The Ultimate Breakfast Rolls


Biscuits.

Scones.

Cinnamon rolls.

Breakfast doesn’t get any better than all of the above.

Unless!…you decided to roll all three into ONE:

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Tender like a biscuit, toothsome like a scone, sweet like a cinnamon roll.

More please?

The Ultimate Breakfast Rolls

For the rolls:

*One batch of biscuit dough (Keeping It Cozy has a GREAT one!)

*2 Tablespoons butter

*3-4 Tablespoons brown sugar

*1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the icing:

*2 Tablespoons melted butter (preferably salted)

*2 Tablespoons maple syrup

*3-4 Tablespoon powdered sugar

*1 Tablespoon heavy cream

ASSEMBLY

Roll your biscuit dough out about 1/2″ thick.

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Spread melted butter over dough.  Sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon.

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Carefully roll dough up and pinch edges to secure.

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Cut into 3″ slices (I like mine thick!) and place in a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet.

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You could also use a baking sheet, but cast iron produces a biscuit that is tender yet flaky with just the right amount of crispness on the bottom.

(Thank you Andrea at Keeping It Cozy for showing me that a cast iron skillet produces the perfect biscuits!)

Bake rolls at 400 degrees until golden, about 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on them around 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze by whisking the melted butter, syrup and powdered sugar together until smooth.  Stir in cream.  You want the glaze the consistency of honey.  If it’s too stiff, add more cream.  If it’s too loose, add more powdered sugar.

Glaze rolls while warm.

Enjoy with a lovely cup of coffee and a friend.  🙂

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For more kitchen tips and helpful ideas, visit Tammy’s Recipes on Tuesdays for her weekly kitchen tip!

Homemade Soft Pretzels


ATTENTION SOFT PRETZEL LOVERS:

The days of waiting for trips to the mall for a soft pretzel are over.

Imagine pulling a batch of these out of your oven this weekend!

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You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to make your own pretzels.

You’ll also be surprised by how fast they disappear.

P.S.

If I could I would give you all bouquets of soft pretzels for your love and sweet words you poured on me this past week.  Thank you so much–I needed it. 🙂

Homemade Soft Pretzels

Ingredients

*1 batch of yeast dough

*1 large egg yolk, beaten with a teaspoon of water

*kosher salt

*large pot of boiling water

*1/3 cup baking soda

Fill a 4 to 6-quart pot with water, cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Meanwhile, form the pretzels.

Concerning the yeast dough, I prefer to use my Momma’s recipe for french bread.  To break up the process, I prepare the dough the night before.  Click here for recipe and step-by-step how-to.

However, if you are short on time and need a soft pretzel NOW, Pillsbury french bread or hot roll dough mix works just as well.

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Divide dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a 12-inch rope.

Take the left end of the rope in your left hand and the right end in your right hand and cross the ends to make a pretzel shape.

Pinch the edges as well as the place where the dough crosses to secure.

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When the water comes to a boil, add 1/3 cup baking soda.  (The water will become violent so be careful).

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Drop in 2-3 pretzels at a time (don’t crowd the pot!)….

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…and cook them for about 1 minute or until they begin to float:

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Remove pretzels with a slotted spoon, shaking off any excess water.  Place on a greased baking sheet.

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Repeat with the rest of the pretzels.

Brush tops with the egg mixture…

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…and sprinkle with kosher salt:

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Bake for 12-15 minutes until pretzels are golden.

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You may choose to dunk the pretzels in hot butter at this point, but they are just as delicious (not to mention less calories) “naked.”

Serve with honey mustard or even honey butter.

Mmmmm, this might just be my dinner….

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Thank you, Amy, at Afternoon Popcorn Snack for inspiring me to make these again!  For more tasty snack ideas, check out Amy’s blog.  🙂

Janie’s Christmas Bread


Whenever I think of Christmas Eve, I don’t think of a jolly old man with reindeer.  I think of a jolly old woman with a bear…

When I was little, my family lived in a trailer park next to a sweet, elderly lady named Janie who, despite her age, had a youthful spirit and a quick laugh.

She also had a fabulous doll collection.

One night, after Momma went to sleep, I decided to sneak out of the house and go visit Janie in the hopes that she would let me play with the dolls.  Halfway across the yard, however, the porch light suddenly flipped on and my plan was foiled.

