Saturday, December 16, 2017

No Knead, Easy and Delicious Overnight Refrigerator Rolls

Overnight Refrigerator Rolls

Do you want hot rolls for a special meal but don't have the time to measure and wait and roll?  I have an easy solution for you:  overnight refrigerator rolls.  Mix, let rise in the refrigerator, and the dough is good for up to four days (I find a maximum of three days is best for the best rise).  Take your dough out about 90 minutes before you are planning to serve, roll quickly into little balls and let rise and bake.  Easy peasy lemon squeezey.  I kid you not.

Some good years back, too many to recount, I received a solicitation from a recipe club or a book company or some such organization to receive laminated recipe cards in the mail every month, along with a handsome box and separator cards identifying each section.  Along with this amazing offer I also received some sample recipe cards with drool-worthy photos of the recipe.  And among those, was this recipe for overnight refrigerator rolls.

I never did sign up for the recipe cards (I was skeptical that these were the best of the lot--kind of like a movie trailer where they show you the best two minutes of the movie and the rest of the movie is a yawner).  Anyway, never mind all that.  What's important is that I tried the recipe and I've made it numerous times through the years.  Numerous.  Almost every holiday.  Almost every family gathering.  I've made this a lot of times.

They are fluffy and warm and golden brown goodness.  And they can be timed to pop into your oven when you take out your roast or casserole (if you happen to be making one) if the oven temperature is different, to let the other food rest while these are baking and then bringing everything to the table all hot and perfect at the same time.  Now that's a feat!

Overnight Refrigerator Rolls
(makes 2 dozen rolls)

1 cup of warm water (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit)
2 packages active dry yeast (not instant yeast) (4 1/2 teaspoons if going by volume)
1/2 cup butter melted
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 4 4/1 cups all-purpose flour (may need more less depending upon humidity)
additional butter for brushing on top of finished rolls - optional

In a large bowl, combine the warm water and yeast, proofing the yeast for about five minutes until it's foamy.  If it doesn't become foamy, you need to start over; the yeast isn't any good or your water was too hot.

Stir in butter, sugar, eggs, and salt.

Beat in the flour, one cup at a time, until the batter is too stiff to mix, but it will still be kind of goopy, if you know what I mean.

Cover and refrigerate anywhere from 2 hours, up to 4 days.

Grease a 13"x9" baking pan.

Turn the chilled dough out onto a slightly floured surface.  Divide the dough into 24 equal-sized pieces.  Roll each into a smooth ball.  Place balls in even rows in the pan.  Cover and let rise in a warm place, until double in bulk, about one hour.  (Allow consideration for the temperature of your room, may take more or less time.)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place rolls in oven and bake until they are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Brush with melted butter if desired.  Break apart rolls to serve.

COOK'S NOTES:   A couple of thoughts on this recipe.  This dough will RISE in the refrigerator, and if you used a bowl that's too small, it will overtake your shelf.  No kidding.  I have a huge Jadeite mixing bowl I use and it's just about right.  It may need to be punched down to keep it in control, grins.

You don't have to bake all two dozen at the same time.  Only want or need 8 rolls, then that's all you need to bake.  Just use a pan small enough to accommodate them and bake fresh rolls daily.  Muffin tins work great, one ball in each muffin cavity and you're good, or if you're feeling fancy, you can make cloverleaf rolls.

And a caveat:  The original recipe as I've posted it, says to bake in a 9"x13" pan.  Well, I've tried that on a couple of occasions, and for the life of me I cannot get the middle row of buns to thoroughly bake without the outside row of buns being overdone.  What I've found to be a much better solution is to do what my grandmother did and that was to use a cake pan, 8 or 10 in a cake pan.  I baked 8 in a pan this last time, and I probably should've gone smaller and made 9 or 10.  There's no wrong in any of this, just preference.

And a bonus:  A friend asked if I cinnamon rolls could be made out of this.  Well, I hadn't thought of that.  I had the other half of the dough left over from this batch, and I thought, why not.  Next morning, I rolled out the dough, spread butter on it, sprinkled generously with sugar and cinnamon, rolled dough into a cylinder, cut into 8 gorgeous slices, let rise, baked, and voila!  Cinnamon rolls. A little glaze and we were enjoying nice hot cinnamon rolls for breakfast.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Oh, boy, this is sweet, sweet, sweet but good, good, good.  If you want something a little extra special to go with your morning coffee, this is a good choice. This looks like a lot of work, but really with an electric mixer and a couple of quick washes in between, it goes pretty quickly. And I'll think you'll note several of the ingredients are used are used in each layer, so the ingredient list really isn't as long as it might appear.  Simple pantry items combine to make a company and holiday worthy treat.


