Tarot Card or Gift Bag Tutorial

 

If you’ve been wanting a nice bag to hold your Tarot cards, or a pretty gift bag to hold a crystal for your BFF, why not make one yourself? If you have access to a sewing machine, you can make one like this in less than two hours using just one fat quarter of good fabric.

Fat Quarters are pre-cut 18″x 22″ inch rectangles of fabric, flat folded for an easy-grab by customers at the fabric store. There are usually a hundred or more to choose from, arranged by color. They are inexpensive, compared to having your fabric cut from a bolt, and a good way to build a quick stash of fabric. If you see two fat quarters of compatible fabric, buy them both and you’ll have enough to make two to three bags! Wash and dry the fabric before you sew with it.

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A pocket Tarot deck is pictured, measuring 3 1/2″ x 2 1/2″, so I started with 2 pieces of 10″ x 7″ fabric, one for the outer bag, and one for the liner. I cut them in two, giving me four pieces of fabric, 5″ x 7″ each. You could make any size bag you want by measuring the object, then adding extra width and height.

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Place liner and outer fabric wrong sides together. Press each in 1/4″ towards the wrong sides of the fabric at the top and pin. Pin each set of two together, wrong sides together, along both the long sides. Sew a 1/3″ inch seam along each side, then sew again across the top on the 1/4″ fold you just pressed.

Press each unit in 1/2″ at the top, towards the liner material. Don’t pin it or sew it down yet. You are just pressing to mark the fold for later.

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Place each partially sewn set together, liner sides out.  Pin and sew a 1/2″ seam down both sides and across the bottom, backstitching the top of all four seams. Either prepare to sew a French seam on edges by turning and pressing them towards the stitching, or trim to 1/4″ with pinking shears to keep fabric from raveling during use.

It is now a lined bag with straight sides. Turn it right side out, straightening, pulling or pushing corners back into points.

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Now you need to decide if you want the top of the bag folded again, like mine, (4 layers of fabric once it is sewn down) or, more ruffly and taller when the drawstring is pulled.

If you want a more ruffly, tall top, sew a buttonhole or punch a rivet on the inside of the bag above the 1/2″ fold we created (but didn’t sew earlier). Just don’t fold it over again on the ironed fold to sew it down like I did. Instead, sew all the way around the top of the bag at the 1/2″ fold mark, below the buttonhole. That will give strength to your buttonhole.

Rivet Punch tools are pretty handy, especially if you are making a lot of these bags to sell, but our fabric store is out of refill rivets in the right size, so I just used a buttonhole.
Make sure the rivet size is large enough to accommodate the head of the safety pin you’ll use to push the ribbon through.

Place yarn, ribbon or cording on a safety pin, and push it through that 1/2″ tunnel you created until the pin comes out the buttonhole again. Pull and knot where you want to cut the tie. If you used offray ribbon, hold it near the bottom of a lighter flame to kind of melt the cut edges so they will never fray.

I like the way mine turned out because it is very sturdy and can stand up to being yanked open or tightly pulled a kajillion times. If your fabric is a good quilting cotton, it should stand up to heavy use either way.

There are many drawstring-bag knitting patterns on Ravelry, if you knit, and felted wool zipper bag patterns, too! Have fun, and make a magical bag!

 

Makers Gonna Make

The title of this post is obvious slang, but the truth behind it, speaking for myself and other makers I know, is absolute. I ran into the slogan while I was surfing social media the other day, and I am hard-pressed to find a better way to say it.

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Tom and I started our maker’s journey when we bought our first fixer house. It was 1976, we had been married for just over a year. We were about 21 years old. We had a one-year-old daughter. I think we were generally pretty capable, creative people, but we were very challenged financially at that point. We were tired of paying high rent, had no credit history, and weren’t afraid of hard work. Neither of us had any family support, meaning no cosigning, no loans and no real interest in our project.   We knew that if we didn’t buy a fixer then and there we might have to rent for another ten years. Comparably sized, small houses in decent neighborhoods were going for about $24K at that time. We both worked full time but couldn’t afford the payments on a better house or find anyone else to carry a contract.

The house had been a rental for many years, and we heard the last renters had been a pretty hardcore motorcycle gang. The owner of the house had just gotten out of the hospital after a heart attack and was at his wit’s end. He sold the house to us cheap because he didn’t have the wherewithal to make repairs or make it rentable.

