Category Archives: Holiday

Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Fluffy Dinner RollsUntil recently, I’ve eaten (baked) frozen dinner rolls at every holiday dinner of my life and had exactly zero idea that I was missing anything. Warm bread is warm bread, right?

WRONG. So wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrongwrongwrong.Fluffy Dinner RollsI mean, I’m sure I will eat a (baked) frozen dinner roll in the future because warm bread, but now I know the magic and ease of buttery, homemade Fluffy Dinner Rolls and I can never fully go back. In the story of my life, time will be defined as “Before Fluffy Dinner Rolls” and “After Fluffy Dinner Rolls.” Fluffy Dinner RollsOkay, maybe not. But I am changed, and I have a sneaking suspicion that some of you are in the same boat I once was—out there living your lives, blissfully unconcerned that your holiday table is missing something or that you have been denied anything—and I am here to mess all that up by giving you an easy six-ingredient dinner roll recipe that will blow your freaking minds with its buttery, golden wonderfulness and ruin freezer aisle rolls for you forever. #sorrynotsorryFluffy Dinner RollsThese Fluffy Dinner Rolls, y’all. They are fluffy. So fluffy. And they are slightly sweet and buttery as all get-out (whatever that means). There’s butter in the dough, and more is brushed on both before and after baking!Fluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsDid I mention their softness? When I was testing this recipe, I spent a lot of time poking the golden tops of these rolls and watching them bounce back, just because I could. So soft! So dang fluffy!Fluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsAs I said, these beautiful dinner rolls require just six ingredients: flour, yeast, sugar, salt, butter and buttermilk. These rolls are egg-free, but lack nothing in the flavor or texture departments.Fluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsThey are super simple to make, too. Don’t let the length of the recipe fool you—I just wanted to ensure that you have all the information you need for Fluffy Dinner Roll success. I’ve included instructions for a stand mixer and mixing by hand, and for using both active dry and instant yeasts. I tried my best to describe how to shape them, but it’s surprisingly difficult to explain with words alone, so here are some pictures of what I did:Fluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsDon’t worry, they don’t have to be shaped perfectly to be delicious. It took me three batches to get a consistent shaping method. Those other four batches? They were for quality control. Or maybe just making up for lost time.Fluffy Dinner Rolls

Fluffy Dinner Rolls
makes 16 rolls

1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast*
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

For brushing:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided

Read the recipe all the way through before beginning. Instructions for using instant yeast and mixing by-hand are in the notes at the end of the recipe.

Heat buttermilk until it’s between 90-110F (warm to the touch, but not so hot that you can’t comfortably hold a finger in it).

Stir together buttermilk and granulated sugar in a liquid measuring cup or small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until it is a bit bubbly or foamy (sometimes a light stir can help this be more visible). If it doesn’t bubble, your yeast is dead. Discard the mixture, get new yeast, and try again.

In the bowl of a stand mixer* fitted with a dough hook, combine 2 cups of flour and salt. Add butter and buttermilk mixture and mix to combine. Mix in remaining 3/4 cup flour. Knead dough in mixer* for 5 minutes or until smooth and slightly sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free environment for 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in bulk.

Meanwhile, butter (or otherwise grease) an 8- or 9-inch square pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Flour a surface. Uncover risen dough and gently punch it down. Place dough on floured surface and pat out into a 1-inch thick disk. Flour a large, sharp chef’s knife and slice the disk into 16 thin wedges.

Shape the rolls. Working with one wedge at a time, roll the point (from the center of the disk, where the long sides meet) toward the short end. Then use your fingers to pull edges or creases underneath, creating a smooth ball-like appearance. Place in pan. Repeat until all rolls have been shaped.

Loosely cover the pan of rolls and place in a warm, draft-free environment for 60 minutes or until they have doubled in size and/or fill the pan.

Meanwhile, place an oven rack in the central or lower position (either will work). Preheat your oven to 400F. Melt the butter for brushing.

Uncover risen rolls. Use a pastry brush to gently brush the tops with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Bake rolls for 20 minutes, or until deep golden on top. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter when you remove them from the oven.

Let rolls cool 10-15 minutes before serving.

