Happy Thanksgiving!

And again, happy . . . week after Thanksgiving!  I never do seem to get around to posting on Thanksgiving itself.  I suppose that isn't a bad thing.  I mean, really, it means that I am busy doing things with the people I love!  It was a busy weekend, and then it's the last week of classes.  Yeah.  Busy times.

I really do have so much to be thankful for!  I'm thankful for my husband, my family, our cozy apartment, grad school (and the opportunities it has afforded me this year, even at the end of the semester!), my friends, all our adventures this year and so much more!

I was especially thankful to spend Thanksgiving with family.  I missed out on S family Thanksgiving this year, but we were able to spend time with them on Friday.

I've decided that Thanksgiving eve day is for baking.  Well, and cleaning.  But the baking is the best part.  Just like two years ago, I didn't have pies to make.  So, rolls it was again!  And I tried for cranberry orange again.  I'm getting closer.

Not to say anything bad about my last try, but they were pretty dense and not exactly what I was looking for.  And also, I was assigned, well, dinner rolls.  Not cranberry orange rolls.  So I made both.

And I managed not to kill the yeast!  Either batch!  It was a good feeling.  Maybe I'm learning.

However, I am still learning.  The day before Thanksgiving happened to be a particularly wet and rainy day here.  And I didn't think about the fact that dough reacts differently under different weather conditions.  Yeah.

However, the good news was that I inadvertently fixed the dinner rolls.  They just seemed way too sticky, so I added almost 1/2 cup more flour than it called for.

Indeed, I am glad I did.

I thought they turned out pretty well!  I'm excited about them.

Also, as an aside, dinner rolls are just an excuse to eat butter.  The recipe even calls for buttering your fingers when you separate the rolls.

I did not, however, add extra flour to the cranberry orange rolls.  They were very, very sticky and kind of came out flat instead of fluffy and rounded.

I think I'm getting there.  Some day, I'll get to the rolls I am going for.

The cranberry orange ones took a long time to rise, but they were worth it.  Just be careful -- the butter and honey mixture burns easily.

Also, these rolls are truly an excuse to eat butter.  Yeah.  Lots of butter.

Everything was so very tasty and great.

 I was so thankful that we got to spend time with these lovely ladies!  With their cracker-supplied crowns!

Dinner Rolls
from girl.Inspired.

1/2 cup 2% or whole milk
1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
4 tbsp. butter, softened
1 egg
3 1/4 cup (or more depending on the weather!) flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. active dry yeast

Mix 1 tsp. of the sugar, yeast and 1/2 cup warm water.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, warm the milk until lukewarm and add the lemon juice.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Stir the yeast mixture into the milk mixture in a large mixer bowl and stir.  Add the egg and butter; mix well.

Add the remaining dry ingredients gradually to the wet ingredients.  Once the dry ingredients are added, knead for 5 minutes using the dough hook on an electric mixer.  The dough should be smooth and elastic.

Grease a large clean bowl with butter.  Form the dough into a ball and put the dough in the greased bowl.  Flip the dough so it is all covered in butter.  Put a damp towel over the bowl and put the bowl in a warm location to rise.  Allow the dough to rise till doubled in size or about an hour.

Punch the dough down.   Grease a 8 1/2 by 11 inch glass dish with butter (or use a glass pie pan and a small baking sheet for the extras that don't fit).

Grease the tips of your fingers with butter and grab a golf ball sized piece of dough.  Form the dough into a small ball by wrapping the dough around the back to the bottom center.  Re-grease your fingers every time.

Place each ball in the pan.  (There should be 12-20 rolls depending on how large you want them.)

When the pan is full, place a dry, clean kitchen towel over the top and return to the warm place to rise for 1 -1 1/2 hours.  They are ready when you can press your finger into the roll and it bounces back again.

As the dough finishes rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Remove the towel and bake for 12-15 minutes.

The rolls are done when the top is golden and the bottoms are just turning a light gold color.

Cranberry Orange Brioche Rolls
from Pastry Affair

2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/3 cup milk, just warm
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup flour

3 cups flour (depending on the weather)
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
3/4 cup butter, softened
zest from 1 orange
1 cup fresh or dried cranberries

1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. butter, melted

Whisk together the yeast and milk in a large mixing bowl.  Mix until the yeast is dissolved.  Add the orange juice, honey and flour.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 30-45 minutes.  The dough should be fluffy and bubbly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour and salt to the sponge mixture using the dough hook.  Add the eggs and mix for 2 more minutes.  The dough should form a ball.

Add the butter, in 2 tbsp. pieces and knead the dough for 5 minutes more.  Knead in the zest and cranberries.

Place the dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit to rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until the volume has doubled.

Punch down the dough, and allow to rise again for 45 minutes to an hour.  The dough should have doubled again.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.  Roll into a ball, then flatten slightly.  Place the balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Place them close together (they will rise better).  Cover with a clean, dry kitchen towel and let rise 15-20 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix the honey and melted butter together.  Coat the rolls with the mixture using a pastry brush.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until rolls are lightly browned.  Be careful, as the honey mixture will burn easily.


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