Our house was the worst 2 bedroom house on a block in a good neighborhood, in Portland, OR. It had been built in 1913. There was zero landscaping, as the grass and shrubs had run together over the years. We purchased it for a total of $10k, with $1,000 down, which was all the savings we had. The owner carried a contract on the other nine thousand dollars. Once we realized what we’d agreed to, we were positive we were nuts, but our new neighbors absolutely loved us. They brought us a steady supply of homegrown vegetables, daffodil bulbs, homemade cookies, crocheted potholders, granny square afghans, lemonade, beer, and pizza. What more do you need when you are 21?

It took us nearly two months working evenings and weekends just to get the house fit to move into. The basement floor could be viewed from a hole in the bathroom floor where a toilet was supposed to be. The carpeting in the kitchen was curled at the edges and a disgusting dirty grey-brown color, except for the occasional stains that were clearly from dropped eggs that had fallen and been left to dry in place, pet stains, black grease, etc. It looked like the gang had worked on their motorcycle engines inside the kitchen. Our friends and extended family members made excuses as to why they just stopped by for a second and couldn’t stay or come in. They hovered timidly near the front door and were probably afraid they would catch something.

The woodwork was probably worse than your imagination can conjure. It had chunks missing, peeling paint, indelible dirt, streaks of black grease, you name it. My best descriptives still fall short. The house in the movie, The Money Pit,  was completely gracious by comparison. We tore off the damaged woodwork, and Tom made new, nice moldings using a bargain table-saw and hand tools.

We installed a new toilet, fixed the bathroom plumbing and installed a tub we found at a builder’s supply sale that would at least hold water. You read that correctly.  The old cast-iron tub in the house was split down the middle as though someone had hit it with a sledgehammer, over and over. We ripped out all the carpets and the dirty subfloors, then discovered that the fir floors underneath needed some boards replaced as they had suffered water damage and mysterious blunt force chunks were missing. The old fashioned range/oven was dirty beyond belief. The first time I lit the burner to boil water for drip coffee a mouse jumped up from beneath one of the burners!

We installed a linoleum floor in the kitchen and bathroom ourselves by following the instructions in a Reader’s Digest Do-It-Yourself book. It wasn’t a super pretty floor, it was just a leftover roll from another project that the flooring company wanted to move quickly. But it worked, and it was clean and new. The upstairs wasn’t quite as bad as the lower part of the house. We were able to paint everything and it didn’t look so bad once we laid new wall to wall carpeting. We learned quickly because flooring stores didn’t install bargain flooring for free. We rented a kicker, and though Tom’s knees were pretty sore, he got it done. Within 2 months of moving in, the house looked a lot friendlier. The next summer we planted Rhodies, painted the house exterior and did some minimal landscaping. We made progress every month, and within about 2 years, it was a pretty little house.

During that first two years, we had to learn to economize every way possible. My grandmother gave me her old Singer Slant-o-Matic sewing machine, and I learned to sew and quilt so I could make sundresses and play pants for our daughter, and birthday or Christmas gifts for friends and family. Tom built some very cool birdhouses and planters for other optional gifts. I made cornstarch dough ornaments for gifts or baked goods. I learned how to do home canning.  We got by, in fact, we thrived! We realized that we both loved the creativity of making anything we could make.  We lived there for eleven years and sold the house for many times what we paid for it.  As scary as it was sometimes, and as little as we knew, it turned out that in the end, we had made a good decision to buy that place.

Four fixer houses and forty-some years later, we still love restoring old houses and making cool stuff.  Our finances are decent now, but all things being equal, we would still rather make something than buy it. Tom designs and builds wonderful furniture, from scratch. I have learned to make herbal concoctions, full-size quilts, handmade soap, and I love knitting. The best part is, now that we’re retired, we have more time to do the things we love to do. It’s still a wonderful life!

Imbolc

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Imbolc has graced us with two sunny days in a row. We have had mostly rain, snow or overcast days for the past two months, despite our reputation of 320 days a year of sunshine. The warmth of the sun is as welcome to me today as to those few green friends who toughed it out all winter. Because Imbolc falls exactly between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, every day the sun rises just a little earlier than the one before it.

I saw many tiny green plants just starting to push their way up through the thick forest carpet of needles, twigs, seed pods and dead plants from last year. Truly, spring will arrive soon.

