Christmas Traditions – Grandmother Kroener’s Rolls

Rolls 2

The most anticipated dish on my family's Christmas table. No, really.

I can’t really believe that it’s Christmas Eve – this holiday season has gone so quickly that it’s like it barely happened at all. The DC snow storm definitely put a damper on my Christmas shopping, so I’ve been spending today madly running around trying to get all my shopping done. But it actually feels nice to be out doing errands – I spent a total of 8 hours on planes yesterday, and it feels so good to move around.

I don’t have a lot of time to write (and my parents don’t have WiFi, which is a challenge for a blogger and Internet addict like myself), but I wanted to leave you with one final post before Christmas. It’s a family recipe and one of our most sacred Christmas traditions. It’s a recipe for rolls.

These rolls have a very special place on our holiday table. The recipe was passed down from my father’s grandmother, to his mother, to my mother, and now I’m giving it to you. My mother only makes them three times a year – for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Because my mother saved them for special occasions, the rolls took on a rather mystical quality in our household. When we were little, my siblings and I talked about “the rolls” with the same awe and reverence that we talked about Santa Clause.

And it’s no wonder, because the rolls are addictive. The texture is light and bready, and the yeasty dough is just a little sweet. The salt in the dough gives them a savory kick, which is heightened when they’re spread with butter. For a bread lover like myself, the sweet/savory/yeasty flavors and soft texture is irresistible. My standard Thanksgiving meal growing up was a piece of turkey, a little stuffing, and seven or eight rolls.

It goes without saying that I’m super excited to eat the rolls tomorrow.  And I know that, no matter where I am, they’ll always have a place on my Christmas table. Maybe now they’ll also have a place on yours.

Merry Christmas!

Rolls 1

Rolls, in process.

Grandmother Kroener’s Rolls
Yield: 2 Dozen rolls

1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 tbs butter, softened
1 cup hot milk
1 package active dry yeast
1/8 cup warm water
1/2 tsp sugar
1 egg, beaten
3 and 1/2 to 4 cups flour

Put salt, sugar and butter in a large bowl; add milk and let mixture cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in 1/8 cup warm water and add 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Stir yeast mixture and egg into milk mixture. Add 2 cups flour and beat until smooth. Add additional 1 1/2 to 2 cups flour and gather dough into a round ball. The dough should be soft and pliable. Put dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover. Let dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Roll dough out on a lightly floured board until 1/2 inch thick; cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter and fold in half. Let folded biscuits rise on a cookie sheet for 2 hours. Brush with melted butter and bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.



  1. Joanne said

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe! To celebrate the New Year, we eat circular (money) and long (longevity) foods for good luck. I feel like these rolls are circular enough to bring us good luck for the New Year.

  2. Karen Huntsberger said

    Yours is the best ever description of grandmother’s rolls. My mouth starts watering every time I read it and I don’t want to wait for the holidays anymore to make them. Love your blog!

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