Dinner Rolls

Thanksgiving is almost here and we all need a good recipe for dinner rolls.  This recipe was a gift from a nice lady named Dee, who also gave me her bread machine.  Her family was PCSing (military lingo for moving), and her husband promised her a brand new Zo as a house-warming gift on the other end.  Her machine was 10 years old at the time, but still worked great.  I ended up using that Zojirushi for 6 more years, until Mark bought me a new one a couple of years ago.  It’s the best bread machine out there if you are in the market for one; kind of expensive, but worth every penny.

This was her Grandmother’s recipe, and works great in a bread machine.  However, lots of people bake bread manually, so I decided to bake this batch manually and show you some of the neat rolls you can make for the holidays.  After you get the hang of it, don’t limit yourself to holiday baking.  This recipe is so versatile and easy that you can use it all year-long.

After the dough has been shaped and has risen (but before baking), you can brush it with beaten egg whites and sprinkle on herbs, sesame seeds, nuts, garlic, etc.  If you decide to bake a loaf instead of rolls, you can flavor it by rolling various herbs or seasonings inside, as well as sprinkling them on top.  It makes a great base for sweet breads, too.  I’ve made this dough into cinnamon-raisin bread, cinnamon-swirl bread and even cinnamon rolls.

If you decide to serve this bread for Thanksgiving, bake it ahead of time so that you don’t have to fuss with it on the big day.  I either bake it the day before, and leave it in a large Rubbermaid container out on the counter, or bake it a week ahead of time and freeze it.

Be sure and check your ingredients if it has been a while since you last baked.  My yeast was old and the first batch did not raise well, the dough was heavy and tough, sort of like little hockey pucks.  To check your yeast, place 1 teaspoon yeast in a cup of warm water.  Add 1 Tablespoon sugar and wait 10 minutes.  If your science project has a lot of foam, the yeast is good, if not…pitch it and start fresh.  I should have checked my yeast first, I ended up having to throw the batch of dough out.

You’ll also notice that this recipe uses all-purpose flour, not bread flour.  I’ve used both, I’ve even used white whole wheat flour.  When using the all-purpose flour only, you’ll notice that the rolls are very light and springy.  The dough becomes heavier with the addition of bread flour or wheat flour.  If you’ve never used the other flours before, I suggest that you start by replacing 1 cup of the all-purpose flour with either bread flour or white whole wheat.  You can actually replace the entire 3 1/2 cups with bread flour, but I wouldn’t substitute more than 1 cup of the whole wheat flour or else the dough will become too dense and heavy.  Enjoy!


1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk or water (I prefer milk, it makes for a richer tasting bread, but water works fine)

1 beaten egg

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon yeast


1. Mix together sugar, salt, yeast, and 2/3 of the flour.

2. In a small saucepan, heat the milk (or water) and the butter, until warm.  Test it on the inside of your wrist, it should be very warm, but not scalding.

3. Pour the warm liquids into the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Using a mixer or wooden spoon, stir and mix the ingredients until you can no longer move the spoon through the dough (about 2-3 minutes).

4. Pour the last 1/3 of the flour on a hard surface and knead it in to the dough.  You will probably have to knead it for about 4 or 5 minutes.  Once the dough has absorbed the flour, place it in a large bowl that has been sprayed with Pam.  Place a piece of plastic wrap (that has also been sprayed with Pam) over the bowl, and a clean kitchen towel over the plastic.  Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free spot and allow to sit for 45-60 minutes, or until it is doubled in size (I sometimes sit in on the stove and turn the oven to 300°F. so that the heating vent hits the bowl).

5. Punch down the dough, and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Shape the dough as desired (some ideas follow), and place a clean kitchen towel over the shaped dough.  Let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.

