Honey Whole Wheat Dinner (Sc)rolls

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I remember when I was first starting to learn how to cook and was struggling with a few dishes that came out less than successful. It made me mad and frustrated. My mom, because she’s very patient and quite a great cook herself, told me that I was getting worked up over nothing and that it would be fine. I just needed to get a grasp on a few fundamentals. By fundamentals, she meant some basic cooking techniques and methods, and most importantly, the flavor of  specific spices. Once I understood and grasped the ‘basics’ of cooking techniques and what specific spices/ingredients ‘do’, I would be comfortable enough to improvise and be able to make just about any dish and make it my own.

She’s a mom and a very good one, so of course she was right.

If I had to give advice to inexperienced cooks to where they should start if they do want to cook, it’d be my mom’s: learn the basics. Very little is worse than bland food; get comfortable with spices. VERY comfortable. Learn which ones ‘do’ what. (Your nose is a great resource for this: how they smell is very similar to how they will taste) Start with a basic, easy to follow recipe for what you want to make. Make it. Make it again. And again. Then, when you’ve started to feel comfortable with both the technique and the ingredients you’re using, start adding on & altering it to fit your own style and tastes.

Making adaptations and adding personalization to one’s cooking is one thing but I will say that doing it when it comes to one’s baking is another. It isn’t impossible, but it is different.

Why?

The simplest answer is that baking is a scientific reaction. Baking scientific reactions happen based upon individual elements that combine together and react to one another. If you alter the combination, it’s very likely that you’ll alter (or in this case ruin) the reaction. However, I have found with some practice that my Mom’s advice for cooking can work for baking as well.

I’ve found that when it comes to baking, you can get away with personalizing it so long as you don’t mess with the basic chemistry and ratio of wet ingredients to dry ones. That ratio is what mainly determines the chemical reaction that results in the dish itself, so unless you’re a food scientist I wouldn’t go messing around with that too much. Most of what I do when personalizing in baking has to do with two things: flavors, and shaping. The flavors are something you can adjust in just about anything: cake, pie, cookie dough, biscuits, scones, whatever. The shaping is something I’ve learned to play around with in my bread making.

Once I understood enough of the basics and got comfortable with making bread, I started branching out to want to make more than just a standard loaf or round balls of dough I baked in cake pans. Most yeast based bread dough is flexible enough to where once you get it past it’s first rise, you can shape it into just about anything you want and it will turn out fine. If you guys have been following my blog for a while then you’ve seen some of the ways I’ve been practicing my bread shaping skills with other flexible dough (Cinnamon Star Bread, Cornflower Yeast Rolls, Golden Santa Bread).

I’ve been using today’s recipe for a while now. It was one of the first bread recipes I tried. I was impressed with not only how easy it is to make, but how delicious the bread is. I’ve already said how much I like the combination of honey and whole wheat and these have a good amount of both honey & whole wheat flour in them, so that flavor isn’t lacking at all. Instead of shaping them into basic rolls though, I decided to do something a bit different: rolling them into scroll shapes. It was for no particular reason; I just wanted to see if it would work.

It did. It’s always nice when that happens.

Linking this up to Fiesta Friday #172, co-hosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Su @ Su’s Healthy Living.

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Honey Whole Wheat Dinner (Sc)rolls

Recipe Adapted from Chowhound.com

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Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil, for coating the bowl
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus 1/4 cup reserved)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

For Tops:

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • About 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon yellow cornmeal

 

Directions

Combine the flour, yeast and salt together in the bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk or a fork.

Melt 8 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the milk and honey, stir together until combined and allow to warm to a temp between 105 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit, about 2 to 5 minutes.

Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture and add the beaten eggs. Use the dough hook attachment to stir together on low until just combined. Then, increase the speed to medium high and continue kneading until formed a smooth, elastic dough—about 10 minutes.  It’s okay if it’s sticky.

Scrape the dough out of the bowl and set aside. Grease the bottom of the bowl with vegetable oil, then place dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and damp kitchen towel. Allow to rise until doubled in size.

Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in a small bowl. Deflate the dough and roll out to a rectangle, about 11 x 15 inches.  Brush the melted butter evenly over the dough. Using a bench scraper or knife cut the dough into individual rectangular strips. Roll the strips up into scrolls.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the scrolls onto the sheets, then cover with plastic wrap and a damp paper towel again. Allow to rise until double in size, about another hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl combine the beaten egg and water. Brush over the scolls, then sprinkle with the oats and cornmeal. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the bottoms and tops are golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool for about 1o minutes before serving.

