Holiday Cinnamon Roll Wreath
My passion for food traditions goes full throttle this time of year. It’s not Christmas without my mom’s sugar cookies, my aunt’s french toast casserole, my father-in-law’s popovers, my grandma’s fudge, my friend’s mom’s toffee...The list is long, sugary and requires most of the holiday season to consume.
All of my beloved holiday indulgences are a one-way street, though. I consume, I enjoy, but I don’t make. Sure, I decorate the sugar cookies my mom bakes, but beyond that, I am merely a grateful beneficiary of other’s inspiration and labor.
I had never struggled with my role until I saw this cinnamon roll wreath and felt an unfamiliar tug of the heartstrings. The wreath is a show-stopping centerpiece and a mouthwatering confection. I wanted to make it, but there was an issue: no one in my family had room for another sugary treat -- in their bellies or on their tables.
In that moment, like the light on Rudolph’s nose, my first genuine interest in motherhood lit up. I wanted a space to create my own traditions, and having little ones for whom to make the holidays delicious was just the ticket.
Up until that point, kids had been a far-off part of a far-off, yet-to-be-determined future for me and my husband. To have my first genuine interest in motherhood strike so suddenly took me off-guard. To have it come by way of butter, sugar, and flour did not. And that’s how I knew it was real because it struck a chord in my heart of hearts: food traditions.
I tucked away the recipe (pinned on Pinterest is more like it) and loved knowing that when the husband and I were ready to make the leap, I’d be ready with my wreath.
This year, the time has finally come -- well almost. My daughter was born this summer, and though she can’t eat solid foods, I’m making the wreath anyway. As I bake she can sit in her jumperoo at the threshold of our kitchen, receiving her inauguration into the comforting ritual of holiday traditions.
I realize there’s a chance this glazed round of cinnamon and sugar won’t end up being one of her treasured treats. or maybe she latches onto a dish I have yet to make. That’s ok, because in the end what I’m really excited about isn’t just the food. It’s the joy of passing on to a new generation a love of family, food and the magic that happens when the two come together. And anyway, who are we kidding, even she doesn’t like my cinnamon roll wreath, there’s always grandkids.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season, hoping that it’s filled with warmth, joy, and deliciousness.
Some notes on making the Cinnamon Roll Wreath
How-To: I followed the steps outlined by The Kitchn, but the basics is to use any cinnamon roll recipe (my go-to is from America's Test Kitchen's Baker's Illustrated) and instead of slicing the rolls all the way through, leave them connected by a bit of dough and then arrange in a circle. From there, follow the rest of recipe for proofing and baking times.
A little leakage: Because you’re not baking the wreath in a pyrex dish, some of the sugar/cinnamon filling is going to melt and spread on the baking sheet. Do not be alarmed, the rolls will still be plenty filled.
Thoughts on frosting: If you reference The Kitchn, you’ll see they used a glaze and lightly drizzled it over the wreath. I, however, opted for a thicker cream cheese frosting, and went for the slather approach. It’s really just personal preference, but I also see it as a matter of principle: I want my little one to grow up in a house that slathers, not drizzles.