6. After the dough has risen, either:

A. bake it as is and then brush it with melted butter once you remove it from the oven (restrain yourself from gobbling down the hot, buttered bread)

B. brush it with beaten egg whites before you bake it and sprinkle on seasonings, herbs, nuts, garlic, etc.,

C. brush it with milk and sift a thin layer of flour on the tops.

7. Bake rolls for about 18-20 minutes, remove from oven, then remove from pan and place on a rack to cool (if you let them cool in the pan, they will become soggy).

Clover-leaf rolls

Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Divide 1 portion of dough into three equal-sized pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and place into a greased muffin cup.  Allow dough to rise until doubled in size.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes at 350°F.

Big Dinner Rolls

Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion of dough into a big ball, being careful to smooth the edges and bury them inside the ball of dough.  Place each piece of dough into a greased muffin cup.  At this point you can leave them as is, or for added flair, you can cut a cross into the rolls with a pair of scissors.  Allow dough to rise until doubled in size.  Bake at 350°F. for about 18-20 minutes.

Boston Brown Bread & Berries


1- 16 oz. can B&M Brown Bread

1-8oz. package cream cheese, softened

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons milk, or heavy cream

8 nice strawberries


1. Remove the bread from the can and slice it into 8 evenly cut pieces.

2. Place the cream cheese, sugar, and milk in a bowl.  Beat the mixture until it is smooth, adding more milk  if  necessary.  Spread cream cheese mixture on each slice of brown bread.

3. Slice each strawberry about 4 to 5 times, leaving the berry connected at the top and leaving the green top intact.  Fan out the strawberry and place it gently on top of the cream cheese layer.

Pumpkin Bread


Recipe adapted from Pumpkin Bread by Betty Crocker

published by Golden Press, New York, N.Y.

There’s nothing like pumpkin bread for brunch or snack time to remind you of how wonderful autumn is.  This recipe comes from the Betty Crocker cook book that I bought when Mark and I first got married, 30 years ago.  Usually I make a double batch and bake half into muffins and the other half into loaves for the freezer.  Be forewarned if you intend on making a double batch; this is a lot of batter.  The bowl of my Viking stand mixer holds 7 quarts and a double batch of this recipe fills the mixer bowl 3/4 of the way full.

Five years ago Mark’s Mom and Dad came to visit and the guys built our deck.  I knew Pepere meant business when he brought his very own jack hammer.  Talk about messy, our house was a construction zone for about 5 days.  However, the deck is a solid thing of beauty, and I’m so grateful to Pep for putting all his effort into its design and construction.  He added a lot of custom features into the design and I appreciate that very much.  He was in his glory leading a crew of men on a project, even though the crew only consisted of Mark and Bobby.  Plus, it was a great guy-bonding thing for all of them.  Mem and I were told to stay out of the way, and so we went shopping.  Hard to believe that it’s been five years.  Enjoy!


2/3 cup shortening

2  2/3 cup sugar

4 eggs

1-16 oz. can pumpkin

2/3 cup water

3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon (I always use more)

1 teaspoon ground cloves (I always use more of this, too)

2/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts, optional



1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, or if using muffin pans, grease bottom of each cup or use paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, mix the shortening and sugar.  Add the eggs, pumpkin and water.


3. Blend in the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves.  Stir in the nuts, if using.

4. Pour batter into pans.  If making muffins, fill the cups a little more than half full ( I use a large scoop that holds 3 Tablespoons).


5. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes.  If baking the bread in a loaf pan, bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool slightly and remove from pans.  Store in refrigerator.



Building our deck


The guys are hard at work!


The crew at the end of a long day


It’s all done but the staining… great job guys!

Herbed Green Onion and Cheese Bread


Now that cooler weather is right around the corner, we need a good bread recipe to accompany our simmering soup pots.  I jotted this recipe down a long time ago and do not know of its’ origin, however, it is delicious.  Enjoy!