Honey Yeast Rolls

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And just like that, October is over.

2015 is less than two months away from being completely over and I really can’t believe it. This has been one heck of a year. It seems like just yesterday we all were pooling together out summer recipes and now it’s getting to be about that time when we turn our thoughts to Thanksgiving and all the wonderful things we’re going to cook and eat.

As much of a self-proclaimed Christmas fiend as I am, I gotta say that I love cooking for Thanksgiving the most. There are just a set menu of dishes that me and my family ALWAYS eat on that day that we don’t usually do on other holidays when we get together to eat and I really do look forward to the tradition of it every year.

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Today’s recipe I think, would be a more than welcome addition to any Thanksgiving table.

Is it ‘easier’ to buy the commercial brands in the bread aisles? Sure, but I don’t think that they taste as good.

Plus, if you’re anything like me, you’d much rather be able to plop a tray of these babies on the table with a pleased-tad-bit-smug grin on your face as everyone oohs and aahs over them with questions of “Omg, did you actually MAKE these?!”

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Seeing the pleasure someone gets out of bread that I made myself almost always trumps the convenience of me buying it in the store. It just does. Plus, it really is cheaper.

(And to be honest, any cook/baker who tells you they don’t love flattery of their food is lying. Trust me on that. We love it when people praise our stuff. LOVE it.)

But to be fair, this recipe is one that I doubt anyone would be able to resist flattering someone for serving. I’ve made A LOT of yeast breads since i became serious about practicing my baking skills and sometimes the dinner roll recipes I try do have a tendency to blur together and in some instances, taste good but also pretty much the same.

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But let me tell you guys, this recipe DEFINITELY isn’t one of them. It stands out for a number of reasons, the taste being the most crucial.

These rolls are GOOD. Really good. The flavor of the honey really makes itself known, being in both the dough, and a friggin marvelous spread of honey butter that gets slathered on top as soon as they come out of the oven piping hot.

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And did I mention that they puff up to a ginormous size? Cause mine sure did.

Not that I’m complaining about that, though. The bigger the better.

(…that’s what she said ;-))

Happy Fiesta Friday #93 to all of our guests and of course to our lovely co-hosts  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Kaila @ GF LIfe 24/7!

Enjoy my rolls guys 🙂

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Honey Yeast Rolls


Courtesy of  “Southern Living: 1001 Ways to Cook Southern”

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)
  • 1 (1/4 oz.) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey

Directions

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a small bowl and let stand 10 minutes or until mixture bubbles

Meanwhile, heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until 100° to 110°.

Stir together warm milk, eggs and next 3 ingredients in a bowl of a heavy duty electric stand mixer, blending well. Add yeast mixture, stirring to combine. Gradually add 5 cups flour, beating at medium speed, using paddle attachment. Beat 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand 1 hour.

Uncover dough, and add remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, beating at medium speed 5 minutes. (Dough will be sticky.) Transfer to a lightly greased large mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts , 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down. Turn dough out on a well-floured surface and roll into 28 ( 2 1/2 inch) balls (about 1/4 cup dough per ball.) Place balls in  2 lightly greased muffin tins. Cover and let rise in a warm place, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 400°. Stir together 1/2 cup softened butter and 1/4 cup honey.

Bake rolls at 400° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with honey butter. Serve with remaining honey butter.

Vanilla Almond Butter Bars

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One of the best things about loving to cook is the desire I have to try new types of food. This wasn’t always the case for me, in fact when I was young, I was a pretty finicky eater. I had a specific list of foods that I knew that I liked, and it was pretty much all I was interested in eating.

Now that I cook for fun, I’m usually always up for trying new foods and new ingredients. The upside to this obvious, but the ‘negative’ part to it gets a little bit more complicated. See, when I find a new food that I like, I usually get somewhat addicted to it to the point where I feel like I HAVE to have it in a regular rotation for a while-especially when it’s something that isn’t too complicated to make.

