Now that Halloween is over we get to move onto Thanksgiving, which really is an incredible holiday. The day with a big turkey dinner itself is fine, but I really love that we have a holiday completely devoted to gratitude (and pumpkin), but mostly gratitude. I need to be more thankful all the time, and I am SO glad we have a holiday where businesses close, family comes together, and people remember what they have to be grateful for. I will probably talk about this again this month as we get closer to Thanksgiving Day, so I will leave it at that for now.
What I really want to talk about today is the importance of dinner rolls (queue the eye rolls). But seriously, dinner rolls have a special place in my heart, particularly in the context of Thanksgiving dinner. How many times have you gone to a catered dinner or restaurant and the rolls really left something to be desired? They were dry, flavorless, too chewy, or had one of myriad other problems. So, I am here to make all your Thanksgiving dinner roll dreams come true.
I have made a number of different dinner rolls over the years, tried lots of different kinds and these are by far the best. I accidently stumbled onto them in college and I have never looked back. They are best fresh out of the oven, but making them as part of a huge dinner doesn't always allow for that, so if you need to make them in advance, that will work fine too.
You can try to make them healthier if you really want to, but if you decide to add wheat flour or bran or something healthy, I take no responsibility if they don't turn out as light, fluffy, buttery, and delicious as you are expecting. White flour is a must. All the sugar is a must. Loads of butter is a must. You will not regret it.
And the pear butter? It got a 9/10 in my book. It was like eating pear caramel. So addicting, and incredibly tasty.
As an unrelated side note, don't forget that the Minimalist clothing challenge starts today! If you are interested in participating, I would love to see your photos on Instagram, tagged #mwminimalistchallenge! Hope to see you there!
makes 16 small rolls
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
2 tsp yeast
1/3 cup soft butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 3/4 white flour
3 Tbs butter
In a large bowl, add our water, milk and yeast. Let them proof for 10 minutes or so, until the yeast is frothy. Add your egg, softened butter, sugar and salt and briefly stir. Then add your flour, 1 cup at a time for the first two cups. After that, add the flour 1/2 cup at a time until you have a nice soft dough.
Knead for 5-7 minutes, adding a small sprinkling of flour if the dough becomes sticky. Once it is smooth and elastic, oil your bowl (or spray with cooking spray), put the dough back in the bowl and cover with plastic or a wet towel. Let it sit for an hour or so until it has doubled in volume.
Lightly flour a clean surface. Split the dough into two halves. Take the first half and roll it into a circle, about 1/2 thick. Melt your second set of butter and pour 1/2 of it over the rolled out dough. Spread it in an even layer across the dough, and cut the dough in half, then in half again, and so on until you have 8 rounded triangular pieces. Starting from the large end of the triangle, begin rolling the dough until you have a lovely crescent roll. Tuck the end underneath and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough wedges. Roll out the other half of the dough and repeat.
Cover with greased plastic wrap or a wet towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes, or until almost doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 400°F and cook the rolls for 10-15 minutes, until the edges are beginning to brown. Remove from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes and eat with pear butter.
3 pears, peeled, cored & diced
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Put your pears, sugar, and cinnamon in a saucepan and cook on the stovetop over low heat for an hour and a half. If it looks like they are starting to get too dry, add a teaspoon of water. Once they are completely soft and turning brown, blend them with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Eat with warm rolls.