2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

2 Tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup milk

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1 egg, beaten

3 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons yeast



1. Saute green onions and herbs in the 2 Tablespoons butter until the onions are soft and the herbs are fragrant; cool.

2. Place ingredients in bucket of bread machine in the order listed.  Use the dough setting.

3. When bread machine cycle is done, remove dough from bread machine bucket and shape into a loaf or rolls.  Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise in a warm area for about 30 minutes, or until dough is doubled in size.

4. Bake in a preheated 350°F. oven for about 18-20 minutes for rolls, about 30-40 minutes for loaves.


Quick Cinnamon Buns


Recipe adapted from Quick Cinnamon Buns with Buttermilk Icing by America’s Test Kitchen Television Show, 10th Anniversary Best Recipes

Founder and Editor- Christopher Kimball

This recipe intrigued me; the idea of making cinnamon rolls without yeast and in about one-quarter of the time of a traditional cinnamon roll was something that I wanted to investigate.  The dough is quickly mixed all in one bowl and it is patted out rather than rolled out.  The recipe is a sort of cream biscuit (according to the book), “with buttermilk used in place of the cream, baking soda balancing the acidity of the buttermilk and melted butter added to restore some of the richness lost by not using cream in the first place”.

The writers and testers of this recipe compared it to a homemade cinnamon roll and claimed that these were just as tasty as their yeasty cousin.  So I set out to see if it was true.   First of all, I love how fast and easy it was to put together, it takes about 10-15 minutes to mix, pat and roll.  The baking takes about 22 minutes, followed by about a 5 minute cooling and glazing session.  All in all, it takes about 35-45 minutes for the entire procedure, whereas making yeast bread cinnamon rolls takes hours from start to finish.

Then came the taste test.  I felt that the amount of sugar used to sprinkle on the dough was quite excessive.  Next time I make these, I will probably cut back about 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and a few tablespoons of the granulated sugar.  The glaze is quite sweet (and there is a lot of it, I had some left over) and will more than make up for the deleted sugar.

The buns hold together well, the dough bakes up nice and plump and is tender and moist.  However, this is a biscuit dough and like most biscuits, these rolls must be consumed almost immediately (not usually a problem here) because biscuit dough does not keep well.  I have to say that they were pretty damn good.  The yeasty flavor is lacking, but after a bite or two you will completely forget about that.  Enjoy!

Filling Ingredients

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon butter, melted (see note below)

Dough Ingredients

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the work surface

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk  (since I rarely have buttermilk in the house I substituted with vinegar, you can substitute for the buttermilk with 1 Tablespoon and 1/8 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice and enough milk to equal 1 1/4 cup)

6 Tablespoons butter, melted (see note below)

Icing Ingredients

2 Tablespoons cream cheese, softened

2 Tablespoons buttermilk (I used 2 % milk)

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

**note** Melted butter is used in the dough, filling, and to grease the pan.  The total amount is 8 Tablespoons (1 stick), melt it ahead of time and measure it out as you need it.



1. Move oven rack to the upper middle position in your oven, then preheat the oven to 425° F.

2. Pour 1 Tablespoon melted butter into a 9 inch cake pan and brush to coat the pan.


3. For the filling; Combine the sugars, spices and salt.  Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles wet sand.


4. For the dough; Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  Whisk the buttermilk and 2 Tablespoons of the melted butter together in a measuring cup ( if you use the vinegar to make your buttermilk, you will notice that the butter clumps up once you add it to the measuring cup-it still works and tastes fine).

5. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir until the liquid is absorbed.  The dough will be rough and ragged looking.


6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead just until smooth.  Do not overknead because it will make the dough tough.  I pushed and folded my dough only about 5 or 6 times.




7. Pat the dough with your hands into a 9 inch by 12 inch rectangle.  Brush the dough with 2 Tablespoons of the melted butter.  Sprinkle with the filling, leaving a 1/2 inch wide border of plain dough around the edges.  Press the filling firmly into the dough.

8.  Starting at a long side, roll the dough, pressing lightly to form a tight log.  Pinch the seam to seal.  Place seam on bottom and slice the log into 8 pieces.