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Winter foraging for Black Cottonwood buds along the local Wenatchee River has become a personal Imbolc tradition for me. The buds are coated with an aromatic resin that makes a wonderful oil infusion for use in salves or soap. The Black Cottonwood tree is a native to the Pacific Northwest, though I hear there are similar trees in other areas.

If you have access to Black Cottonwood trees, gather buds in a ziplock baggie, then place them in a jar and cover them with olive oil. Keep them on a sunny windowsill. You can cover the jar with cheesecloth, but don’t put a lid on it. The buds contain moisture which needs to evaporate. Stir the oil daily. It takes 4-6 months for all the resin to melt into the oil.

If you are not averse to a little alcohol in the oil, sprinkle the buds with about a capful or two of 100 proof vodka, stir and let them sit overnight. Add the olive oil the next morning. The alcohol will help dissolve the resin a bit faster.

Your third option is to heat the buds and the olive oil together on low heat repeatedly, over a few days, in a crockpot. That makes the process go a little faster. I prefer the solar method on the windowsill, myself.

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This year, three friends joined me for foraging, and it was a very happy gathering with enough Cottonwood buds for all. It only rained a little bit. We were bundled up against the cold with long johns and wool fingerless gloves. Between the thick gloves and the fact that my fingers were super sticky with resin, some of my i-phone photos were a bit blurry. But there are enough.

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The new buds need time to develop before they are picked, but if you wait till late February, the resin is super sticky! If you look closely you can see the drops of resin on the bud cluster in the photo. The very end of January is the best time to forage for buds in our area. There is still a little snow on the ground, here and there, but it is finally evaporating to make room for spring!

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It feels almost sacred to consider that ancient people felt the same stirrings for early spring and enjoyment of the simple things like candles and fire celebrations that I feel.  It gives a sense of belonging and time-travel that can’t be found on video.

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The Christian tradition of lighting candles for the feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary was appropriately called Candlemas. Long ago priests blessed any household candles that parish members brought to the Christian church every February 2nd. It was time to clean their homes and air them. I do find myself inspired to start spring cleaning, open the windows and breathe that fresh air after being cooped up inside all winter.

To the Celts, the arrival of Imbolc meant the harsh winter was behind them, the ewes were in their milk, and all would soon be right with their world. They honored the goddess Brighid by preparing a symbolic bed for her. Candles were placed around the bed to invite her annual return and ensure healthy crops for all.  Brighid’s Cross, a woven, four-armed equal cross or a corn husk doll from the previous harvest was often placed in the bed or hung over the door, opened to welcome her.

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Happy almost spring!

On Writing

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Happy New Year, friends,

We had a lovely holiday season, with many jovial gatherings and of course, too much food, though I remember it fondly. We took down the tree New Year’s day, and packed away all the cherished handmade ornaments until next year. A day without an agenda awaits me. It feels really good, and a little odd, that I get to choose what I will do with my day again. Back to writing!

It is rather a miracle that I enjoy typing at all, though having a good laptop does really help. My twelve year old self was tortured by a summer of grueling typing lessons at a local college three prime summer mornings a week. The picture of the Remington typewriter above is a twin to the one I learned on.

There were nicer electric models in some offices, but not in our classroom. I really had to pound those keys to make them strike. If I stopped typing and practicing The Quick Brown Fox sentence for any reason, the instructor leaned over my shoulder so close it was like she was trying to see my page from my viewpoint. She would ask, “What is the problem here?”, with a truly horrible tornado of bad breath. So I typed, and I perservered, and became one of her fastest, most accurate typists.

I write a bi-monthly article for a leading herb magazine that I love, but that is the height of my published endeavors, so far. I have played with ideas for cookbooks, herb books, etc., but what I am actually working on, earnestly and dilligently, was inspired by dream imagery. The whole idea to write seemingly rode in on just one image. I would probably have never considered it without the inspiration of the dream. It is interesting that the more open I am to the idea that I am sometimes guided, the more it happens.

I clicked send on my current magazine article last night, and had no concerns since I had scanned the article and run spell check on it prior to sending it in. This morning I felt a knowing or mental nudge that something wasn’t right with that article, and I should check it again. I lazily drank a whole cup of coffee first because I really didn’t believe it. It’s a good thing I did read through it again. Part of an entire sentence and thought disappeared.  It made the remaining part of that sentence completely nonsensical. I must have started to edit that sentence and just forgot to hit save. I corrected it and sent in a new copy. It would have been pretty embarrassing to see that error in print. Thanks for the save!