I don’t know when the tradition started, but every Christmas Eve, Momma would bring Janie a loaf of coriander-spiced bread baked in the shape of a bear.  It was such a small, simple offering, but it thrilled Janie so much to receive that bear.  She would squeal with delight and then invite us in where she would give each of us girls a very special gift: a doll from her collection.  One year I received a Spanish Barbie, the next a Marie Osmond Barbie and another a homely-looking baby doll.  I’m sad to say that I was not very pleased to receive it and, shamefully, I threw a fit.  But since Janie was sweeter than I’ll ever be, she let me keep the doll.  After all these years, it’s the only one of her dolls I saved, and it is very special to me.

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Sadly, Janie passed away when I was in high school, and ever since then, Christmas Eve has felt a little empty without that bread bear delivery to our dear friend.  Earlier this week, it dawned on me that the tradition need not die, and so after deciding on a recipient, I rolled up my sleeves, and baked my own bear.

This recipe for coriander bread (I’ve made a few tweaks) was discovered many years ago by my Grandfather who typed it up on what is now a grease-stained sheet of paper.  Whether fresh from the oven or grilled up with butter, I hope you enjoy this bread as much as our family does.  Your house will smell heavenly as it bakes, and its nutty, slightly-sweet rich flavor will warm you to your toes.

Bear-y Christmas!

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African Coriander Bread

In a small saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups of water, 1 stick of unsalted butter and 1/2 cup honey until the butter is melted.

Allow mixture to cool until it is lukewarm.  (If it is too hot, the mixture will scramble the eggs–see below.)

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Meanwhile, assemble the rest of the ingredients.

There are so many wonderful spices in this bread!

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In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of flour (bread or all-purpose), 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and 1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander.

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The original recipe calls for milk, not water, to be added to the honey mixture, but I decided to experiment with powdered buttermilk this time.

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Cook’s Tip: When using powdered buttermilk, mix it into the dry ingredients and substitute water for the required amount of milk.  Use 4 tablespoons powdered buttermilk and 1 cup water for every 1 cup of buttermilk.

Stir dry ingredients until well combined and set aside.

In a large, bowl, beat two eggs a few times until smooth.

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In a separate bowl or cup, combine 1/2 cup warm water, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 2 (scant) tablespoons of yeast and allow to set until double in size:

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Add the yeast mixture and the honey mixture to the eggs and stir until well combined.

Stir in flour mixture and beat until smooth.

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Continue adding more flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl as you mix. (About 3-4 more cups)

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Turn dough out onto lightly floured board and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons kosher salt.

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I knead the salt in last because…well, because I read it in a book once and thought, hey, why not?  Since salt inhibits yeast, maybe adding the salt last will make the end result more light and airy.

At least…it seems like my bread has turned out lighter and fluffier with this trick.  But then again, who knows?

The stuff we do for [possibly] better food.

Knead dough until the surface springs back when poked.

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Allow dough to rest on the counter while you wash out the bowl, dry it and add a tablespoon of oil to the bottom.

Roll dough in oil and cover bowl with a lightly damp towel.

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Place in a quiet place to rise (I let it rise in my oven–without turning the oven on, I must say) until double in size, about an hour and a half.

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When dough has risen, gently press out the air.

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Allow the dough to rest a few minutes before cutting it in half.  Cut one half into seven equal pieces and the other half into two pieces with one half being larger than the other.

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Form dough into balls and position into the shape of a bear, setting the last ball on top of the face for the nose.

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Allow bear to rise for an hour.

Gently press in raisins for eyes and nose.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour or until deep golden brown.  If the appendages start turning brown too quickly, place a sheet of foil over the bear and remove it during the last 7-10 minutes of baking.  Place bear on a cooling rack and butter surface while still warm.

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The Recipe

Makes one bear or two loaves

Ingredients

*7 cups bread flour (you can use all-purpose)

*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

*1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

*1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

*1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

*1 teaspoon fresh orange zest

*6 Tablespoons powdered buttermilk

*2 eggs, beaten

*2 cups water, divided

*1/2 cup honey

*1 stick unsalted butter

*2 scant Tablespoons active-dry yeast

*1/2 teaspoon sugar

*2 teaspoons kosher salt

In a large bowl, mix 3 cups of flour with the spices, orange zest and powdered milk.  Set aside.

In a saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups water with honey and butter.  Heat over medium heat until butter is just melted.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to lukewarm.

Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, soften the yeast by adding the yeast and sugar to 1/2 cup warm water.  Allow to double in size.

Combine yeast mixture, cooled honey mixture and the eggs in a large bowl and mix well.