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This year alone I’ve had a HUGE variety of ‘food phases.’ Heck, I’m still in some of them: buffalo wing hummus (which I could make by throwing the ingredients in the food processor),  oven roasted veggies, chicken schwarma wraps, Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal smothered in vanilla yogurt, bananas and peanut butter on toast, Shiritaki Noodle & Zucchini Lo Mein. I’m telling you guys, my cravings have no shame.

One of the cravings that has always stuck with me is the craving to have something sweet right after I’ve finished dinner. It doesn’t have to be something ‘too’ sweet or decadent like cake or candy or ice cream (not that those things aren’t ALL wonderful). I just want something that’s sweet enough to balance out the savory flavors from dinner, but still light enough to not be too heavy or put me in a food coma ( because I usually try to save those for the Holidays).

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I’d always been a fan of raw almonds, but before I started reading food blogs and cookbooks, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as almond butter. But since there seemed to be a lot of people that were fans of it, I decided to take the plunge and buy some for myself.

And I was hooked. That first jar of Maranatha started an obsession with almond butter that I have yet to get over (and honestly hope that I never do). Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love my peanut butter (after all, it is EXTREMELY cheaper), but I find that almond butter’s flavor isn’t as assertive as peanut butter’s is, and sometimes when it comes to flavors, less is more.

I’ve heard of and seen lots of recipes for no-bake bars that feature peanut butter in them (I’ve tried some, and they’re great), but not so much for almond butter. This recipe’s my little contribution/homage to almond butter. It satisfies the sweet tooth craving I get after dinner without making me feel too full. I’m sure that I’ll be stuck in a phase where I have to eat one at least every day for the next month or two. Another plus side to it is that the ingredients are actually pretty healthy so far as sweets go. Make sure you don’t leave out the vanilla extract guys, it adds something really special to the flavor of the almond butter- plus I love vanilla flavored ANYTHING, so I’ll look for excuse to throw it in a recipe if I think it’ll work…and it did. Rather nicely, I think.  I used Honey Bunches of Oats cereal with the Quick Oats to give the bars some varying textures, but if there’s another cereal that you prefer, feel free to use it. The bars are pretty versatile and ridiculously easy to make. Seriously, I think they take less than 10 minutes to put together, and a few hours to harden. So that means you literally have NO excuse not to make them. Right? Of course right.

FEED(ME) BACK: What’s your favorite thing to eat when you have a sweet tooth?

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Vanilla Almond Butter Bars

Yield: 16 Bars

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup creamy or chunky almond butter
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 2 cups of whole grain oats (either quick or rolled will work fine)
  • 1 cup Honey Bunches of Oats with Vanilla Clusters cereal, or Honey Bunches of Oats with Cinnamon Bunches cereal, slightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. Combine almond butter and honey in a 2 qt saucepan and place over medium heat. Allow to simmer until almond butter has completely liquefied and blended together with the honey. Remove from heat.

2. Stir in vanilla extract.

3. Fold the oats and cereal into the almond butter and honey mixture until evenly combined.

4. Use a rubber spatula to press the mixture into an 8” square cake pan or baking dish, making sure to spread mixture into an even layer.

5. Cover pan with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight, or at least for one hour.

6. Cut into squares.

Texas Roadhouse Rolls

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There are a handful of restaurants and fast food joints that I like going to for one specific thing, and one specific thing only. Maybe they have other things on the menu that taste good. Maybe there are other things on the menu that aren’t so good. But either way, if I’m going to this place, I’m going to get that one specific thing, or the entire point of the trip is negated.

If it’s Cracker Barrel, I’m going for the pancakes.

A trip to Qdoba means I’m getting a chicken burrito with brown rice, corn, peppers and spicy salsa.

Coldstone Creamery? Cake batter ice cream with graham cracker bits and caramel.

Regardless of what city I’m in, if I’m eating at any Middle Eastern restaurant/deli, I don’t even need to look at a menu. I already know that I’m getting a chicken schwarma wrap with extra hummus.

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And then there’s The Texas Roadhouse.

You guys know where I’m going with this. Anybody (ANY-friggin-body) who has ever been to The Texas Roadhouse knows exactly where I’m going  with this. Don’t get me wrong, The Texas Roadhouse has other things on their menu that taste just fine. I have no complaints for the food in general. But for me, and I suspect for quite a few of you out there, there is but one thing that sets this place apart from all others.

No. It’s not the peanut shells that are littered across the floor.

Nope. I’m not talking about the caricature pictures of Dolly Parton and Willy Nelson on the wall.

