The Robin’s Storm

Reader Contribution by Marlena Chestnut Shifflett
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Living in rural West Virginia, I have discovered that there is something to all those “old wives’ tells” that you hear, and that when it comes to meteorology, the old man you always run into at the store in town is really the most reliable source. The robin’s storm is the last snowstorm of the year and, according to folklore, must come before spring can raise her sunny head.

Calm Before the Storm

Just when things on the farm were getting started on the bright and sunny 50-degree days, the robin’s storm has arrived. Another couple of inches of the white stuff to cover everything and remind us that it is still March in the mountains and anything can happen. What better to do then fill the house with the warm and welcoming aroma of fresh baked rolls and sweet rolls? Though for some, the idea of homemade bread is a bit intimidating, this quick roll recipe will have even the novice baker enjoying fresh bread in no time; and better yet, both the rolls for dinner, and the sweet rolls for dessert are made from the same batch of dough! 

Simple Quick Dough

3 packets (.25 ounces each) dry yeast

1 3/4 cups warm water

1/2 cup wildflower honey

1/2 cup melted butter

2 teaspoons salt

2 large eggs, beaten

v4 to 6 cups flour 

Quick Rolls

Preheat oven to 450 F. Paddle yeast and warm water together and allow to sit and activate 5 minutes or until bubbly. 

Add honey, butter, salt and eggs. Add flour one cup at a time until dough pulls away from side of bowl.

Form rolls by rolling with the palm of your hand against a flat solid surface and place in cast iron skillet. Brush tops with butter and sprinkle with salt. Allow to rise, covered in a warm place 20 minutes. 

Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with butter and serve. Recipe makes 24 rolls (or cut dough in half and make 12 sweet rolls for dessert!) 

Sweet Roll Filling

6 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3/4 cup chopped pecans 

Sweet Rolls

Roll Simple Quick Dough out into approximately 10-by-12-inch rectangle. Brush dough with melted butter. Mix sweet roll filling and sprinkle over dough.

Roll dough lengthwise and slice into 12 sweet rolls. Place in 9-by-13-inch baking dish or cast-iron skillet; brush again with butter.

Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with butter (yes, again!). Allow to cool.

Cover with maple glaze (1/2 cup maple syrup, 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 2 tablespoons vanilla extract; all whipped until smooth) and enjoy!

Though the bee hives need painted, the garden needs tilled, and the clothesline needs erecting, the robin’s storm is the perfect time to put aside the to-do list and create some baked goodness for the whole family to enjoy.  After all, the busy season is coming soon enough!

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