Rolls are best the day they are baked, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

Notes:

1. You may use an equal volume of instant yeast. Add it (and the sugar) directly to the dry ingredients, skipping the blooming step. Add warmed buttermilk and butter directly to the dry ingredients and mix as written above in the paragraph beginning “In the bowl of a stand mixer.” The rises may take about 15 minutes longer than with active dry yeast.
2. You may mix this dough in a large mixing bowl with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.
3. You may knead this dough by hand on a floured surface.

Fluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner RollsFluffy Dinner Rolls

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan PieI am all about this Chocolate Pecan Pie right now. I am into it. So into it, in fact, that I thought about it for a year and a half before I actually made it, and then I made it six times. Six times!Chocolate Pecan PieSome recipes take two or three tries. Some I even get on the first go. Both of this week’s took six rounds. What does that say about me? I don’t know, except that there has been A LOT of pie in my apartment lately.

(Not a bad thing.)

(Also, please come over for pie.)Chocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan Pie, y’all. It’s rich and fudgy and studded with toasted pecans—the sort of dessert that haunts my dreams. But the good kind of haunting. The kind where I get to eat pie.Chocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan PieBut I digress. The filling here is somewhere between traditional pecan pie, chocolate pie, and brownies. It’s soft, deeply chocolaty, and dense but somehow not heavy…and that’s to say nothing of the bevy of naturally caramelly pecans strewn throughout. Add to that that it’s all wrapped up in flaky All-Butter Pie Dough and…best pie ever?!Chocolate Pecan PieI cannot overstate how delicious this is, with or without whipped cream and shaved chocolate. It’s a guaranteed Turkey Day slam dunk! I mean, it’s also a slam dunk when you’re hovering over it at 1am on a random Tuesday, evening out edges and eating it with your fingers like a wild animal, but I somehow think your guests will prefer the former.Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie
makes one 9-inch standard pie

2 cups pecan halves, chopped + more for topping
1 unbaked pie crust (I used 1/2 recipe All-Butter Pie Dough)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup light corn syrup (or golden syrup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Egg wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

For serving:
whipped cream
shaved bittersweet chocolate

Place the oven rack in the bottom-third position. Preheat oven to 400F.

Scatter chopped pecans on a dry rimmed baking sheet. Place in the oven and toast 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Do not burn.

On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. Fit in pie plate. Cut excess to 1/2-inch, and crimp as desired. Chill pie crust.

Make the filling. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs, light brown sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until combined. Mix in corn syrup and vanilla.

Combine bittersweet chocolate and butter a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Allow to cool 2-3 minutes just so it’s not screaming hot.

Whisking constantly, add chocolate mixture to egg mixture.

Remove pie plate from the refrigerator and place it on top of a rimmed baking sheet (for ease of removal from the oven). Place chopped pecans in the bottom of the pie crust. Pour chocolate filling over the top. Scatter more pecan halves over the top, if desired.

Make egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Brush mixture over exposed crust.

Bake pie 15 minutes. Turn down the heat to 350F and continue to bake 30-40 minutes, loosely tenting with foil at the 15 minute mark. Pie is done when the center jiggles just slightly when the pan is jostled.

Let pie cool completely on a rack. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream and shaved chocolate, if desired.

Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.Chocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan PieChocolate Pecan Pie

Pear Pastry Braid

Pear Pastry BraidIt’s almost time for pie. Almost.

