My granny was Irva Snyder Vandiver, my dad’s mom. She was a Mennonite, like all my grandparents, and she showed her love with food. Granny loved to bake and she was very good at it. She was short and cushy, perfect for holding small grandchildren, and great-grandchildren on her lap. I inherited my eyes, my skin, my strong calves, and my love of baking from her which is why I’m starting this blog with my granny.
The secret to Grannie’s Rolls isn’t in the recipe (although it is a very good one), it’s in the making of them. As with everything she did, baking, gardening, singing silly songs to us while driving on steep mountain roads with Grandpa, Granny focused her attention on the task at hand. I remember the first time Granny gave me this recipe. She handed me the card.
“This is it?” I asked.
“Oh they’re easy. You can even make them up the night before and bake them in the morning.”
Of course the first time I tried them on my own, they were horrible. Granny assumed I knew how to bake and knead dough, but she was wrong. Thankfully, at this time, she lived in Stevensville and I was living in Missoula going to the University of Montana. And so, at the next holiday I went out to Grandpa and Granny’s house and she taught me how to make them. We measured and mixed the ingredients, we kneaded the dough, we set it aside to rise while we cleaned up the dirty dishes. We didn’t have the television on (we never did), we weren’t trying to make other dishes at the same time. We talked and laughed, we enjoyed each other’s company. My focus was on watching Granny, listening and learning as she taught me to bake. That, and how yummy these rolls were going to be when they came out of the oven.
So my darling daughters, here is the recipe:
How to Make Grannie’s Rolls
1 cup lukewarm buttermilk 1 pkg yeast dissolved in ¼ cup hot water
3T butter 1 tsp salt
3T sugar 2 ½ – 3 ¼ cups flour
¼ tsp baking soda Extra flour for kneading process
Large mixing bowl wooden spoon
Large floured board or counter space rolling pin
Clean towel 13 x 9 baking dish
Small sauce pan (for Caramel Rolls) cookie sheet
Additional Ingredients for Cinnamon Caramel Rolls
1/3 cup sugar mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon 2 T warm butter
1 cup butter 1 cup brown sugar ½ cup chopped nuts
- get out all ingredients
- read directions on yeast packet
- pour yeast into bowl or cup with ¼ cup hot water (define hot from yeast packet)
- add 1 T sugar to yeast and water, stir gently a few times
- check temp on buttermilk, if cold put in microwave oven for 20 seconds
- with wooden spoon, mix together buttermilk, butter, remaining sugar, soda, salt and first two cups of flour
- add yeast combo and continue to mix
- add additional flour as needed until you can knead by hand
- turn dough onto floured board or counter
- knead for a few minutes
- sprinkle clean towel with warm water
- cover dough with towel, let stand 10 minutes
- while dough is rising melt butter and brown sugar on low in a small sauce pan on the stove
- after 10 minutes, knead dough until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes) adding more flour if necessary
- roll out dough with rolling pin
- spread 2 TBSPs butter on rolled dough
- sprinkle dough with cinnamon/sugar mixture
- taking one end, fold edge of dough over about 2 inches, fold over and over until all dough is rolled into a tight log
- using a long, sharp knife, cut log into about 12 – 15 pieces, approximately 1 inch thick
- pour melted brown sugar and butter mixture into bottom of 13 x 9 pan
- if using nuts, sprinkle nuts on mixture (I leave half of pan plain for kids who don’t like nuts. Obviously you can leave the nuts off completely, especially if anyone on your guest list is allergic to them.)
- Place roll pieces in pan leaving space for dough to rise (about 3 pieces per row)
Note: (at this stage, rolls can be put, covered, into refrigerator overnight, this is especially handy if making them for early breakfast. Take out of frig about an hour before you want to bake them, then…continue with directions below)
- cover pan with dampened towel
- let rise until double (45-60 minutes)
- preheat oven to 350° (granny says to lower heat to 325° for Teflon pans)
- bake in oven for 15 to 30 minutes or until golden brown
- check rolls for color and texture, you don’t want them to get too brown, gooey tops are fine but you don’t want them gooey in the middle.
- place baking sheet on top of pan, grab both with hot pads, turn rolls over onto baking sheet, leave dripping pan on sheet for 1-2 minutes to allow caramel to run over rolls and serve!
The best way to make Grannie’s Rolls though is to come home, we’ll make them together with love and laughter and they will be fabulous, just like you!
1 thought on “I think I’ll have to make these now…”
This article made me feel like I was right there with you and Grandma Irva. My mom also is an avid cook and I LOVE baking as well… must be inherited!!! I have a recipe from my dads mom’s mom in the 1800’s and I use it ALL the time, everyone always asks for the recipe: Apple Cake. I never met her, someday in heaven we’ll see each other.
Love you and thanks for your heartfelt writing. Debby (Stewart) Tzolov