I spent the day at Denver Childrens Hospital. I ran my hand across baby Ryan’s cheek for the very first time; I stood beside his crib, delighted to see an unadulterated smile. But as the afternoon progressed, his pain increased. I held his tiny clenched fists as his brain struggled to understand the trauma that afflicts his body. I prayed peace over his tear-streaked face, over his grinding teeth. I whispered words of healing into his pale, pink ears. And then after two hours of standing beside that crib, I saw the pain break…and rest come to his tired body.
I’m typing this now at my parent’s home, while my sister sleeps beside her son in a hospital room in Denver. I spent one afternoon with baby Ryan, and I already feel exhausted…my sister and brother-in-law’s strength is otherworldly.
The love they have for their son is evident in the way that they cradle his still-stiff body, the way that they forsake all comfort to hold his hand through tense and painful nights.
My heart breaks for my family, and yet it also glows with pride and hope. We are together, we are fighting, and we know that baby Ryan will be made whole.
If you notice my absence, please know that my days and nights are occupied with family, prayer and sweet fellowship. I will return soon...I promise.
But before I leave you for a few days, I want to share one more recipe...a sinfully sweet Cinnamon Roll that will inspire you to forget your weekend plans in order to enjoy a leisurely Saturday morning with a pot of coffee and a group of friends.
This classic Cinnamon Roll recipe was updated with the addition of a shredded apple and a simple brown sugar crumble. The result is a pan of Cinnamon Rolls so rich, flavorful, and moist that it's almost impossible to stop at just one.
Enjoy the recipe, enjoy your weekend, and remember that life is a precious gift to be treasured and celebrated.
*adapted from Cooks Illustrated
1/2 cup milk
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) yeast
1/4 cup (1¾ ounce) sugar
1 large egg, plus 2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4-4 ½ cups (20 to 21¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
3/4 cup packed (5¼ ounces) light brown sugar
1 shredded Granny Smith Apple
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside until the mixture is lukewarm (about 100 degrees).
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the water, yeast, sugar, egg, and yolks at low speed until well mixed. Add the salt, warm milk mixture, and 2 cups of the flour and mix at medium speed until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute. Switch to the dough hook, add another 2 cups of the flour, and knead at medium speed (adding up to ¼ cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary) until the dough is smooth and freely clears the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a round, place it in a very lightly oiled large bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.
3. Mix together the filling ingredients in a small bowl. Grease a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
4. After the dough has doubled in bulk, press it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 16 by 12-inch rectangle, with a long side facing you. Mix together the filling ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border at the far edges. Gently spread the shredded apple on top. Roll the dough, beginning with the long edge closest to you and using both hands to pinch the dough with your fingertips as you roll. Moisten the top border with water and seal the roll. Lightly dust the roll with flour and press on it ends if necessary to make a uniform 16-inch cylinder. Cut the roll in 12 equal pieces and place the rolls cut-side up in the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, 1½ to 2 hours.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping: combine flour, diced butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix until crumbly.
5. When the rolls are almost fully risen, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the risen rolls. Bake the rolls until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of one reads 185 to 188 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. These rolls can be enjoyed with or without a simple glaze: 1-2 cups powdered sugar, 1 TBSP milk and 1 tsp vanilla
Anecdotes and Apple Cores