Yes, I know it’s November now, but I can’t just switch from Popcorn Balls to Pumpkin Pie on a dime. And truthfully, I’ve been concentrating too hard on the World Series and anticipating the new Scorsese film this week to fully get down to business with Thanksgiving. Rest assured though that the pies are coming. Sides, too! But first, this Pear Pastry Braid.Pear Pastry BraidI mean, do you see this beautiful thing? Is it brunch food? Is it dessert? I don’t know. I don’t make the rules. I just make the pastry.Pear Pastry BraidAnd oh, is this a good one. Pear Pastry Braid is super buttery and filled with tender pears that have been tossed with ginger, lemon, and a few tablespoons of sugar. Yum!Pear Pastry BraidDon’t let these glamour shots deceive you–it’s surprisingly easy to make. Simply roll out a sheet of rough puff pastry (or the frozen thawed all-butter stuff), make a bunch of diagonal cuts down both long sides and fill the center with sliced pear filling.Pear Pastry BraidPear Pastry BraidAlternating sides, carefully cover the filling with overlapping strips of dough, producing a braid-like appearance. Give it a brush of egg wash and a sprinkle of sugar, and then let it bake til golden.Pear Pastry BraidSounds like a lot, but the time from when you start peeling pears to when you pull the finished pastry out of the oven is less than an hour. It can be sliced and served warm too, meaning that you don’t have to plan crazy far in advance (especially if you already have the pastry dough in the fridge). There’s so much planning around food this time of year that it’s kind of nice to have something you can make when the mood strikes or when someone says they’re going to pop by.Pear Pastry BraidYou know what else is nice? Eating a slice of sweet, flaky Pear Pastry Braid in your pajamas on a Saturday morning. Or a Saturday night. Or both.

What?! I don’t make the rules. I just make the pastry.Pear Pastry Braid

Pear Pastry Braid
makes 1 braid, about 6 servings

Rough Puff Pastry:*
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
5 ounces unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water or milk, very cold

Pear Filling:
4 medium firm-ripe pears
5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

Make Rough Puff Pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8×10″ rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8×10″ rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours.

Make the pear filling. Peel the pears with a vegetable peeler. Working with one pear at a time, use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim off both ends. Slice down through the stem end to halve the pear lengthwise. Use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice the pear as thinly as you can.

Place sliced pear pieces in a medium mixing bowl. Toss with 4 tablespoons sugar, ground ginger, salt, and lemon juice. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a half-sheet baking pan with parchment paper.

Assemble the pastry braid. Flour a rolling pin. Unfold dough on the prepared pan. Roll dough out to 12×16-inch rectangle. Orient the pan/rectangle so that the side nearest you is a short side.

Carefully dust the edge of a sharp knife with flour. Cut off two small corners of dough on the edge furthest from you. Leaving a 4×16-inch space in the center for the filling, cut 1-inch diagonal strips strips down both sides of the pastry, as pictured in the post.

Fill the pastry braid. Leaving 1/2-inch of space at each short end, mound pear filling along the center (intact) section of dough. Make sure to leave any accumulated liquid behind in the bowl. Dot filling with butter.

“Braid” the dough. Starting at the edge furthest from you, take a strip of dough and carefully lay it across the filling. Then grab a strip of dough from the right side and carefully lay it over the filling so that it is overlapping the first strip. Continue doing this, alternating left and right until you reach the end of the braid. Fold the short edges up slightly to seal.

Make the egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork.

Paint egg wash over all exposed pastry. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake pastry braid for 25-30 minutes, or until pastry is golden and pears are tender.

Let pastry braid cool on its pan on a rack. When you can handle it (I could at 30 minutes, although it was still warm), very carefully slip your hands palm-side-up under the pastry and quickly lift it onto a large cutting board or serving tray. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice it into pieces. Serve immediately.

Pear Pastry Braid is best the day it is made.

Note:

You may use frozen all-butter puff pastry instead. Thaw according to package directions and begin the recipe at the paragraph that begins “Make the pear filling.”Pear Pastry BraidPear Pastry BraidPear Pastry Braid

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}Some foods are easier to photograph than others and…well…baked oatmeal is an “other.” It just is.

It doesn’t matter what I do to it or how good the light is, baked oatmeal is simply difficult to make into a beauty queen. It’s never going to be the belle of the ball. It’s oatmeal, after all. <—hey, that rhymes! Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}That said, what baked oatmeal lacks in aesthetic appeal (dull brown and lumpy 😬😬) it more than makes up in delicious whole grain flavor. This one is especially enticing—it’s made with a hefty scoop of pure pumpkin purée and big hit of pumpkin pie spice for maximum seasonal breakfast magic.Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}It’s also very easy to make. The most difficult (if you can even call it that) step is toasting the oats, and that requires little to no actual brain power. Just scatter the oats onto a pan, put them in the oven, and set a timer. Boom. Done.

