Happy Holidays!!

In our family, rather than race to the tree on Christmas morning, we always raced to the kitchen table where we knew Grandma's caramel rolls would be waiting for us when we woke up. Probably because we knew our stockings would still be there after we indulged, while there was only one center caramel roll. And once it was gone, it was gone until next year! I am a very sensory-oriented person: smells and tastes register memories instantly and perhaps more intensely than anything else for me. And smelling and tasting these caramel rolls is like an instant time travel to Christmas at Grandma's. You, of course, may not time travel to my grandmother's house upon eating these, but I'm sure you'll be impressed and want to start a tradition of your own with them!

Grandma's caramel rolls

sweet dough

2 cups lukewarm milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 packages of active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
7 to 7 1/2 cups flour, divided (2 cups, then 5 to 5 1/2 cups)
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar

caramel sauce

1 1/2 sticks butter
2 cups cane brown sugar
1/2 cup white Karo syrup
Pecans, if desired

Combine the lukewarm milk, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl and let stand for five minutes. Add eggs, butter, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix well. Then slowly add 5 to 5 1/2 cups more flour until the dough is well formed and doesn't stick to the bowl. Place in a large, greased bowl and cover with a greased plate or greased plastic wrap. Let rise until double, about an hour. Punch down, then let rise again until doubled, also about an hour. Make the caramel sauce while the bread is rising by melting 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a sauce pan and then adding the brown sugar and white karo syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Take off the heat and pour into four greased cake pans. Add pecans to the pans, if desired. Let cool while the dough finishes rising. After the second rising, turn out onto a large, floured surface. Divide dough in half, and roll each half into a ~12X16 rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll up and cut into 3/4" pieces. Place on top of cooled caramel sauce. Let rise again for about 25 minutes and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Turn over onto a plate and serve warm- they are amazing warm. You can also turn out onto a piece of aluminum foil and wrap up for easy storage. Enjoy!!

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