9. With your hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal the open edges and to keep the filling in place.  Place 1 roll in the center of the pan and the remaining 7 rolls around it.  Brush the last 2 Tablespoons of butter on the rolls.


10. Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 22-25 minutes.  Using a small off-set spatula, transfer the buns from the cake pan to the serving platter.  Cool for 5 minutes.


11. For the Icing; While the buns are cooling, whisk the cream cheese, vanilla and milk together until thick and smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and whisk until a smooth glaze forms.  Spoon the glaze over the rolls and serve.

Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup


Pancake recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

published by Golden Press, NY

Blueberry syrup recipe courtesy of Forest Manor Inn, Bed and Breakfast

When the price of blueberries dropped and Danielle invited friends over to spend the night, I knew it was the perfect time to break out an old classic…blueberry pancakes.  I made these using my favorite pancake recipe, which is also featured on here in Granola Pancakes with Bananas.  Enjoy!


Blueberry Pancake Ingredients

1 egg

1 cup flour

3/4 cup milk

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt




Blueberry Pancake Directions

1. Beat egg until fluffy.

2. Beat in remaining ingredients just until smooth.


3. Pour batter on hot griddle (350-375°F.), immediately drop blueberries on batter…be generous.  Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, flip and cook for about 1 minute more.


4. Serve hot with warm blueberry syrup (recipe to follow) and additional berries.



Blueberry Syrup Ingredients

2 cups (1 pint) blueberries (fresh or frozen)

1 cup pure maple syrup ( I used what we had here, which was Mrs. Butterworth’s, it was fine)

2 Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Blueberry Syrup Directions


1. In  a saucepan, cook berries and maple syrup over moderate heat until berries have burst and released their juices, about 3 minutes ( it took mine about 5 minutes).


2. Pour syrup through a sieve into a heat-proof pitcher, pressing the solids.

3. Stir in lemon juice.  Serve warm over pancakes or waffles.  Refrigerate leftovers and heat before re-using.

Granola Pancakes with Bananas


recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

published by Golden Press, New York

This is another recipe that was inspired by our anniversary trip to Florida.  Our hotel served breakfast and every morning I ordered granola pancakes with bananas.  The pancakes were soft and fluffy, the granola was chewy, the bananas were sweet, and one morning they even put a scoop of peanut butter on top.

The granola I used is a store brand (read generic) cereal.  I bought the plainest one, without raisins.  The pancake batter is from the recipe I’ve used since Mark and I got married.  These are the only pancakes my kids know, they have eaten them their whole lives (and sometimes with chocolate chips in them).  I’ve had granola pancakes before and the bananas were in the batter.  At the hotel, the pancakes were served with sliced bananas on top of each pancake.  I think I like it that way better.

I had a few more vacation photos that I wanted to share with you.  The grounds of our hotel were beautiful, tropical and had a marina on one side.  Our first night at the hotel, we were eating dinner in the restaurant, looking across the marina.  We watched as a guy walked downstairs from his apartment, and dropped a fishing line into the marina which was about ten feet from his staircase.  About three minutes later he pulled up a fish and his wife/girlfriend came downstairs and brought the fish back to their apartment.  He continued to fish and about five minutes later he caught another one and went home with it.  The whole thing seemed unreal.  Enjoy!



1 egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

2 Tablespoons oil

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granola cereal

fruit, butter, syrup, peanut butter, etc.


1. Beat egg with whisk until fluffy, beat in all but the granola until smooth (for thinner pancakes, add in additional milk now).  Toss in granola and mix well.


2. Heat the griddle.  Drop batter onto the hot griddle with a large spoon, ladle, or pitcher.  Cook until puffed and dry around the edges.  Turn pancakes and cook other side until golden brown.

3. Serve pancakes hot, stacked with sliced bananas (or other fruit of choice), and drizzled with syrup.


St. Petersburg, Florida


hotel grounds


hotel marina


St. Petersburg Beach