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I’m talking about bread, guys.

THE bread.

The best bread to ever pass your lips. I’m not kidding. The first time that you try the Texas Roadhouse bread, you’re going to need a minute to yourself just to process what is happening. You’re not going to think it’s possible that something as simple as bread can taste so good. You’re going to wonder what the heck has been that crap you’ve been eating for years at other restaurants that they try to pass off as ‘bread’ (Unless you’re at Red Lobster or Outback Steakhouse- they don’t count here). You’re probably even going to think that the chefs in the kitchen are slipping some crack in the dough.

Well, they don’t put crack in the dough (at least, I THINK they don’t), but the developers at the Texas Roadhouse were definitely onto something the day they perfected this recipe. It’s just that good. When me and my family go to eat there, we always request extra bread, whether we end up with leftovers from our entrees or not. If you go to the Texas Roadhouse and don’t take home a doggy bag of the rolls, then you’re either on a diet (in which case I’m not sure why you’d be going to the TRH anyway), or you have no taste buds (which must be pretty terrible).

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I’ve had this recipe pinned to my food board on Pinterest for a long time now, but never got around to making it. This weekend, I decided to just stop the procrastination and get baking. The recipe for these rolls has been posted on lots of other food blogs, but I decided to go with the one that I saw first, at Eat Cake For Dinner. I didn’t do too much to change it. My changes were to shorten the rising time slightly (as my rolls doubled in size once molded quicker than hers). Whenever I make rolls, I always give them an egg and honey wash on the tops before baking, as I love the crust it gives them, along with an added sweetness.

I suppose the main question on everyone’s mind is: do they taste like the rolls from Texas Roadhouse? Well…yes and no. From my own research on the subject, I’ve read that the authentic ones are made with a flour that has a kind of evaporated/dry form of honey sifted into it, and that they also do not contain eggs or milk so as to widen the restaurant’s audience to include allergy sensitive customers.  I can’t imagine how this is possible, but since my rolls do contain eggs and milk, and don’t have any mad scientist flour, it’s obvious that they aren’t going to be the exact same as the original. BUT….they ARE friggin delicious. And if you have a craving for TRH rolls and don’t have one in your town (or you just can’t stand listening to country music), then these will definitely do in a pinch. I’d make them again for sure.

FEED(ME)BACK: Name one food from any restaurant that you only go there to get, every time.

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Texas Roadhouse Rolls

Recipe adapted from Eat Cake for Dinner

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

Yield: 24 rolls (Give or take, depending on how you shape them)

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cup milk, scalded & cooled to lukewarm
  • 3 tbl melted butter, melted, slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 7-8 cups of all purpose flour
  • 3 whole eggs, divided
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey

 Directions

1. Preheat oven to 100° or lowest possible setting.

2. Scoop some butter or shortening onto a paper towel and grease 2 9 x 9 baking pans.

3. Dissolve yeast in warm water with a teaspoon of sugar; let stand until frothy.

4. Combine yeast mixture, milk, 1/2 cup sugar and enough flour* to make a medium batter (about consistency of pancake batter). Beat thoroughly.

5. Add melted butter, 2 eggs and salt. Beat well.

6. Add enough flour to form a soft dough, about a cup at a time, being sure to scrape the sides of the bowl in the beginning. When the dough pulls away from the bowl and is smooth to the touch, it is ready.

7. Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Take a paper towel, and grease the mixing bowl with shortening or butter until it is well covered. Place the dough into the bowl, then turn it upside down once to make sure both sides are greased. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and place it in the oven for about an hour, or until the dough is doubled in size.

8. Punch the down, and turn it out onto a piece of parchment paper or cutting board you’ve sprinkled with flour.

9. Divide the dough into portions for shaping. Place rolls into greased baking pans and cover with plastic wrap. Place pans back in oven and let rest for an additional 30 minutes.

10. Remove plastic wrap from pans. Increase heat to 350°.

11. While oven is heating, whisk egg with honey in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, spread mixture over tops of rolls.

12. Bake rolls for 10-15 minutes in oven, or until golden brown. Baste them with butter as soon as they are removed from oven.

*If you have a sifter, I do recommend sifting your flour into the bowl before adding the other dry ingredients. The finer the flour is sifted, the softer and fluffier the dough will be in texture. It’s worth it. Trust me.