Stir in flour mixture and beat until smooth.  Continue adding 3-4 cups of flour as you mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Dump dough onto floured surface, sprinkle with salt and knead for about 10 minutes or until dough springs back when pressed with a finger.  Wash and dry bowl, add a tablespoon of oil and coat dough in oil.  Cover bowl with a slightly damp towel and set in a quiet place until doubled in size, 1-1 1/2 hours.

Gently press air out of dough and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Cut dough in half and form into loaves and allow to raise one hour before baking in a 350 degree preheated oven until deep golden, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Or, form dough into a bear as described above, rise and bake. If the bear’s appendages start to brown faster than the rest, cover the bear with a sheet of foil and continue baking.  Remove foil the last 7-10 minutes of baking.

M.Y.O.B. (Make Your Own Butter)


“The cream rises to the top,” my high school English teacher used to say.

Back then, I applied the phrase to academic excellence.

This weekend, however, I applied it to raw milk.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with raw milk, it is basically milk straight from the cow.  There is a fair amount of controversy with this white stuff, mainly because it is not pasteurized.  There are many people, however, who are switching to raw milk due to its nutritional benefits, most of which are lost in the pasteurization process.  I am by no means an expert nor a die-hard advocate, so I encourage you to do your own research.  Here is an article for starters.

To be quite honest, the main reason why I partake in the occasional glass of raw milk is because it’s, for the most part, easily accessible here in Clyde America, and I am always up for trying local fare.  This past week, my friend, who just so happens to own cows, had a surplus of milk, and apparently it was a very creamy batch.  When she suggested that it was great for making butter, I wasted no time in getting my hands on a gallon.

Until this weekend, I had never made, tasted or even seen homemade butter before.  However, once I discover that something can be homemade, I just have to make it.  In my home.  (Just thought I’d clarify.)

With that said, I L.O.V.E. homemade biscuits with homemade jam, and it only makes sense to enjoy the latter with homemade butter!

So thanks to cow-owning friends (and Google), I have a lovely mound of homemade butter sitting in my fridge.

Here’s how you, too, can M.Y. O. B……………..

How to Make Homemade Butter

First of all, you will need some cream.  Store-bought heavy whipping cream will definitely do the trick OR you can use the cream that rises to the top of a gallon of raw milk:

(To remove the cream, I poured the milk into a clear bowl, let it sit overnight in the fridge and then skimmed the cream off the top the next morning.  Now that I think about it, it would have been just as easy to remove the cream from the gallon container using a baster.  Oh, well.  Lessons for next time.)

Pour 2 cups of cold (around 60 degrees) cream in a large bowl.  For salted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt.

Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, whip the cream on the highest setting until thick, about 3-5 minutes.

Cook’s Note: Commercial whipping cream tends to stiffen up much faster than raw cream.

Once the cream begins to thicken, tiny butter crystals will begin to form.  Since these crystals have the tendency to clog up a whisk, replace the whisk attachment with beaters or a paddle.

Once again, beat on the highest setting.  (Drape a dish towel over the mixer to prevent the inevitable shower of milk and butter bits from spraying all over your kitchen.)

After roughly 5-10 minutes, the cream will look clumpy and frothy and will be full of large butter crystals:

Scoop the butter crystals to one side, and carefully pour the buttermilk off into another bowl:

Cook’s Note: Do not discard this miraculous liquid!  Though not the best for drinking, this milk is great for baking.

Using a spoon or spatula, press out all of the excess buttermilk.

You could use the butter as is at this point, or you can “rinse” it to extend its shelf life.  Here’s how:

Pour about a cup of ice-cold water over the butter and mash the butter with a spoon.  The water will immediately become cloudy with buttermilk.

Roll the butter around in the water to remove any excess buttermilk.

Discard the water and repeat the process with another addition of fresh water.  Continue rinsing the butter a few times until the rinse water is clear:

Press the butter to extract all of the water.

And that’s it.

You just M.Y.O.B.ed!

Fresh butter will last about 2 weeks in the fridge…that is, if you and your family don’t devour it right away!  Especially if you make biscuits.

(Biscuits: A great way to put fresh buttermilk to use!)

And now the question begs to ask: Was it worth the effort?

Answer: You butter believe it!

The final result was so light and creamy and best of all, it spread like…well…like butter.  (Which is more than I can say for…well…store-bought butter.)

Homemade biscuits.  Homemade jam.  And now homemade butter.

I can die a fulfilled and happy woman now.

Go ahead!  Live life on the decadent side, and make your own butter!

