The best part of this book, other than the fact that all of the recipes turn out perfect every time, other than the fact that Donna is my friend and I love her and her husband Bob as if they were my own family, other than the pretty pictures, other than there are 100 bread recipes in this book is this: She breaks the recipes down so part of what you do is prep one day and then you bake the next day. This is key for me because I see bread recipes and I think wow, this recipe is too overwhelming with the instruction and the time involved, forget it. Yet, here I am having made these amazing rolls. I feel like a super star!
I'd planned to make the braided bread and then I changed my mind and decided to make the aebleskivers. I ordered the pan and I was set! Then the idea of making a savory cinnamon roll popped into my head one day as I was looking through recipes I wanted to make, but had not yet made the time. My friend, Tamela, shared a cheese ball recipe with me and said it was a family favorite, given to her by a long-time family friend named Nettie. Tamela is an incredible cook, so when she tells me something is good, I listen. Of course, Tamela is amazing at everything it seems. I knew her husband races cars as a hobby, but I just learned that Tamela is the pit crew! Yes, exactly what you are thinking a pit crew does - she does it! She's also a lawyer, a collector, and she knits! And cooks! I can't keep up with her! I'm so glad to have her in my life.
One last thing before the recipe. You know what else would be so good in these rolls? Chili con Queso! Yes! The kind with shredded American Cheese and Rotel and a little cream and perhaps a little Corona? Yes! I'm making those next time.
Cheese Ball Rolls
Adapted from Blueberry and Cream Cheese Buns with Lemon Zest from Make Ahead Bread by Donna Currie
For the Dough:
3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for kneading and rolling
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg, slightly beaten, plus water to equal 1 1/2 cups total
For the Filling:
One recipe of a cheese ball of your choice, I used Nettie's Cheese Ball (see below) but a double recipe of this would be another excellent choice.
On Prep Day:
1. Butter a 9" x 13" glass baking dish.
2. Make the cheese ball. Set it aside and keep it at room temperature for easy spreading.
3. Combine all dough ingredients in a mixing bowl and then knead for 10 minutes until dough is elastic. You can use a stand mixer with a dough hook if you like, I didn't.
4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit until the dough has doubled in size, about one hour in a warm room. (Tip: When you begin making this recipe, preheat your oven to 180°F and as soon as it has preheated, shut the oven off and open the oven door. Set the covered bowl of dough in the oven to rise. If your house is already warm - 70 to 80 degrees - this step is unnecessary.)
5. On a clean, dry work surface, spread a little flour and pat the dough into a rectangular shape. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is approximately 12" x 16". With an offset spatula, spread the cheese ball mixture evenly over the dough, leaving about a 1" edge on the long side free of cheese ball mixture.
6. Starting on the opposite long side from where you left the dough free of cheese ball mixture, loosely roll up the dough, jellyroll style. Cut into 1" rolls. You will end up with 12, but if your end rolls are small you might end up with 13. This is fine.
7. Place the rolls in the baking dish 3 across and 4 down. If you have 13 rolls, place the two smallest side by side as if they are one. Cover the pan and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
1. Take the rolls out of the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Bake the rolls for 40-45 minutes. If the rolls seem to be browning too much, tent the pan with aluminum foil for the rest of the baking period.
3. Cook in the pan for 10 minutes and then serve. Can be served as they are, with sausage and eggs, or with butter and fig spread.*
4. These rolls are best the day they are baked. Unlike any other bread I know of though, you can reheat these one at a time for 20-30 seconds in the microwave and the roll's texture does not suffer. Try it and see what you think. We refrigerated these rolls and every day for 3 days had another and another, all of them reheated in the microwave.
Nettie's Cheese Ball
Adapted from Nettie's recipe that my friend Tamela shared with me
2 8-ounce cream cheese, softened
2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup beer
2 - 3 Tablespoons green bell pepper, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 dashes cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons pimentos, minced
2 green onions (both white and green parts), minced
1/2 cup nuts of your choice, finely chopped (optional)
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well-combined. Set aside.
If you are making a cheese ball with this recipe, rather than the Cheese Ball Rolls, mix all ingredients except the nuts together and form a ball. Roll in the nuts. Refrigerate from several hours to overnight before serving.
*I am currently obsessed with this fig spread. All of you have seen it, I know you have. It's in the cheese section of many grocery stores. You can try to substitute fig preserves or fig jam, but it's not even close to the same.
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