I love traditions! I grew up with plenty of them and still follow many of them now that I have my own family. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! I make Cinnamon Swirls throughout the year when I find a 3 hour block of time in the morning. A few years ago they became a tradition in my house on Mardi Gras Day. I will admit though, my son and I end up eating all of them within a matter of days. I reheat them in the oven and glaze to order.
In a Kitchen Aid Mixing Bowl, combine 1/2 C Warm Water (approx. 105F), 1 Tbl Rapid Rise (or any other) Yeast, and a sprinkle of Sugar. Dissolve yeast by stirring with a wooden spoon and let sit for 5 minutes. Once mixture bubbles, place on mixing stand. Add 2 Egg Yolks to a measuring cup. Fill to 1 Cup with warm water. Place mixer on the #2 setting. Add egg yolk mixture. Add 1 tsp Cinnamon, 2 Tbl Sugar, 1 tsp Vanilla, 1/4 tsp Cardamom. Begin adding All Purpose Flour, 1/2 C at a time. After about 2 cups, Add 1 tsp Salt. Keep adding flour til soft pliable ball forms. If it sticks to the bowl, continue adding flour til a ball forms. The ball should be slightly sticky. Remove dough from bowl as 1 piece. Begin folding down and under exposing some stretch marks. Oil clean bowl lightly and a place dough in top side down and getting oil on dough ball. Turn top back upward. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm spot. I place in on the back of my stove top with the heat lamp on.
After an hour it will double in size. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle. In a small bowl, combine 1 Tbl Sugar, 1 Tbl Light Brown Sugar and 1 tsp Cinnamon. Spread 2 Tbl Soft Butter over dough. Sprinkle evenly with sugar mixture. If you are adding raisins, do it now.
Roll along the long side into a log. Let rest while you butter the bottom and sides of a 12X15 glass baking dish. Cut dough log in half. Cut each half in half. Cut each piece into 3 equal pieces.
This makes 12 cinnamon swirls. Place in baking dish spiral side up. Mix around large and small cuts so the dish isn't crowed. Place damp towel over the dish and set on the back of the stove. After 15 minutes, heat oven to 450F. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.