We put up our Christmas tree on Monday. Not that it’s such a big deal – putting up Christmas trees and all. But this year was something special…
This year the little man is old enough to know what’s going on in the Christmas department. Although he’s not old enough to make a present list and check it twice, he is old enough to realize that there are lights on the house and on the tree that need to be turned on and off on a twice daily basis. He knows that there’s a “santa” person, but doesn’t really know why just yet. And he knows that he must be good if he wants presents…but again with that “santa” person.
Traditions are something interesting. Per my request, the hubby was playing old school Christmas music as we hung the ornaments and decorated the house together. Every couple of songs I would ask him if he remembered this song, or if their family liked that song when he was a kid…but he kind of just looked at me like I was silly. Turns out, coming from a solid and non-divorced family things like songs and ornament hanging don’t seem to be that big of a deal to him…because it was always (and still is always) there.
It’s hard not to be shaped by things that happen around you or to you. And perhaps I’m slightly jaded and just want to make the most awesome holiday experience for my kiddos as possible (and who doesn’t) after not having any traditions or celebrations in my own life for so many years….
So here I am thinking that I’m making these traditions for my kids when they are really for me. You know, to pick up that holiday tradition torch that was dropped way back when our family cracked in half and run with it now. And all while the kiddos just have fun and enjoy all things santa and lights and trees and such. Funny – that’s just the way I would hope it would be for them – just Christmas. A wonderful Christmas filled with all the traditions that they want to make for themselves – like present wrapping, tree decorating, and lots and lots of baking.
We’ve been making cookies and cakes and lots of breads this holiday season. We made these rolls for Thanksgiving but they are so buttery and delicious that we will definitely make them again soon. The dough comes together quickly and easily and was rolled into 32 little buns with the help of my little man. As we divided and rolled and rolled some more, he told me which roll he was going to give to his daddy, and to his baby sister, to grammy and baba, and etc. We rolled and laughed and told stories and made up even more stories about crocodiles and sharks that bite you (!!) and mashed up our rolls and then started over again.
Turns out that you can’t really make traditions for others and that you can’t control everything (I know, it’s crazy news.) But traditions just happen. On their own and when you are just enjoying life and loving each other and just being silly. Those are the times that you remember the most.
Happy holidays my friends.
soft and buttery knot rolls
makes about 32 rolls
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup honey
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
flaked sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
Heat milk to a simmer on the stovetop. Add the butter to the milk, stirring until the butter melts. Stir in the honey. Pour the milk into the bowl of stand mixer to cool a bit. When the milk has cooled to room temperature, sprinkle the yeast over the top. Swirl the bowl a couple of times, then let the yeast sit and foam for at least 10 minutes.
Once the yeast looks foamy, add in the eggs and salt. Then place a bread hook on your mixer and turn the mixer on low. Slowly add the flour until the dough comes away from the sides into a ball but is still sticky. Once the dough pulls away from the bowl, stop the mixer; cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise for 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and cut into 32 equal pieces with a floured knife. Then gently roll into short ropes and tie into knots. Place the yeast rolls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart, and cover with lightly dampened tea towels. Allow the rolls to rise a second time for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the rolls have risen the second time, remove the towels and gently brush each roll with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the rolls with sea salt and thyme. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.