I've been making these every Christmas for at least 10 years now.I'm so grateful to the family that shared it in our newspaper so long ago.My only warning is that once you make them they will be a permanent Christmas tradition.My sister-in-law makes them for her family when they can't be here & my husband says it isn't Christmas until the rolls come out of the oven! I make the filling several days ahead and the dough a couple days in advance. (The almond in the glaze is my only addition to this recipe)
DOUGH: Warm the milk to lukewarm.Combine flour, sugar, salt & lemon peel. Cut in butter, blending until it resembles a coarse meal.
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add to flour mixture, along with milk and eggs. Combine to form dough into a slightly sticky ball. Place dough in a large lightly-oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
FILLING: In medium saucepan, combine all ingredients. Bring to full boil on medium heat. Boil 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Mixture will be like a thick jam and will thicken more as it sits. Set aside to cool. This can also be made several days in advance and stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
ASSEMBLING: Remove dough from fridge and divide in half. Roll one half into an 18"x15" rectangle. Spread with half of the filling (be sure to use the full halved amount-it will be a thin layer, but should cover the whole rectangle)
Beginning on the 18" side, fold one third over the filling,then fold the other third over that layer: like a business letter. Dough will be 6" wide x 15" long.
Cut into 1" wide strips with a large, sharp knife - using a rocking motion, not slicing back and forth.(You could also use a large pizza cutter, but you'll want to cut straight)
Grab a strip at each end and twist several times while immediately placing on a large parchment-lined baking sheet @ 2" apart. Add a crook to the top as you place it on the sheet, to form a cane. Repeat this process with the remaining dough to make 30 canes total, 15 to a sheet.
I like to cover the canes at this point with a clean towel and allow to rise about 1/2 hour before baking, if your dough is still cold.
Bake at 400 degrees, about 13-15 minutes. They should be a little golden-colored in places, but not doughy in the centers. Allow to cool on rack about 15 mins. Dip a fork in the glaze and drizzle it over the rolls.
GLAZE: Mix powdered sugar with softenend butter. Add flavoring (if desired) and enough half&half to make a drizzling consistency.