting atop the cinnamon rolls while they are still ooey gooey and warm.


These cinnamon rolls are best served warm! Pull them apart and serve with your favorite black tea with cream, or the Candle Tea above. 🕯☕️

Hope you enjoy!


Tea ya later { & in the New Year } ! ♥️, Kiley

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