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  1. Cooking

Our Big Green Egg Christmas miracle: How we baked sweet rolls on the grill

We call it the Year the Big Green Egg Saved Christmas.

It was just a few days before Christmas in 2008, when I was making a big pot of chicken noodle soup for my family and discovered I couldn't turn the burner off. The soup was suddenly in a full rolling boil. The only way I could make it stop was to flip the circuit breaker.

It turned out our particular stove was under an emergency recall for just this glitch. There were house fires. We were toast. There was no way we would be able to get a repair or replacement in time for Christmas.

It had become a tradition that every Christmas morning while we were opening presents, I would throw a breakfast casserole in the oven and a Bundt pan loaded with cinnamon and sugar and Parker House rolls.

While we tore into our gifts, that Bundt pan turned into a mishmash of sweet rolls sometimes called monkey bread. We liked that name because we tear at it like monkeys, pulling the balls of yummy, cinnamony, caramely dough with our fingers.

How was I going to pull off a day of Christmas memories with just a microwave?

My husband, the grill master, had a Big Green Christmas miracle up his sleeve.

The temperature control system of the Big Green Egg is why it inspires big green envy. Thanks to its ceramic composition, an Egg will maintain an even temperature, and not just for low-and-slow barbecue dreams.

You can cook on a pizza stone or, like we did, use the plate setter accessory that is designed for indirect cooking. It provides a barrier between the food and the fire, allowing heat to radiate within the dome while preventing the flames from reaching the food. It basically turns the Egg into an outdoor convection oven.

You can bake on any grill. The Egg just does it better than most. Many a tailgate party makes use of the grill to bake a dessert after the burgers are done. You just need that indirect heat, a good grill thermometer and time to let the grill settle in at the proper temperature. Then leave that lid closed tight.

That Christmas morning, we lit a small amount of lump charcoal. Once the heat settled in at 350 degrees, we baked the monkey bread for about the same length of time we would in the kitchen oven.

Sure, there was a bit of smokiness, but that only made the victory taste sweeter.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.

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