The rest of the process is simply adding dry ingredients (oats, pie spice, baking powder, salt) to wet (pumpkin purée, brown sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla, milk). Whisk ‘em together, pour the mixture into a greased pie plate and bake just until the center is set. Then just scoop it into bowls, adorn as desired and serve. Really, it couldn’t be easier.Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}My favorite thing about Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal? It reheats like a dream! This, in addition to being filling and fairly good for you, makes it perfect for weekday breakfasts. Just heat individual portions as needed and enjoy.Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}Of course, it’s also a great low-maintenance-but-still-“special” thing to make on the weekends. And I wouldn’t be disappointed to see it over the holidays.

Versatility, y’all. It’s a beautiful thing.Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
makes about 6 servings

2 cups old-fashioned oats (certified gluten-free for gluten-free)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup pure pumpkin purée
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups milk of choice

For serving:
maple syrup
butter
plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a deep 9-inch pie plate or other casserole dish. Set aside.

Place oats on a dry rimmed baking sheet (or other large pan) and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool a few minutes. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and stir in pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin purée and light brown sugar. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by oil, vanilla, and milk. Mix in oat mixture.

Pour mixture into the prepared pie plate. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until the center is lightly set.

Let oatmeal cool for at least 15 minutes before serving with maple syrup, butter, and/or yogurt. Oatmeal is best warm or at room temperature.

Leftover oatmeal will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It reheats well in the microwave. Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal {Gluten-Free}

Pimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits

Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsRemember those Cornmeal Biscuits I made earlier this year? They’re the perfect solution for when you can’t decide between biscuits and cornbread—the absolute best of both worlds! They’re super-tender too, thanks to the addition of naturally gluten-free cornmeal. If you haven’t checked them out, go do so, and then click back over here to see what happens when biscuits meet cornbread meets pimento cheese!

Hint: it’s this 👇 Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsFor those of you wondering what the heck pimento cheese is, it’s a creamy spread made of shredded cheddar, mayonnaise, sweet pimento peppers, and freshly-cracked black pepper. It’s incredibly popular in the southern U.S.—you’ll see it at every baby shower, cookout and picnic. You can buy the stuff in tubs in the grocery stores down there, but it’s next to impossible to find here, so I make my own and eat copious amounts with celery. You know, for balance 😉Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsHere, I’ve taken the basic ingredients of that southern staple (minus the mayo) and folded them into a batch of cornmeal biscuit dough. The results are cheesy, spicy, sweet-pepper studded magic!Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsThese are the cheese biscuits of my summertime dreams, and soon, yours. And those of your family and friends too, permitting you take a batch to your Fourth of July festivities tomorrow. You can serve them plain or with butter…Pimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits…but maybe crisp up some bacon and grab some tomatoes and arugula because these happen to make the best BLT on the planet.Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsCAN. NOT. BE. BEAT.Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsOh, and these aren’t pictured, but if you dice your leftover biscuits and sauté them in butter and olive oil, you’ll get some insane croutons. I ate these on salads for five days after I took these photos and I still want more.

You should probably go ahead and make a double batch.Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsHappy Fourth of July, y’all! If you’re looking for cookout appropriate beverages, see here and here. For snacks, here and here. And for dessert…here, here, here, here, and here.

Pimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits
makes about 14 biscuits

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
2 4-ounce jars pimentos, well-drained and minced
2/3 cup buttermilk, very cold

For finishing:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For serving:
butter
bacon, lettuce & tomato

Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, black pepper, optional cayenne, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and use a pastry blender (or two forks or very clean fingertips) to break it down until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in cheddar and pimentos, followed by buttermilk. Dough will be soft.

Flour a surface and your fingertips. Turn dough onto the surface and pat until it’s 1/2-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut biscuits. Make sure to cut directly down—do not twist. Place cut biscuits a couple of inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Chill dough/baking sheet if anything becomes too warm/sticky at anytime in this process.

Bake biscuits 12-15 minutes, or until puffy and golden. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter.

Let biscuits cool until you can handle them. Serve with butter, or make yourself a BLT, if desired.

Pimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Pimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal BiscuitsPimento Cheese Cornmeal Biscuits