Thursday, January 19, 2012

Foodie Friday: Stopping by the Kitchen on a Snowy Evening, a Guest Post by Shirley Hailstock


Welcome to the January 20th Foodie Friday. I'm so glad you're
here, because I have a special treat, a guest post by author Shirley Hailstock. Shirley and I have been friends for over 30 years, long before we were published authors, and when we aren't discussing the writing business, we're talking about food.
The other day, Shirley made Cinnabons in her bread machine. We were talking on the phone, and I could almost smell the cinnamon. I immediately invited her to write a guest post for Foodie Friday, then I made a batch of Cinnabons for Bandwidth (Dr. G and I are still dieting. We sent one batch of rolls to his office).

Please give Shirley a warm welcome!


Stopping by the Kitchen on a Snowy Evening

A Guest Post by Bestselling Author Shirley Hailstock

Picture this – a roaring fire in the hearth, one that glows and turns the room into a place as cozy as a your favorite sweatshirt. You know, the one you’ve had since college that’s worn at the elbows and nowhere near the color it was when it was new. Big fluffy flakes of snow falling like feathers from the sky and coating the ground and windowsills until the world is marshmallow white. Warm cinnamony smells emanating from a country kitchen and wafting throughout the house making it an edible wonderland.

These are some of my favorite things. I grew up in snow country – the wilds of Buffalo, New York. We know snow. But in conjunction with that, we learned things to do when the weather keeps you indoors. Most of them are fat free, but there is one that is delicious enough for you to brave the treadmill for an extra mile in order to eat it.

For me the scenario of snow, fireplace and kitchen goodies is one of my favorites. It means contrasting the outside by baking something sweet, gooey, and loaded with mouth-watering calories. I tend to gravitate toward cinnamon rolls. I love baking cakes, muffins, cookies and bread, but cinnamon rolls are my snowy day indulgence. Inhaling that sweet air as the cinnamon and sugar melt and bubble up and the dough changes to bread is an experience eclipsed only by curling up in front of the fire with the picture window in full view, my fingers wrapped around a hot cup of coffee and biting into an icing-laden cinnamon roll.

We had just such a day recently. It snowed.

The snow didn’t last, didn’t even coat the ground, but the moment I saw the white flakes, memories of my childhood came flooding back. Just like your best Christmas memory, the thought of cinnamon rolls popped into my mind and had me opening one cabinet after another. I pulled out my recipe for Cinnabons and checked that all the necessary ingredients were in house. If they weren’t, the urge was so strong I was willing to drive to the grocery store and buy them. Luckily, my well-stocked kitchen had everything I needed and I got to work, just like Santa’s elves on the day before Christmas Eve.

I made the dough in the bread machine. This was my first time using it for this purpose and it proved a God-send. The dough was perfect, elastic but not sticky, exactly the way you want it when you knead and knead and knead. This time without the effort. The machine even handled the first rise. And the elasticity made it easier to roll/create the required rectangle before adding the sugar-cinnamon mixture. I often have problem forming dough into a rectangle when it wants to be a circle.

Apparently, this was the kind of day when the universe was aligned and everything was working in my favor. The bonus was a mouth-watering dessert that proved a crowd-pleaser with every member of my family. There are times when snow is a good thing.


I live in New Jersey now. We get snow a few times in the winter. It’s usually heavy and will close businesses for a day. At my office once we talked about the foods we love to cook and eat on snow days. For me it was the cinnamon rolls. What is your snowy day favorite?

If cinnamon rolls are as mouth-watering for you as they are for me, I’ve included the recipe below. Bon-appetite.


Cinnabons (Bread Machine)

Ingredients - Dough

1 package yeast

1 cup warm milk

3 eggs (room temperature)

1/2 cup butter or margarine (melted)

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

5 cups flour

Place above ingredients in bread machine in the order presented. Consult manufacturers directions to make dough. Allow it to run through the first rise. Remove from machine and place on a lightly floured surface while you make the sugar mixture below.

Ingredients - Sugar Mixture

1 cup brown sugar - packed

3 tablespoons cinnamon

½ cup butter or margarine (softened)

Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon, mixing until they are smooth and even. Mixture will be crumbly (no clumps). Roll out the dough, creating a 16x20 rectangle. Spread the butter or margarine over the dough. Top it with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Beginning at the short end (width), roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Cut into 12 rolls and place in a slightly greased 9x13 pan. Let rise until doubled. Pre-heat oven at 400 degrees. Bake rolls 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and sugar mixture is bubbly.

Ingredients - Icing

4oz cream cheese (softened)

1/3 cup butter

1 ½ cup confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla flavor (I use pure vanilla not the extract)

1/8 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, place the above ingredients. Using a hand mixer, beat until they are smooth and have the consistency of eggnog or chocolate milk (store bought milk). It’s a little thick.When the rolls have cooled enough to touch, but are still warm, pour the icing over them and spread it over the top. It doesn’t need to be even. The thickness is based on your taste for icing.

