My son dreams of becoming a chef. Spatulas, tongs, measuring cups, a tabletop deep fryer, and a dozen boxes of red velvet cake mix line his bookshelves like an honor guard of mismatched soldiers. His desk is a library of notebooks filled with recipes he gleaned while watching hundreds of hours of cooking shows on cable TV.
Being the parent of an autistic child can zap your energy stores to a dangerously low level, but it can also leave you with an extraordinary sense of wonder. Andrew has been passionate about cooking since he performed his first cooking demonstration in the first grade. Ever since, he’s been determined to create and master every recipe he’s set his mind to. His current mission involves solving the mysteries of the cinnamon roll. You can read HERE about his passion in a Washington Post article that celebrates what makes children with autism awesome.
When I watch Andrew battle with recipes and destroy my kitchen with a deep-frying episode gone bad, I naturally want to put a ban on all experimentation in order to preserve my sanity. But when I choose to admire him for his gutsy tenacity and pursuit of perfection, I realize that his passion is contagious. He makes me want to chase my dreams with a similar passion.
In light of Autism Awareness Month, I challenge you to find the things in your life that make you passionate. What can you celebrate in others that makes them awesome? As for me, I have a fantastic recipe for cinnamon rolls that Andrew guarantees you will love!
Andrew’s Cinnamon Bites
These easy rolls are made in a mini muffin tin and only take about 10-12 minutes to bake. Savor a few with a hot cup of tea or coffee with a friend. Yum!
1 packet of rapid rise yeast
½ c. warm water
½ c. warm milk
¼ c. granulated sugar
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 c. all-purpose flour
½ butter, softened
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 Tbs. cinnamon (The more the merrier, says Andrew!)
3 Tbs. butter, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbs. milk
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Pour in yeast mixture. Mix in remaining flour, a few tablespoons at a time until soft and only slightly sticky.
Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes. Place into a well greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size. Usually about an hour in a warm room.
Once doubled in size, punch dough down. Cut into small pieces about the size of a golf ball. Pat into flat rounds and smear with an ample amount of filling mix. Fold and twist into a shape similar to a fortune cookie (Andrew’s description) and place into a Teflon coated mini cupcake tin. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10-13 minutes. If desired, drizzle with glaze.
Kristin Jarvis Adams is a public speaker and advocate for children with special needs, helping to bridge the gap between the outside world and the inner world of autism. Her speaking engagements have included: Seattle Festival of Trees Gala, a benefit for Seattle Children’s Hospital and The Seattle Children’s Autism Clinic. Learn More>>