It's Christmas tomorrow!
Are you excited? Are you? I really am. I started getting into the Christmas spirit at 11 p.m. on November 30, when I was at work and we started playing Christmas music in the office.* I love the bright lights and colourful decorations all over the place. I love the special foods and get-togethers. This week I sent out a bunch of random texts to friends, saying things like, "It's Christmas!! Yay! Merry Christmas! Mele Kalikimaka! Wesolych Swiat!** Woohoo!!!" and received several responses that were entirely devoid of exclamation marks, which I took to mean, "Lay off the coffee, Rebecca."
What have you been doing with your winter break so far? Has there been coffee? Family? Friends? Sleep? Skiing? Sunshine? Panicked last-minute shopping?
Here's a brief glimpse of my break so far.
This is on the ride from school/home to my parents' house.
This is me stepping into hip-deep snow. I don't recommend it. Fortunately, I was not wearing mules this time.
This is where I will be hiding out if I ever post pictures of my sister getting stuck in hip-deep snow.
These are the rolls I've made twice already. They are fluffy and soft and beta-carotened. This is where the red-fleshed sweet potatoes come in. Or yams, for the laconic.
Start with half of a large sweet potato. Cut it into chunks, hit it with a second or two of cooking spray, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it in the microwave. Set the microwave for three minutes and walk away. Come back awhile later to find the microwave still going with 35 minutes left on the clock. Remove potatoes from microwave and discard. Start over. Mash thoroughly and turn into dough.
Let rise. Turn into rolls. Let rise again. Bake.
I believe that mini-sandwiches made with leftover turkey, cranberry sauce, and romaine lettuce are indicated here. Actually ... if you had any sort of puréed vegetable left over from Christmas dinner, like mashed potatoes or stewed pumpkin, that would probably work in place of the sweet potato purée. But don't hold me accountable for that. I haven't tried it myself.
Sweet potato dinner rolls
(barely adapted from this recipe from AllRecipes.com)
- ½ c. warm water
- 2¼ tsp. dry active yeast
- 4 T. brown sugar, divided
- ½ c. sweet potato purée (½ of a large sweet potato, sprayed with cooking spray, microwaved under plastic wrap for 3–4 minutes, and mashed thoroughly)
- 3 T. unsalted butter, melted
- 2 eggs, beaten slightly
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3½–4 c. flour
- 1 T. butter, softened
- Combine warm water, yeast, and 1 T. brown sugar. Let sit 5 minutes. (If your kitchen is quite literally freezing, like mine, make sure the mixture doesn't get cold at any point in the proceedings. Warm all ingredients, bowls, and utensils before they're used. I always have to rinse my bowls with hot water right before I use them.)
- Add rest of brown sugar, butter, eggs, salt, and sweet potato purée. Mix thoroughly.
- Add flour slowly until dough is kneadable.
- Knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, and passes the windowpane test. Place in warm greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and tea towel. Let rise in warm place (like an oven that's been turned on for a minute or two) for an hour.
- Punch down dough and roll into balls a little larger than golf balls. Cover again with plastic wrap and tea towel and let rise in warm place for an hour.
- Bake rolls at 375°F for 10–12 minutes. Brush tops with softened butter and continue baking until golden brown.
*On a side note, I'm now thoroughly burnt out on all Christmas music except Kings College–type choral music and booming organs. Ah well.
**I know, it's actually "Wesołych Świąt," but my phone doesn't support the Polish alphabet.