Recipe

*2 cups heavy cream or whipping cream (about 60 degrees in temperature)

*1/2 t salt

*Pitcher of ice water

Using a whisk attachment, beat cream and salt on the highest setting until thick and butter bits begin to form (5-7 minutes).  Replace whisk with beaters or paddle, and beat on highest setting another 7-10 minutes until mixture looks clumpy and foamy with large butter crystals.  Using a spatula, press the crystals together and carefully drain off buttermilk into a separate bowl.  Continue to press all excess buttermilk out of butter.  Pour a cup of ice water over the butter and “rinse” butter by pressing out the the excess buttermilk.  Discard water and continue process until rinse water is clear.  Press out all excess water using, store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Meemaw’s Refrigerator Rolls


Question: What’s better than a homemade dinner roll?

Answer: A homemade dinner roll that is ready to eat in under an hour!

When it comes to fresh baked bread, I want it five minutes ago.  Unfortunately, most yeast bread recipes require two risings which usually require up to an hour each.  That’s almost 2 hours not including prep and bake time!

Who has this kind of time?

When Dave and I were first married, his mother gave us an old church recipe book that contained his Meemaw’s (that’s what Dave calls his grandma) recipe for refrigerator rolls.  Since I was already devoted to my Momma’s yeast roll recipe, I didn’t feel I needed it…until I read that the dough only required one rising.  I was sold!  Not only were the rolls ready sooner, they were soft and tender and melted in my mouth.  (They were even better the next morning when I grilled them up with a little butter!)

Whip up a batch today…or tomorrow…or the next day.  Make them whenever you want, they’re refrigerator rolls!

P.S.

Did you sign up to bring the hamburger buns to this year’s Fourth of July get together?  These rolls make the perfect slider!

Meemaw’s Refrigerator Rolls

Sprinkle a scant tablespoon of active dry yeast over 1/4 cup very warm water.  Test the water on your wrist beforehand–if it stings, let it cool.  If it’s like very warm bath water, it’s ready.

Make sure you “soften” your yeast in a large enough bowl.  I like to use a 1 cup ramekin. Otherwise, your yeast will spill over and make a mess.  Allow yeast to soften until it is double in size (and looks like a science experiment)–about 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl melt 6 tablespoons of shortening in one cup of hot water.

Stir around until fat is completely melted.

Mix in 1/4 cup of sugar.

When yeast is ready, pour it into the oil and sugar mixture.  (By now, the water you used to melt the fat will have cooled substantially.  However, if it is still very hot, wait until it cools before you add the yeast.  Hot water will stunt the yeast.)

Add one large lightly-beaten egg.

Mix in 1 1/2 cups of flour until well incorporated.

Finally, add a teaspoon of salt.  I like to add my salt at the last possible minute because salt has a tendency to stunt the yeast.

Add another cup of flour and mix well.

Continue to add flour one cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl and forms a ball:

Dump dough onto a well-floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes.  If dough becomes too sticky to handle, just keep adding flour 1/2 cup at a time.  However, don’t add so much flour that the dough becomes too dry!  I tend to use about 4-4 1/2 cups of flour total for this recipe.

Knead the dough until the surface springs back immediately after it is pressed.

    

At this point you can either use the dough or place it in the refrigerator until needed.  If so, oil the dough, place it in a bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set a plate on top to prevent the dough from rising too much.  Use within 2 -3 days.

When you are ready, divide and roll the dough into 12 balls and place them on a greased baking sheet.

Allow to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes until doubled in size.

   

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Serve and prepare for the compliments!

The Recipe

Makes 12 rolls

*1 scant Tablespoon active dry yeast

*1/4 cup warm water

*1 cup hot water

*6 Tablespoons shortening

*1/4 cups sugar

*1 large egg, beaten

*1 teaspoon salt

*4-4 1/2 cups flour

Fill a 1-cup bowl with 1/4 cup warm water (very warm on wrist) and sprinkle yeast on top.  Allow to set for 10 minutes until mixture has doubled in size and is foamy.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, melt the shortening with the cup of hot water.  Add sugar.  Stir in yeast mixture.  Beat in egg.  Add 1 1/2 cup of flour and stir until well incorporated.  Stir in the salt and another cup of flour.  Stir until well combined.  Add another cup of flour.  When dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and starts to form a ball, dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough springs back when pressed.  If the dough is too sticky to manage, just add more flour half a cup at a time.

Grease the top of the dough, set in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready to use.  If storing in fridge over night, place a plate on top of the dough to keep it from rising out of the bowl.  Keep in fridge up to three days.

When ready to use, divide dough into 12 balls.  Place rolls a couple of inches apart on a baking sheet and allow to rise for 20 minutes in a warm, draft-free area.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden.