3/29/2012 2:43:00 PM Caramel rolls helped with church elevator
by Diane Lohmann
Linda Hindal's caramel rolls helped raise money for an elevator at her church and now she's at it again.
The First Congregational United Church of Christ has their elevator and is looking to raise funds to remodel the church basement.
"We didn't have an elevator and the only way to get into church was steps." Hindal said. "I was trying to think of something I could do."
A member of the church council, she proposed making her caramel rolls as a fundraiser and they agreed. That was in March 2000.
"People started ordering them and soon it was Easter," she said.
Fast forward 12 years and soon it will be Easter again. She's still making caramel rolls and has three bread machines to keep the rolls coming. Depending on the size of the rolls, each pan typically has a dozen or two of the golden brown, sticky and scrumptious rolls.
"I love to bake," she said.
She got the recipe from a friend and it made three dozen rolls. She adjusted the recipe so she does one large pan at a time. Since she doesn't have a food license, people make free-will donations between $12 and $15 a pan. People were generous when she was raising money for the elevator and she raised about $2,500.
It has become a family recipe and her daughter, Angela Hokanson of Red Wing, helps out. The rolls have been to bake sales, rummage sales, community coffee hours and weekend retreats. Some have traveled to other states.
"The caramel rolls have gone to family reunions in Iowa," she said. "People order them in advance and take them on trips."
The rolls have several different names from caramel rolls to cinnamon rolls to "sticky rolls." Sometimes pecans are added.
She starts by making the dough in the bread maker. The dough is rolled out with plenty of flour and she adds a little more butter, brown and white sugar, and cinnamon.
"Once you've rolled them out the calories are gone," she joked.
The caramel is made separately using butter, brown sugar, light corn syrup and a bit of milk or cream.
"The secret is not to overcook it," Hindal said.
When the caramel reaches a light boil, she boils it and counts to 100 - about 50 seconds. The caramel is immediately put into a pan with cooking spray. It has time to cool before she puts the rolls in.
When she makes a lot of rolls ahead of time, she lets them rise, covers them with aluminum foil and freezes them. The rolls are brought to room temperature before baking.
She works full-time for a travel agency in Bloomington and handles business travel plans. An early riser, there are days she bakes rolls before going to work and leaves them on the porch for people to pick up.
She and her husband, Grant, moved to Cannon Falls about 40 years ago and raised their two girls here. Her other daughter, Julie Maggi, lives in Missouri. The couple has four grandchildren and they are fans of her rolls and bread.
"I make sure to have them when they come to visit," Hindal said. "It is fun to bake and cook for people who have an appetite."