First Snow

 

One gray morning when I was six, I looked out my bedroom window and saw my first, ever, twirling ballet of snowflakes. I had never seen snow before. A magical, new world beguiled me as I realized the sparkling, whispering softness covered every tree, rock and blade of grass. Jubilation followed, when my Mother announced there would be no school that day. Children’s voices squealed outside and I wanted to join them.

We had recently moved from Charleston, S.C. all the way to the Pacific Northwest, so I had no boots or mittens yet. My mother bundled me in my new hooded coat, slipped bread bags over my tennis shoes and I ventured out to immerse myself in the white mystery. I caught snowflakes on my tongue, all the while spinning and twirling with them till I was dizzy enough to fall into the soft embrace of deep snow, over and over again.

My hands were red from the cold, and icy flakes were packed into the top of the bread bags before I finally went in to warm up. The intensity and joy of that experience gave me my first, complete, awareness of myself as being similar, but separate, from everyone else on the planet.

The snow my new friends and I had shared that day initiated me into the realm of nature magic. I have, thankfully, been entranced ever since.

Slider Rolls, Why Bother?

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I know you’ve heard of slider rolls, but it’s possible you thought they were some trendy thing for game day parties that you didn’t need to know more about. I thought that, until I realized the creative possibilities and the ease of making them. They are stellar party food, and if you pull them out of your freezer for unexpected company, they will think you are Wonder Woman. With Christmas and New Years coming up fast, do yourself a favor and make some of these rolls for your freezer.

There are more filling ideas than I could possibly fit in this post, but I will share a couple of my family’s favorites below. If you google the word sliders, you will find plenty of inspiration. I will attach a recipe link for Taste Of Home slider recipes at the bottom of this post. Sliders are a great addition to potluck suppers, and are usually the first food to disappear completely at parties.

The following recipe is my favorite yeast roll recipe for slider buns. It stands up to gooey fillings, and holds its shape during reheating. Beyond that, it is delicious. If you are adept at Sourdough or Rye bread, those doughs make fantastic sliders, too. A lot of people just buy Hawaiian rolls, and they are o.k., but a little too sweet for some fillings. Typical bakery rolls get soggy too fast.

When you bake a normal pan of rolls, they are pulled apart after baking and before serving. Sliders are turned out of the pan still connected to each other. They are sliced as a group while still connected, also. It makes it easy to slice them evenly, in a sheet. I generally slice them before I freeze them, so they are ready to go if I need to thaw them in a hurry. When you are ready to assemble sandwiches for heating, just lift off the top halves of the rolls as a unit. Place it back on when you are done layering the filling.

Slider rolls are bigger than average dinner rolls but smaller than a hamburger bun. They contain unsalted butter and eggs to make a roll that is tender, but tough enough to withstand sauces and cheeses without splitting or collapsing. I weigh the dough balls at 2.30 each and place 12 of them in a 9×13″ pan, with space between each. This recipe will make 24 rolls if you weigh them at 2 oz. each. I weigh them a little bigger, so it yields only 23 rolls for me.

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As they rise, the rolls will swell to fill the gaps.

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Here is my recipe for Slider Rolls:

1/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 pkgs. active, dry yeast
2 cups whole milk, scalded and cooled to 105 degrees
1 cube unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
6 cups of All Purpose flour
3 tsp. Salt

Scald milk, then cool to 105. Melt the butter and allow it to cool. Combine the flour and salt in a KitchenAid mixing bowl with dough hook.

Whisk the yeast and sugar into the 2 cups of cooled, scalded milk, and allow the mixture to sit about 5 minutes until it gets foamy.

Add the yeast sponge to flour and salt, and turn the mixer on at a low setting until dough begins to come together.

Stop the mixer and add the eggs first, then the butter. Knead about 6 minutes. Oil your hands when you are ready to take the dough out of the bowl as it is a little on the soft, sticky side.

Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a lid or Saran Wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough, and weigh into 2 – 2.30 balls. Place in greased 9×13 inch pan, spray the tops with veggie oil, and cover with Saran wrap. Allow to rise till doubled and gaps between each roll are almost nonexistent.

Bake at 325 convection or 360-375 regular oven. Brush with melted butter when they come out of the oven. Stand guard if you intend to use them for slider rolls! They smell so good that anyone in the vicinity will snatch one when you aren’t looking! 🙂

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My family likes slow cooked, shredded chicken breasts with BBQ sauce, cheese and fresh coleslaw on sliders, or, Cuban sandwich sliders.

