Taste of Yesteryear

My Grandma Ruth used to make us (actually all 4 of her boys’ families) a box every Christmas with a “Christmas Breakfast Roll”.  At least that’s what I called it.  It always had green and red candied cherries on top, just for Christmas.  Also in the box were divinity, rocky road fudge, regular fudge, rum balls, a chocolate and nut covered toffee, caramels, and peanut brittle.  I longed for the box to arrive every Christmas and there was always a mini celebration when it arrived.  We always (in my memory) saved the Christmas roll for Christmas morning.  I knew without a doubt Grandma was thinking of us and loving us each and every time the box would arrive.  I can’t tell you a single Christmas gift she ever gave me (at least not with certainty) but I remember the Christmas roll and candies with a surprising clarity.

Anyway, I’ve wanted to reproduce those food memories for quite a while now.  Finally, I made the Christmas roll.  My Aunt still has Grandma’s recipes and was kind enough to type some of them up and send them to me.  It is such a blessing to be able to reproduce her recipes. Mine wasn’t nearly as well done as hers but hopefully that will come with time.  As an adult, I found it still takes me back and lets me know that Grandma Ruth won’t be forgotten.  I’ve also found, as an adult, the Christmas roll is excellent with coffee.

Another of Grandma’s recipes.  I don’t remember this one from childhood, but my dad and uncles might.  It was mighty tasty.  A refrigerator roll recipe balled up, coated in butter, cinnamon-sugar, stuffed into a bundt pan with walnuts, and then topped with frosting.  Also good with coffee.  Know what else is good with coffee?  Everything.


As requested here are the basic recipes for the dishes above.  Hopefully this will give me some incentive to find the candy recipes and replicate them too.  You will note the recipes are NOT detailed step by step.  As many grandmother’s did and still do, my Grandma Ruth treated recipes as guidelines, if she used them at all.  Therefore some of the steps are missing or unclear because I mostly tried to keep them in their original form.  In the rolls recipe the amount of sugar was missing, so I made a guess.  If you are making the sweet breads I would add a little more.  If you are making dinner rolls the 3/4 cup seemed right to us.  Otherwise, add sugar, butter, herbs, and spices to you or your family’s desires.


  • 2 pkgs yeast (4 ½ tsp; each packet 2 ¼ tsp)
  • 2 ½ c warm H2O
  • ¾ c butter/shortening
  • ¾ c sugar
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • up to 8-8 ½ c flour
  • 2 ½ tsp salt
  • Soften yeast in water (add the yeast to warm water and let it sit a bit), add butter/shortening, sugar, eggs, salt and 4 c flour then add flour as needed*. Cover tightly and store in frig. overnight or until needed.  When ready to use, punch down use amount needed. Let rise until doubled.  For pan rolls – 1/3 dough = 12 rolls. Bake in hot oven at 400•F for 15-20 minutes.

*If you have never made dough before and are unsure of how much flour to add, my rule of thumb is to continue adding until the dough is tacky but not sticky – it won’t stick to my fingers or the counter if I roll it around but if I let it sit for a minute it will stick (hope that helps).

Christmas Breakfast Roll


  • 1/3 c butter
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup
  • ¾ c walnuts
  • Cook butter, sugar and corn syrup over low heat till sugar dissolves.  Roll out 1/3 dough into rectangle ½ inch thick.  Spread ½ c syrup & sprinkle ¾ c finely chopped walnuts.  Roll-up, seal edges and shape into ring (easier said then done). Place on a greased cookie sheet with a custard cup in center of ring.  Make 1 inch slashes in dough at 3 inch intervals. Let rise until doubled.  Bake @ 350•F for 30 minutes.
  • Cover with glaze.


  • 1 c confectionary sugar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • ¼ tsp vanilla or maple

Golden Crown


  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • ½ c chopped walnuts
  • ½ c raisins
  • Use about ½ recipe of sweetened dough. Make rolls about size of walnuts.  Roll in melted butter then in sugar mixture.  Place in layers (don’t forget to thrownin handfuls of walnuts between the layers) in greased bundt pan until all dough pieces are used.  Sprinkle remaining sugar mix & any nuts over top.  Cover, let rise in warm place until doubled.  Bake 350•F for 45-55 min.  (I chose to leave out the raisins – me no likey in baked goods!)

One thought on “Taste of Yesteryear”

Comments are closed.