Had it not been for the invention of the breadmaker, I am not sure I would have had the patience to carry on this lovely and delicious holiday tradition. But with this tool, it is fast and fairly easy. True confession: I have 5 breadmakers (most passed on to me by friends), and I typically use them in groups of at least 3 to make the most of my mess and efforts. Here is one of my most requested recipes.
2 ¼ tsp. yeast
4 ¼ c. bread flour
¼ c. sugar
heaping tsp. salt
1/3 c. oil
1 c. milk
½ c. water
You will also need: cinnamon, sugar, powdered sugar, and milk. Pecans are optional.
Add the 8 ingredients into your breadmaker in the order listed. Set on “manual” or “dough” mode and press “start”.
When dough is ready (about 1.5 hours later), divide the dough into 3 parts. Roll each into an oblong rectangle about 15”x9”. Melt 3+ Tablespoons of butter and spread. Mix 1 c. sugar and 1 heaping Tablespoon cinnamon, and sprinkle some on the rectangles. (We save leftover cinnamon sugar for cinnamon toast.) Optional: Chop ½ c. pecans and sprinkle on. Roll beginning at the wide side. Pinch together to hold in roll. Form into ring and pinch, then cut 2/3 way through at 1 inch intervals. Turn each on its side to fan pieces out. Let rise 15-30 minutes (optional), and bake 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden. After cooling, drizzle with thick icing mixture made of powdered sugar and milk.
This will make 3 tea rings that fit on 10-inch plates. You may also make one jumbo ring instead of dividing the dough into thirds to make 3 rings.
*To make large cinnamon rolls instead of rings, simply roll, pinch, and cut into 1 inch slices. I like to use fishing line for easy slicing. (Place line under the roll one inch from the end and wrap around and cross, to slice.)