Cuban Sandwich Sliders

Mayonnaise
Thinly sliced dill pickles
Slices of swiss cheese, on bottom and top layers
Highly seasoned roast pork
Sliced baked ham

Layer ingredients over the bottom half of the rolls placed on parchment lined cookie sheet. Apply the top half to the rolls and cover with foil. Bake about 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.

The possibilities are endless!

36 Slider Recipes

Schnecken Rolls (German Sticky Buns or Sweet Rolls)

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These sweet rolls have been a favorite of my family since the ’80s. When I worked for several years as a pastry chef at a German bakery/restaurant in Portland, I made 60 of these delectable pastries every morning, positively dripping with nuts and caramel. At the end of the day, there were never any left!  All the employees ever managed to scrounge were the drips of caramel that were left on the parchment paper.  🙂

I now usually omit the caramel, because it seems too sweet to us now. But we loved it, back in the day. It would almost be a sacrilege to put regular frosting on these rolls. They are super buttery and egg yolk rich and tender, even plain, with or without added butter. I have to have butter on them, but my husband likes them plain. I do usually make an orange syrup to brush over the cooled rolls and top with more chopped pecans before I serve them. Feel free to omit the pecans altogether though, if you wish. They will still be great.

These rolls are traditionally baked in giant muffin cups, with the caramel and nuts in the cup below. When they come out of the oven, (and are quickly inverted), the caramel drizzles down, covering the entire rolls. If I’m not using caramel, I just bake them in a roasting pan pre-sprayed with vegetable spray. They turn out great, either way. I am including the caramel recipe too, in case you want to try it.  These are the best Pennsylvania Dutch type sticky buns ever! This recipe is easily doubled if you have a huge mixer that will hold 14 cups of flour.

I made these to keep my guys busy and out of my way while I prepare stuffing early Thanksgiving morning.  It works like a charm!

12 Large Schnecken Rolls

I bake these in a 325 convection oven, but a regular oven at 350 will work just fine. The only thing that might go wrong is that you under bake them. Let them bake about 35 minutes till golden brown, as they will still be buttery and tender.

STEP ONE:

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp. Active dry yeast (a shy 3/4 oz or 3 packets)
1 cup sugar, split
6-7 cups unbleached, organic A/P flour
1 tsp. Salt
2 cubes unsalted butter, room temp
6 egg yolks (no whites!) SEPARATE THE EGG YOLKS!!

Scald the milk in a saucepan over medium heat just until a skin forms. Remove the skin. Cool to lukewarm. Add to the lukewarm (95-100 degree) milk:

YEAST SPONGE MIXTURE:
2 Tablespoons of active, dry yeast
A pinch of powdered ginger
1/4 cup sugar (SEPARATE 1/4 cup sugar out of the 1c total sugar)
1 cup of flour

Whisk together in a 4 cup liquid glass measuring cup and allow it to get foamy and rise for 30 minutes. It will almost (but not quite) spill over the sides when it is ready.

In the mixing bowl of a Kitchen Aid or other mixer, place:

3 cups of flour (to start)
1 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup sugar

With a paddle attachment, muddle it all together. On speed #1 add the pieces of the soft unsalted butter to the dry flour, salt and sugar mixture. It will get kind of crumbly, which is perfect.

Now add the yeast sponge and the 6 egg yolks. Change to a dough hook and knead about 5 minutes. You can slowly add just a little more flour, but this dough should be soft and shiny.  The dough will seem sticky and stringy, compared to some, and strings will whip around trying to cling to the side of the bowl. That is a perfect consistency for this dough!

(If you forgot to separate out the egg yolks, don’t throw out the dough. It will still be better than most sweet roll recipes, just more airy than normal But it turns out best when whites aren’t added)

If the dough still leaves a gunky coating on the sides of the bowl, add a little more flour (as much as 2 more cups, 1/2 cup at a time) while the mixer is kneading.  You can’t over knead this dough.  When the moving dough cleans the sides of the bowl, that’s your cue the dough is ready. You will have kneaded it in the mixer with a dough hook attachment for at least 10 minutes.

Place in a large, oiled (ideally SQUARE) Tupperware type container with a lid that seals. Large means gallon to gallon and a half. I got mine at a restaurant supply store. See the photo below. The reason I prefer a square container is that it makes it easier to roll out the chilled dough in a rectangular shape. Oil the top of the dough with your hands. Let the dough rise one hour, then place it, covered, in the refrigerator overnight.