Grease and flour a 9"x 13" baking pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the cake:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt  (I use salted butter so added only a pinch of salt)

Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs and beat well.
Add remaining dry ingredients gradually to wet mixture and mix well.
Batter is thick and heavy, almost like a sugar-cookie dough consistency.
Spread a little more than half the batter into a 9"x13" baking pan and reserve remaining batter to the side.

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients and spread upon the bottom crust.
Spoon reserved batter over filling, just dropping it over the filling.

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 stick butter

Combine sugar and flour and cut in butter until crumbly, either using two knives in a scissor motion, a pastry blender, or rubbing between the fingers of your impeccably clean hands.  Scatter the topping over the coffee cake.

Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick tests done.

When slightly cooled, top with a little simple glaze.

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons milk or water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combined all ingredients and stir until smooth.

COOK'S NOTES: The batter for the bottom crust is pretty thick and doesn't like to spread with a knife or spatula. I spooned several gobs of batter evenly about the bottom of the pan and then used my fingers to spread it evenly to form a bottom crust.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Amish Ham Salad with Boiled Egg

Amish Ham Salad
Now here was something was a little different for us, and only because of the addition of one simple  ingredient:  boiled eggs.  Did you ever hear of such a thing?  I hadn't and of course couldn't resist trying it at the first opportunity.  And of course I'm thinking way ahead to Easter when there's an abundance of both ham and boiled eggs, grins.  And in between, what a great way to extend a recipe.  Frugal and delicious.

'Tis good!


3 cups cooked ham, diced
2-6 hard boiled eggs (depending on how much you like eggs)
1/2 cup celery, peeled and finely diced
5 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 cup pickle relish
2 tablespoons prepared mustard

In a large bowl, combine the ham, eggs and diced celery.

Blend the mayonnaise, relish and mustard and add to the ham mixture.  Blend well.  Taste for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Refrigerate for two or three hours to allow the flavors to meld.

COOK'S NOTE:  This is always how I've made my ham salad, sans the boiled eggs, which good.  The original recipe doesn't state what kind of pickle relish to use, and I've always just used sweet hot dog relish, nothing fancy, and I use the simple yellow mustard, again nothing fancy.  I use my food processor to dice the ham.  Fast and easy.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Welsh Potato Cake

Welsh Potato Cake
I'm pretty sure I never met a potato I didn't like.  When Sweetie-Pie and I go out to eat, he'll ask me what kind of potato should he order because I'm the one who's going to be eating it.  We're like Jack Spratt and his wife like that.  I take two bites of my meat, give him the rest, and he's scraping his potatoes onto my plate.  We work as a team like that.

I'm very content with the basic mashed or baked (and can we talked about fried?) potato.  No matter how you slice 'em, I love 'em. Yeah, it takes a little time to slice them and arrange them in the pan, but the little extra effort created a lot of wow.  Crispy, buttery potatoes on the outside, and melty, fluffy, buttery, onion-y potato on the inside.  Sometimes the simplest ingredients, beautifully presented, can garner the greatest wows, and this humble potato recipe is one of them.  No fancy ingredients and no advanced culinary skills needed here.

But you will need an eight-inch springform pan and either a mandolin or patience and a sharp knife to thinly slice the potatoes.


2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and sliced
8 ounces finely chopped onion
3 ounces melted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slice your potatoes into thin discs (as if cutting for thick potato chips). Put the slices in a dish of ice water while you finish slicing the potatoes and then rinse and dry when ready to use.

Line the bottom of the springform pan in a layer of tight overlapping concentric circles (as you will want this and all potato layers to be snug so that when you slice into it the layers and slices will stay together).  

Sprinkle a bit of diced onion over the potatoes, a bit of butter and salt and pepper.

Repeat layers.

Bake for an 1 to 1-1/4 hours or until easily pierced with a knife.  

The thicker your potatoes slices, the longer it will take to cook.

COOK'S NOTE:  I've seen other recipes where a bit of grated cheese is added between the layers or a tiny touch of rosemary.