A year ago, I was not in a very good place, emotionally. I had a lot of things going on in my life and all I wanted to do was crawl into a deep, dark hole, cry forever, and never see sunlight again.
Fortunately, I had a lot of supportive people in my corner who made me realize it was not the end of the world and that life is a wonderful thing to cherish, and haters gonna hate. One of these people included a friend we’ve known for years, whom we met through World of Warcraft. Ohhh yeah, I’m one of those people ;) Three years ago (two years ago per the story’s timeline), said Warcraft friend came down from Canada to have American Thanksgiving with us. Having him around the house, and another of The Fellow’s™ friends, made me forget just how fun and good my life was. Part of it was because I was surrounded by excellent company; part of it was because I got to cook my ass off and that’s something that makes me incredibly happy and comfortable. Even when I don’t know what I’m doing.
Well, apparently I didn’t know what I was doing last year when I attempted to make cloverleaf rolls. They turned into crappy little bricks of dough. I’m not exactly sure where I went wrong, but they were not good. I might not have proofed my yeast in warm enough water, the yeast may have been bad, or I might have just misread the recipe and therefore, screwed up any chance of it succeeding as foodstuff. At first, I thought they looked nice, but upon breaking into one to test their doneness, I noticed a dampness that shouldn’t have been. I didn’t think much of it and popped it into my mouth. I am not lying when I say I spit it out so fast I didn’t have time to grab it before it hit the floor. It wasn’t that it tasted bad, it just had the nastiest texture and didn’t feel done. I contemplated putting them back in the oven, thinking perhaps they were, in fact, undercooked (underbaked?), but dinner was |this| close to being served and I figured there was enough other dishes to choose from. We didn’t need bread. Something made me still put them on a dish and set them out on the table, though. I don’t know what. Especially because I immediately turned around and told the guys, “The rolls are really gross. I won’t be offended if you don’t eat them.” It was duly noted. They were not touched.
In to the trash they went.
Sometimes, I wish I would have taken a photo of them, to remind myself that I’m not really that retarded when it comes to baking.
What I have this year, though, is definitely a winner. I didn’t have to do very much searching on the internet for a recipe that looked idiot-proof. These definitely were. They’re a perfect combination of moist on the inside, buttery on the outside (with a hint of garlic), and pretty to look at. Come Thanksgiving day, these are going to go great with some gravy and butter drizzled on top (or soaked in, like we do it in this house).
A real test will be what they’re like after being frozen and re-heated, as I didn’t pay attention to the yield on these suckers and I ended up with 12 big rolls and 24 mini rolls, and we need, like, 4 – 6. I’ll report back with my findings!
Buttery Cloverleaf Rolls
source: How Sweet It Is [Buttery Cloverleaf Rolls]
4 1/2 teaspoons (or 2 packets) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1/4 cup honey (or 4 Tablespoons)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large egg
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons salt
5 1/2 – 6 cups all-purpose flour, or more if needed
melted butter for brushing
garlic powder (optional)
1. Combine warm water, yeast, olive oil and 1 Tablespoon honey and mix with a spoon. Let sit until foamy, about 10-15 minutes.
2. Add warm milk, remaining honey (3 Tablespoons), egg and butter, and mix on low speed in a stand mixer with the dough hook until just combined. Add in 2 cups of flour and salt. Mix on low speed, gradually increasing to medium as flour becomes incorporated. Slowly add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time, stopping at 5 cups. Knead the dough on medium speed for 4-5 minutes, then check to see if the dough is sticky. If it is too sticky, add a bit more flour and knead until it becomes smooth, but you want some stick to it.
3. Remove dough from the bowl and form into a ball with your hands, covering with a bit more flour until it is no longer sticking to your hands.
4. Brush a large bowl with melted butter or oil. Add dough to the bowl, turning once or twice to cover in butter or oil. Place a towel over top and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Punch dough down, then transfer to a floured workspace.
5. Tear small pieces of dough off the larger piece, and roll into balls slightly larger than one inch wide, or about 1 ounce each. Brush a muffin tin with melted butter, then add 3 dough balls to each tin.
6. Cover and let rise again, in a warm spot, for about an hour.
7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush the tops of each clover with melted butter (optionally, you can melt the butter with a heavy helping of garlic powder). Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until tops are just golden brown. Remove from oven and brush tops with melted butter again, repeating the brushing another few times as the rolls cool. Remove from the tins and serve.
The muffins are best when eaten on the same day they were baked, however if you’d like to make them the day before, make sure to let them cool completely and store in an air-tight container.
*I will return to let you know if they’re still as good after being frozen and re-heated*