This recipe is originally my Great Grandmother's- Muriel. But I remember my grandmother- Rita- making these every Christmas. They are the absolute best. We looked forward to them all year. I love them so much I make all throughout the year. They freeze really well too. After the buns have cooled, I wrap individually in plastic wrap and then put them in a freezer bag and into the freezer. They are delicious any time of the day- for breakfast, for a snack, or for a dessert. I like them cut and spread liberally with butter.
Combine hot roll mix and yeast packet in a large bowl. Mix well. Combine water and milk and heat until very warm. Add water and milk mixture, Crisco and egg and stir until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Shape dough into a ball. Knead dough for 5 minutes until smooth. Sprinkle additional flour over surface to reduce stickiness if necessary.
Return dough to bowl and cover with greased waxed paper. Let rise in a warm place 20 to 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Too much flour toughens the dough, so use no more than needed to prevent sticking. Roll out to uniform thickness, about 20 x 16 inches.
Spread the two cans of poppy seed evenly over dough, leaving a ¼-inch border. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Add small dabs of butter. Roll up the dough jelly-roll fashion into a long log. Pinch firmly along the seam to seal it. If necessary, gently shape the roll so it is a uniform log. Cut into 12 equal pieces.
Place onto lightly greased sheet pan. Let rise uncovered until the buns have almost doubled in size, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops of the buns are golden brown. Let cool for five minutes on the pan. Remove buns from sheet pan and place on rack to cool completely.