I’m always looking for the ‘ideal’, the most perfect (in my opinion) recipes. Ideal pie crust, perfect chocolate cake, gorgeous dinner rolls. And I found them. The dinner rolls. I’ve been looking for these for ages! I can’t tell you how many recipes I’ve tried. And they were always disappointing. I wanted a soft, fragrant dinner roll. The kind you might get in a restaurant’s bread basket. Then I tried these from a Diane Mott Davidson novel. And I fell in love. These are absolutely gorgeous! I was a little concerned about the fruit zests, juice and extract – the original recipe included spreading marmalade on the rolls before baking them, not my thing – but they are just perfect! The citrus is in the background, just adding a nice flavor. I’ve baked these probably a dozen times in the last month or so and everyone who has had them has just raved. These are the rolls you want to serve for Thanksgiving, I promise. You can make them in advance and just reheat them while the turkey is resting! They reheat just beautifully! Which is really saying a lot, because I’m not one for leftover baked goods. Once they’ve lost that lovely, warm flush from the oven, I’m usually willing to skip them. But these are, like I said, perfect. And easy. The recipe looks long, but I promise that it’s NOT difficult!
A little note about extracts: I’ve been using an almond extract from Flavorganics for several years now. Not because I was trying to do the organic thing necessarily, but because I think the flavor is more pure. It does cost a couple of dollars more than the usual brands of extracts. In my opinion, it is WELL worth the money! I recently realized that Flavorganics has more than just almond extract, one of those things you know but just don’t think about, you know? Anyway, I switched to their orange extract and it is wonderful! I made several recipes with it that I’ve made in the past and the orange flavor really comes shining through. It’s less sweet, syrupy, candy-like tasting than the big name brands, more of a true flavor. Anyway, I was really pleased with it and thought you might like it too. I found mine in a local health food store, but I have seen Flavorganics extracts and other organic brands for sale in grocery stores. Something to keep an eye out for!
Citrusy Dinner Rolls
adapted from Diane Mott Davidson’s Double Shot
Start this recipe at least 3 1/2 hours before you want to serve the rolls!
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 cup honey
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 egg yolks and 3 egg whites, separated (the yolks go in the dough and you keep the egg whites for an egg wash)
1/2 cup milk, warmed to 110 degrees
6 cups flour
In a bowl, stir together the sugar, water and yeast. Let proof for 10 minutes.
In the bowl of your mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, 5 minutes.
Blend in the honey and beat until combined.
Add the zests, extract, salt and juice and beat well. Mixture will look curdled.
Add the eggs and egg yolks , one at a time, and beat in thoroughly.
Add the yeast mixture and milk and beat on low speed until combined.
Add 3 cups of the flour and mix well.
Switch to the dough hook and continue adding flour, a cup at at time, until the dough comes together. (You may use a little less than the whole 6 cups)
Knead on medium speed for about 10 minutes. The dough should be pliable, slightly sticky and come clean from the sides of the bowl.
Add a little more flour if your dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl or pooling in the bottom.
Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel and set in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk – 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a board and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Spray two 12 cup muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside.
Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. Round each piece by curling the loose ends under and pinching together. Think about how you might wrap a cotton ball into a tissue, smooth on top and all the ends pinched together underneath. Using a circular motion, press the bottom of the roll on your countertop and rotate the ball while exerting slight pressure. This will help smooth the bottom of the roll and keep it’s nice shape. Place the roll into the muffin tin and proceed with the rest.
Cover with a dish towel and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk the egg whites until frothy. Using a pastry brush, paint the egg whites onto the top of each roll.
Bake the rolls until golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Pop the rolls out of the pans and let cool a bit before serving. Enjoy!
To reheat: place the rolls on a baking tray and slide it into a COLD oven. Turn the oven on to 350. When the oven has preheated the rolls should be perfectly warmed! Neat trick, huh!?