SWEET AND BUTTERY ROLLS
Holiday meals are busy and stressful enough, without worrying about who is coming, how many people are coming, or if they are still going to be able to come with COVID-19 worries and traveling concerns. Not to mention that here in Michigan we have to incorporate weather predictions into the planning. Should we cancel? Should we try to hold it outside/in the garage when it is 40 degrees outside? Can we keep our distance and still eat comfortably and have fun?
This recipe allows me to prepare the rolls ahead and freeze the individual pieces. Then when I get a final count, I can thaw however many rolls I want, and keep the others frozen for another day.
MAKE DOUGH, FORM BUTTERHORNS, FREEZE FOR THE FUTURE
I found this recipe a few years ago online and it makes a LOT of rolls. Of course, I made the full recipe for Thanksgiving. Oh, my goodness, I think some people would have filled up on these Butterhorns rather than bothering with turkey and side dishes, if wiser heads (those older than 16) had not intervened.
TAKE OUT AS MUCH OR LITTLE AS YOU WANT
As I am prone to do, I have made some minor adjustments to the recipe and process to make it work for me. This year I will make the full recipe again (32 large rolls) but keep half of them frozen for Christmas dinner. However, because the pandemic is making many of us limit the number of people around the table, I have adjusted the recipe to make 16 servings. It is difficult to adjust it downward from this, but it easy to make this version, make and freeze all, then just pull out 8 Butterhorns or less to bake off.
I almost always toss in a little sugar when I am proofing yeast. The sugar releases the energy and activates the bubbles of carbon dioxide quickly, then you tell right away that the liquid is at a good temperature. It needs to be just right to develop the best flavor and temperature. I always check the temperature of the water or milk by dribbling some on the inside of my wrist. If it feels cozy warm and comfortable, then I know it is correct. You can double check with an instant read thermometer to see if it registers 110-115 degrees.
MAKES A SOFT ENRICHED DOUGH
Add about half of the flour, the rest of the ingredients, and stir until well combined. Then I keep adding flour until a soft dough forms. Sometimes I do this by hand, and other times I use my stand mixer and dough hook. You can see in the photos that the dough is very soft, and slightly sticky. It is at the right consistency when it starts to clean the side of the bowl.
Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and knead it quickly and lightly for just a few minutes. It does not need extensive kneading due to the rich, suppleness of the dough. Use as little flour as necessary to keep it from sticking. Let it rise, covered, in a greased bowl for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
CUT INTO WEDGES
Divide the dough in two and roll each half out to a nine-inch circle. The dough is soft, supple and easy to work with. After brushing each half with the melted butter, I use a pizza cutter to cut eight wedges. These make such large rolls; I think I will cut them into 12 wedges next time. Roll each pie shaped wedge up from the wide side to the little point. Then place the rolls point side down on a lined cookie sheet and freeze until firm. I use a permanent marker to label plastic freezer bags with the name, date, and cooking temperature/time before putting the frozen rolls inside.
You can place the rolls on a prepared cookie sheet in the refrigerator the night before baking if desired. I prefer to let the rolls thaw and rise on the counter, because I usually need my refrigerator space. Then I just preheat the oven when the butterhorns have doubled in size and bake them until golden brown. It is great to serve them piping hot from the oven.
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 – 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Sprinkle yeast and sugar in large bowl; pour warm water over top and whisk to combine. Stir in warm milk, shortening, sugar, eggs, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Beat in enough more flour to make a soft dough that starts to leave the side of the bowl when stirred.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for a few minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.
Punch dough down; divide in half. Roll one half into a 9-in. circle; brush with melted butter. Cut the circle into 8 wedges. Roll up each wedge from the wide edge to tip of dough and pinch to seal.
Place rolls, tip-side down, on baking sheets lined with parchment or foil, freeze. When frozen, place in freezer bags and seal. Store in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.
When baking day arrives, place frozen butterhorns 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap; thaw on the counter for 4-5 hours. Alternatively, thaw in the refrigerator overnight then on the counter for about an hour to finish rising. Rolls should double in size. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheets; cool slightly on wire rack. May be served warm or at room temperature. Yield: 16 rolls.
Inspiration recipe from https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/make-ahead-butterhorns/