“Grandma Emma’s” Sweet Rolls

2 pkg. (1/4-oz. each) acti­­­­ve dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1 t. sugar
2 c. warm water (110 to 120°)
½ c. sugar
2 t. salt
¼ c. canola oil
1 ½ t. vanilla
2 eggs, room temp, lightly beaten (warm to room temp. in a bowl of warm water or leave out overnight)
 7 to 7 ½ c. unbleached flour or bread flour
melted butter
brown sugar
granulated sugar
cinnamon
maple syrup­
powdered sugar

Blend the active dry yeast, warm water and sugar. Set aside until it foams up (about 5 minutes). In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, salt, canola oil, and vanilla. Next add the eggs and flour. From here, you will blend the dough. If using a tabletop mixer, mix ingredients until the dough is smooth, elastic and pulls away from the side of the bowl. This takes about 6 minutes, first on low and then increase the speed a little. You might have to add a little extra flour to get the right texture. If mixing by hand, blend the dough with a heavy wooden spoon. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Place the dough into a greased bowl, turning the dough over once and covering the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a warm area to rise until it has doubled in size. Roll out the dough, spread with melted butter and a mixture of 1 part of brown sugar and 2 parts granulated sugar and cinnamon to your liking. Cut in 1 to 1 ½ inch slices and place in a pan. Cover and let rise until it doubles in size. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. After the rolls come out of the oven, brush the tops with maple syrup and add a powdered sugar glaze.

-Ron “Gilly” and Karen Gilmore
Caretakers at the Point Iroquois Light House in Brimley, Michigan