Serve warm. Coffee, tea or milk is optional.

Shirley Hailstock is the author of 26 novels, none of them about cooking and only one of that includes a recipe. She loves cooking for large crowds, generally for holidays. However, she goes on jags and cooks something special every now and then. This time it was cinnamon rolls, yet there's a story in her muffins and muffin tops that's the subject of another blog. Her most recent novel is Some Like Them  Rich.

Thank you so much for stopping by Foodie Friday today. I'm trying to talk Shirley into blogging about her adventures in the kitchen; if you'd like to help me convince her, please leave Shirley a message!

 If you are contributing a recipe this week, click on the blue Inlinkz frog (below) and follow the instructions. If this is your first time to participate in Foodie Friday, or if you aren't sure how to add a permalink, a short tutorial is available. If you are linking a recipe to Foodie Friday, a FF button can be found on the sidebar. If you'd like to add it, simply copy-and-paste the code beneath the button (located on the right-hand sidebar).
Happy Recipe Hunting!


  1. My family loves these! Yumo! thank you for hosting!

  2. These look so yummy! Thank you for hosting and have a great day!

  3. Those look amazing! Now if we could get out hands on the special cinnamon "they" use. My daughter in law got a little cup full once from a employee just by asking but I don't they they usually do that. And did you froth your hot chocolate? Mmmm that looks so good.
    Lovely Post Miss "G".
    Rainey @ The Project Table

  4. I am making cinnamon bread today, and I used a bread machine mix. It had cinnamon chips, identical to chocolate chips. I am just using the dough cycle. I had no idea that cinnamon chips existed, lol. Shirley's family gobbled the Cinnabons before she could take pictures, so the images are from Shutterstock.

  5. I haven't made these for years - there's a bakery in town that makes them every day, and they are soooooo good. (Of course, I don't eat them every day. No way.)

  6. I have had a bread machine on my wish list for quite a long time. This recipe is pushing me over the edge :)

    Great guest post, Shirley!

  7. Those cinnabons sound delicious!

  8. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmm, thanks Shirley for the recipe! Hubs and I have actually been talking about getting a bread machine and I think you just sold us on it, haha.

    I just drooled on my keyboard they look so yummmmmy.

    Nothing like warm cinnamon buns in the cold of winter to take away the chill in our bones.

    YUM! Great post, thank you!

  9. Oh sweet Mother of MERCY, I am drooling all over my computer! And feeling sorry for myself since I don't own a bread machine. I NEVER bake!!!! I would be the size of a house if I did, LOL! These look SO darn good. XO, Pinky

  10. Gives me yet another reason to get a bread machine. Recipe looks great! I'm thinking about getting a bread machine. Pat

  11. Shirley should definitely start writing about her adventures in the kitchen - those cinnabons look amazing! I'm bookmarking them to try asap! Shirley, I so enjoyed reading this post, and your photographs are wonderful. I grew up near Toronto, and I always remember watching Eyewitness News from Buffalo on TV and being jealous that you guys got so many more snow days than we did! As a child, I figured we were so close to Buffalo, it just didn't make sense, but now I understand about weather systems...Anyway, thank you for sharing a lovely post, and great recipe!

  12. I've never owned a bread machine but those cinnamon buns make me wish I did... lovely little things, aren't they?

  13. This is my first time posting on Foody Friday and wanted to thank you for hosting such a great blog party!

  14. Hi Michael Lee! Welcome Shirley!

    Hubby is the baker in the family, but this lovely guest post has me seriously considering investing in a bread machine!

    Shirley, From one upstate New Yorker to another, I think you'd enjoy blogging and sharing your love of cooking and entertaining. You can certainly count on me to happily follow along!

    Thanks for hosting ML! Have a wonderful weekend!

  15. Thanks for hosting! This is my first time joining in the linking party but will definitely be back next week!

  16. Thank you all for your wonderful comments. It snowed again yesterday and the world outside looks great. So many of you mentioned the bread machine. I love mine. It is one of the gadgets that doesn't end up gathering dust in my kitchen. However you can make the rolls without a machine. But you you need this as rationalization to buy o be, by gall means do so. They are very affordable.

    To all the gang from upstate New York and Canada, I send a loud "hey and hello" out to you. Baking to me is so much more tasty when you can eat in front of a fire. Even if it's only hot chocolate, sit taste great.

    As to the hot chocolate quests, yes I froth mine. My kids love it, even the grown up ones.

    Thanks again.


  17. I hope you will come back soon, Shirley! I loved your post. And I made your Cinnabons yesterday! XXOO

  18. Yummy yummy.... love your blog..I'm your newest follower, I'd love to invite you over to visit and follow me when you get a chance. Have a fantastic evening. xoso Sandy

  19. I am so proud to be your niece. I love looking you up now and again to see how and what you are doing. I can say that you are so culturally well rounded and amazingly smart. Also just a great woman to emulate. That is not said because you are my aunt, but said in truth and from the heart.

    Love you and miss you,
    Nicole Hailstock