[Mrs. M, those two lidded bowls in the background are the grey-and-white Noritake Arroyo dish pattern I was telling you about.]
That's hot coffee-milk (half coffee, half milk) made from Dunkin' Donuts hazelnut ground coffee, and with real sugar in it instead of the Splenda I couldn't face this morning. And HOMEMADE PECAN ROLLS. My mother made them for me because I had to deal with so much barfing over the last few days. Do you need a closer look there, Droolykins?
Awwwww, yeahhhhhh. FROM SCRATCH. With BUTTER. And so many pecans, it's like a pecan PARTY. (Not a very good party for the pecans.)
I hope we all agree that there are certain times when the word "diet" is not only an incomprehensible word in a foreign tongue but actually an abomination not to be borne by the ears of the pure? I hope none of us follow that diet Oprah was on in the late '90s, where even MAJOR HOLIDAYS such as Christmas and Thanksgiving were NO EXCUSE for eating ker-razy junk food like turkey and mashed potatoes. You could have naked baked sweet potatoes in their skins and you could have some plain green beans lightly steamed and that's IT. Otherwise you might as well declare EVERY day a holiday. Have cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving? Then you might as well go ahead and have doughnuts every morning! JUST LET GO ENTIRELY, FATTY!
Anyway, this morning things looked very grim: I was up twice in the night with Henry, once with Elizabeth, and then Elizabeth spent the rest of the night in our bed shoving me off my side and pinning down the covers, and then I couldn't get back to sleep after nursing Henry at 4:30, in part because the pinehole CAT kept STEPPING ON MY HAIR. I gave up the sleep fight at 5:15, because at that point if I DO fall asleep, it's just going to be unpleasantness when the alarm goes off less than an hour later. But to go to the kitchen and remember the pecan rolls? And to have them heated up and sugarbutter-melty, with a cup of hot hot milky coffee? The sun may not be up yet, but WHO CARES? It is a beautiful day!
Edit: Okay, okay, settle down already, I got the recipe from my mom!
Swistle's Mom's Pecan Roll Recipe
In mixer bowl:
1 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 pkg dry yeast (2-1/4t.)
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick)
2 1/2 c. additional flour (approx.)
2 T. butter (to spread on rectangle)
1/4 c. sugar and 1 t. cinnamon (to sprinkle on rectangle)
To spread on bottom of pan:
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter
2 T. light corn syrup
In mixer bowl, combine 1 c flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. In saucepan, heat water, milk, and butter until very warm. Add with egg to flour mixture. Blend at low speed, then beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. By hand (see comments), stir in 2 c flour until dough pulls away cleanly from sides of bowl.
On floured surface, knead dough in about 1⁄2 c flour until smooth, elastic, and bubbled under surface, about 10 minutes. Put in greased bowl, cover with plastic and cloth, and let rise in warm place for about 1 hour until doubled. Then punch down well and rest under inverted bowl for 15 minutes.
In small bowl, combine brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Spread evenly on bottom of greased 9x13-inch pan. Sprinkle on the pecans.
In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Roll dough into 12x20-inch rectangle, spread on 2 T butter, and sprinkle on the cinnamon mix. Roll up dough from long side, forming a 20-inch-long roll, and seal edge.
Cut roll into 20 1-inch slices, and place them cut-side-down in the 9x13-inch pan. Cover and let rise for about 1 hour until doubled.
Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes until deep gold. Cool 1 minute, then invert onto rack, holding pan upside-down to let topping drip off.
I got this recipe from my friend Judy when we lived in the Midwest 25 years ago. Everything she made was especially yummy, and she wasn't the sort to stint on butter. Take out several sticks right at the start, so they'll be room temperature when you need them.
For the pecans, I err on the side of generous -- which doesn't seem to hurt the final product. In the last batch, for example, I finished off a bag of pecans and found I actually had more like 1 1/2 cups -- in fact a generous 1-1/2 cups heading toward 1-3/4 -- and I wondered if I might be reaching the point of diminishing returns, but no. It's okay to settle for 1 cup -- I've done it myself many a time -- but when they're done you'll find yourself picking your rolls with an eye to which one are the most nutty, whereas with 1-1/2 cups there's no fighting. [Swistle note: This is absolutely accurate. Skimping leads to fighting, and to sad-looking, picked-over rolls when the good ones are gone. With 1-1/2 cups, every roll is excellent.]
I just noticed the recipe says a HALF c. pecans. No ... definitely more than 1/2 c. I'd say. 1 c. minimum.
I use a Kitchen-Aide mixer, and keep using it even where in the first paragraph it says "By hand ... " switching to the dough hook as it gets thick. Then I let the dough hook knead it for the 10 minutes. Judy made hers by hand, and hers were certainly as good. [Swistle note: I don't think that can be possible. But I'll admit Judy made some nummy treats.] While adding those 2 to 2-1/2 c. of flour, I do it just a half-cup at a time and let the dough hook get that mixed in before I add the next half cup. I think that works better than just dumping it all in at once, which is what I used to do.
The last couple times I made them, I used bread-machine yeast, since that's what I happened to have on hand. It worked fine.
These are easy and satisfying to make. Yes, you do have to be around the house for several hours and you have to check to see how the rising is coming along and so forth, but they're not at all hard to make. Or to eat. ---Swistle's Mom