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The next morning, remove the lid and upend the container of dough onto a WELL floured surface. Allow the dough to sit, covered with the upside-down container, for about 40 minutes to warm it up a bit.

Roll into a rectangle about 20 inches by 14 inches. The dough will be about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick when it has been rolled out.

FILLING:

1/2 cube melted butter, slightly cooled
1 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1/8 cup cinnamon
3/4 cup finely chopped, toasted pecans

Drizzle the melted butter over the surface of the rolled dough while spreading it around with your hands. Be sure to leave a one-inch area on edges unbuttered in every direction so the dough will stick to itself when it is tightly rolled up!

Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over all, distributing with your hand, and evenly sprinkle the diced pecan pieces on top of that.

ROLL IT UP!

Begin to roll the long edge nearest you. Pinch it tightly the first 2-3 inches with your fingertips, working your way first left, then back to the right. No, it won’t look pretty yet, but the rest will roll up nicely! The reason you roll it so tightly at the beginning is to get the tight snail-spiral started.

Continue rolling snugly, away from you, smoothing roll first all the way to the left, then to the right, trying not to squeeze the sides so hard the pecans rip their way through the dough. Once it is all rolled up, pinch the loose end tightly against the far side of the roll all the way down the length of the roll. If you pinch it firmly it will stick to itself. (Pretend it is someone you don’t like!) Then use your index finger to jab the pinched part into the roll, all the way down the roll.  Fold the ends under and pinch tightly closed.

Either use a bench scraper or a long knife and lightly mark the dough into 4 sections. Cut 3 fat slices out of each section. Cut straight down in one motion. Don’t try to saw it! Each slice will be about 1 and 3/4 inch thick. Compress the slices as you lay them in a roasting pan or caramel-filled muffin tin. Try to position the sealed edges against other rolls or the edge of the pan, in case they try to pop open while they are baking.

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Once you have placed each slice in the pan, fan out and separate the top edges in each roll to resemble an open flower. They sometimes stick together when you are rolling the dough.

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IF YOU WANT TO USE CARAMEL:

This recipe makes a perfect caramel Glaze. If you boil it in a chef’s pot like we did at the bakery though, be aware the caramel can get almost brittle by the time the rolls are done in the oven! It can pull a filling out of a tooth. So, when I make this, I don’t pre-cook it. I prefer a softer caramel. It will be delicious whichever you choose.

Caramel Glaze:

1/4 lb. unsalted butter
3/4 cup Karo syrup (most people use the dark karo)
1/2 lb. brown sugar PLUS 1/4 cup
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Vanilla (add when done boiling and right before placing in the baking pan or muffin cups.

If you want the traditional caramel glaze, bring all but the vanilla to a boil in a candy pot and boil it till it reaches 236 degrees on a candy thermometer. Allow the mixture to cool for a couple minutes before stirring in the vanilla. Immediately pour in equal amounts into muffin tins or the flat interior of a roasting pan. Top with pecans, if using, and then place unbaked dough slices on top.

I put the caramel ingredients in my kitchen aid mixer and cream them well. Then I spread it over the bottom of a vegetable oil sprayed roaster or glop it into unlined, sprayed muffin cups. Top with pecans, placed upside down so they look pretty when you flip the rolls over. Arrange the rolls on top of the caramel and let rise until doubled, covered with Saran Wrap. It will usually take about an hour and a half. Baking time is about 30-35 minutes with 325 convection or 350 regular bake setting, depending on your oven.

NOTE!  If you use the caramel, there is a technique to use when you dump or invert the pans, so you don’t get burned!

Prepare a pan larger than the one you are baking in, and line it with parchment paper.  When you are ready to take the rolls out of the oven, use oven mitts if you have them.  If not, you can use potholders.  The trick is to position your hands with your THUMBS DOWN and underneath the pan when you pull the hot pan out of the oven.   It might initially feel awkward, but that way you are ready to flip the pan over, away from you and straight down onto the pan lined with parchment quickly.

Leave the pan alone for about 2 minutes, then you can carefully lift a corner of it with a fork and raise the pan off of the rolls.  At that point, you can scrape any excess caramel in the pan onto the rolls with a heat-proof spatula.

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I freeze the rolls in one-gallon freezer bags as soon as they are cooled all the way. They freeze wonderfully, even when covered with the caramel.

Hope you enjoy these!