These warm, soft, pillowy, sweet little bundles of happiness will be on your dinner table in 45 minutes. No lie. I made them twice this week and everyone in our house loved them. Ben had 3 with dinner last night, and I had 2…and one a little later in the evening with some butter and honey. Heaven. No longer will I be buying rolls in the bakery or pulling a frozen bag of Sister Shubert’s out. I still love you, Sister Shubert. Your sausage rolls are amazing. I’ll still be eating those.
I had a sudden urge to make dinner rolls earlier this week at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. My kids eat dinner at 5, so I knew I needed to find something fast. I googled “fast dinner rolls” and found this recipe from Your Homebased Mom. I made them as written the first time and loved them. But as I poured the sugar into the bowl I thought, “Maybe you could use honey in these…” and so that is what I did the next time. I also brushed the rolls before and after baking with melted butter. I loved them more.
These are delicious right after they’re baked, but reheat wonderfully. So they would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving table that you could easily make the morning of or even the night before. So go make a batch. You’ll thank me.
Honey Dinner Rolls
From Your Homebased Mom
1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup oil
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400°F and grease a 9×13 pan.
Combine water, yeast, honey and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir a couple times then let rest for 10 minutes to bloom.
With a dough hook mix in the flour, salt, baking powder and egg. Continue to mix for 2-3 minutes until dough comes together. If it seems especially sticky add a tablespoon or two of flour.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 12 equal sized pieces. Shape into balls that are smooth on top (in doesn’t matter what the bottoms look like) and place in prepared pan.
Cover with a clean dish cloth and let rise for 15 minutes.
Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter (about half of what you have) and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Brush with remaining melted butter and let cool slightly before serving.
Granola is one of those foods I often see on lists with titles like, “Foods you Thought Were Good for You!” And I guess it’s true that many store bought granolas are full of sugar and other not-too-healthy ingredients. But if you make your own, then you have control over what goes into it. I’m not saying this is perfect health food or that it is “good for you”. But I do know that it is delicious.
This is my favorite granola. I brought a bag of it to Christmas with my family this year and everyone loved it. I’m pretty sure it was gone in just a couple of days. You can change the nuts and fruits in this to personalize it to your taste. If you like chocolate in yours, I’d suggest dark or semi sweet chips. My favorite combination is pecans, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, cherries and blueberries.
I like to eat this granola on top of some plain yogurt. Or I’ll mix a couple spoonfuls of it in with my Kashi cereal to make things a little more interesting.
This recipe came from a Bon Appetit magazine, probably 5 or 6 years ago. Since I started making it I’ve changed some things, but one thing I haven’t changed is the special instruction to store it in the freezer. By doing this the moisture from the fruit doesn’t soften the granola. I’ve never not done this. When I’m bringing the granola somewhere I keep the granola and the fruit separate until I find a freezer. If you’re brave enough to try storing it at room temp, let me know how it goes. Enjoy!
My Favorite Granola
Adapted from Bon Appetit
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans
1/2 cup roughly chopped almonds
1/2 cup green pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried blueberries
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Stir together oats, coconut, oil, sugar, honey, cinnamon, salt and nuts in a large bowl.
Spread mixture evenly on a large rimmed baking pan. Bake, stirring occasionally, until golden, between 25 and 30 minutes. Watch carefully after 20 minutes. You do not want it to get too dark.
Remove the granola from the oven and set the pan on a rack to cool, the granola will be soft. It will harden up as it cools.
After it is cool, stir in the fruit. Store in a sealed container in the freezer.
When I go to bake a batch of cookies, I often find myself adding in other sweet things. Instead of a basic chocolate chip cookie I make oatmeal, coconut, pecan, chocolate chip cookies. Instead of simple shortbread I make these tasty treats. But this time I decided to keep it truly simple. Peanut butter cookies. Just peanut butter. Well, peanut butter cookies with a touch of honey. I couldn’t help myself.
This recipe for Classic Peanut Butter Cookies is from the King Arthur Flour blog, Bakers Banter. The cookie dough comes out dry and crumbly. The recipe suggests adding the slightest bit of water at the end to make it more cohesive. I added about a tablespoon of honey instead, which probably makes these cookies a little chewier than they would be otherwise. The texture in the final product was really nice. Crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy inside.
In hindsight, I am really glad I didn’t add chocolate chips or crushed pretzels to the dough. It just isn’t up to the challenge of holding on to much more than itself. I did try to stuff a few of these with a sweetened cream cheese (it worked wonders in these cookies) but it wasn’t very successful. The crumbly dough didn’t hold together, and of the ones I did manage to form and bake, I wasn’t sure it was even worth the extra effort (or the extra calories). So, stick to the basics here. There’s a time and place for excess, and it is not here.
Butter is typically my fat of choice in cookies, but I did follow the recipe here and used shortening. A note on the site says that you can substitute 1/2 cup of softened butter for the shortening, and that will produce a softer cookie. The recipe does not call for rolling the cookies in sugar before baking, but I did it because I like the exterior to have that nice sugary coating that leaves a touch of crunchy, sweet sugar on your fingers.
Honey Kissed Peanut Butter Cookies
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup supermarket-style smooth peanut butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
extra granulated sugar for rolling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
Beat together the shortening, sugars, egg, vanilla, and peanut butter until smooth.
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the peanut-butter mixture, beating gently until everything is well combined. It may take awhile for this rather dry dough to come together; and when it does, it’ll be quite stiff. Drizzle in the honey and mix to combine.
Drop the cookie dough by tablepoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here), leaving 2″ between them.
If desired, roll into balls and then in granulated sugar and return to the baking sheet.
Use a fork to flatten each cookie to about 1/2″ thick, making a cross-hatch design.
Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, until they’re barely beginning to brown around the edges; the tops won’t have browned. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.
Happy National Pistachio Day! Ok, so I missed it by about 11 days but better late than never. In belated honor of this wonderful holiday I made this baklava Sunday night to accompany a Greek meal I made with my mother and sister-in-law who came to visit along with Ben’s Grandma Betty. Having company is wonderful, and having lovely company is even better.
Baklava is an impressive looking dessert. It’s crisp sweet layers of dough encasing crunchy, salty nuts all enrobed in a honey syrup is simply irresistible. The best part is that baklava is not as hard as it seems. The phyllo dough isn’t hard to work with as long as you keep it covered with a moist towel in between removing sheets for layering.
You can use any combination of nuts in the baklava. Pistachios seem to be traditional, but I have seen recipes that use all kinds of nuts. I like the combination of pistachios and almonds here. The amount of butter you use may seem like a lot, but you need it to get all the layers to stick together properly. Give in. Use the butter, and love the butter. You know you want to.
Pistachio and Almond Baklava
Adapted from allrecipes.com
1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
8 ounces chopped roasted almonds
6 ounces chopped roasted pistachios
1 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.
Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon and cardamom. Set aside.
Unroll phyllo dough. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work.
Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of nut mixture on top.
Top with two sheets of dough, brush with butter, then layer with nuts after you have 6 layers of phyllo. The top layer should be about 6 – 8 sheets deep.
Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan.
Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp.
Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool.