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Oh Happy Day

January 3, 2011

And we’re off, the first Monday of the new year.  Was it as hard for you to get going this morning as it was for me?  The realization that it’s 147 days until Memorial Day, my next paid holiday from work, was enough to make me want to pull the covers over my head and hide.  The bright side is that the sun is shining; the temperatures are above freezing; it’s only 88 days until the beginning of baseball season and just 76 days until the first day of Spring.  Those are all little bright spots on my calendar. 

I think the bright spot on Mike’s calendar was the taking down of the Christmas tree yesterday and getting the house back in order.  With a nod to the Edwin Hawkins Singers, I could almost hear Mike singing “Oh Happy Day” while vacuuming up the pine needles that had fallen from the tree. 

To add a little bright spot to your day today, I’m going to share a recipe for the easiest dinner rolls ever.  I know it seems like I’ve been on a bit of a bread kick, and I have.  The funny thing is that I’ve never really been a bread person.  I may have said that same thing when I posted the No Knead Bread recipe here.  Mike will tell you the story of the first couple of times I made dinner for him – he looked around the table for bread but, there wasn’t any.  I mean even with spaghetti, the perfect bread meal, I didn’t serve bread.  Mike grew up with a stack of Wonder white bread on the table as a part of every dinner.  I’m starting to see the light.  Last night for dinner I simply had one of these little rolls, left over from Saturday’s dinner, warmed in the microwave for about 15 seconds, then slathered in butter.  Pure and simple.  That’s probably not the dinner I would recommend you indulge in on a regular basis, but man, was it ever good.  It had me singing my own little version of Oh Happy Day.

Dinner Rolls – no knead
adapted from Martha Stewart

2 cups warm water (100 – 110 degrees)
4-1/2 tsp Active Dry Yeast (2 packets @ 1/4 oz each)
1/4 cup sugar
8 tbsp butter, melted – divided
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 tsp salt
6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping dough

Pour warm water into a large bowl, sprinkle with yeast, and let stand until foams, about 5 minutes.

Add sugar, 4 tbsp melted butter, eggs, and salt.  Wisk to combine.  Add 6 cups flour and mix with a wooden spoon to combine.  You may need to get your hands in there to combine the last bit of flour.  The dough will be sticky.  Brush top of dough with 2 tbsp melted butter, cover dough with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Turn dough onto a well floured surface.  With floured hands, roll/pat dough into a thick log about 16 inches long.  Cut into 18 equal pieces (halve log, cut each half in thirds, then cut each piece into thirds again).

Brush 9 x 13 inch baking pan with 1 tbsp melted butter.  One at a time, flatten each piece of dough, then fold edges toward the center, making a smooth ball.  Place dough balls in prepared baking pan, smooth side up.  You’ll have 3 rows of 6.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 400F.  Remove plastic wrap, brush rolls with 1 tbsp melted butter.  Bake until golden, about 35 – 40 minutes.  Tent with aluminum foil if they are browning too quickly.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Pull rolls apart and serve warm.

If you don’t plan to serve these right away, after cooling for 5 minutes, remove the rolls from the pan and cool on wire rack.  Wrap well in plastic wrap.

To rewarm, remove from plastic wrap and warm in a 400F oven for 5 minutes or so.  Or, warm in a microwave for 15 seconds.

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