The turkey is thawing; the fridge is full to bursting; and I just bought the largest sweet potato I ever laid eyes on at the farmer’s market. Clearly, Thanksgiving is just a few days away. I wish I had an advent calendar for Thanksgiving. As an adult, I think I look forward to the holiday even more than Christmas. Instead of buying presents, I just get to buy food and booze. Instead of dismantling the Christmas tree, I get to put it up! And finally, the 335-day ban on Christmas music is lifted, and I am reunited with my pretend paramour Bing. Sigh.
But! There are many dishes to cook before then, and this is the final one I’ll be sharing with you in my Countdown to Thanksgiving. To recap, so far we’ve made:
- Healthy Pumpkin Cheesecake Trifle
- Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Pecans
- Holiday Icebox Dinner Rolls: 3 Ways (today)
- Boozy Fruit Stuffing
- Cheesy Corn Spoon Bread
- Butternut Gruyere Tart with Mushrooms and Pancetta
These icebox dinner rolls are so named because you prep them the day before, and store the rising dough in the fridge. And then, 8-24 hours later, you pop them out, form them into dozens of little dough balls, let rise for an hour, and bake. This is a great way to get fresh, home-made bread the day of the holiday, with less fuss than regular bread-making. And yes, it contains shortening. And butter. For once, you will not find me suggesting a healthy substitution, because really, there isn’t, and I wouldn’t want it if there were.
I do however offer up a few jazzy variations: herbs (parsley sage, thyme), and truffled parmesan rosemary. Did I just say truffled? Oh yes. Yes I did. And so should you.
Holiday Icebox Dinner Rolls: 3 Ways
adapted just a smidge from this recipe
Time: 10-25 hours (active time: 1 hour over 2 days) Yield: 20 rolls
- 1 cup boiling water
- 6 T shortening
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 4 cups all-purpose flour*
- 1/4 cup butter, melted and divided
*you may try subbing in 1- 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour
- mixed herbs (I added 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1T chopped fresh sage, and 1 tsp dried thyme)
- drizzle of truffle oil, 1 tsp chopped dried rosemary, 1/3 cup parmesan
- garlic would also be yummy! Feel free to experiment.
Pour 1 cup boiling water over shortening, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir until shortening melts and sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Let stand 10 minutes or until about 110°.
Meanwhile, combine yeast and 1/4 cup warm water in a 1-cup liquid measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
Add yeast mixture and egg to shortening mixture; beat at low speed until combined. Gradually add flour, beating at low speed with bread hook attachment 2 to 3 minutes or until flour is blended and dough is soft and smooth. (Or you can go all old-fashioned and just use a wooden spoon or your hands. Whatever floats your boat/countertop!)
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours, and go about your other holiday plans.
About 2 hours before serving, remove the cooooold dough from fridge. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 1 minute). At this point you would add in any mixins – herbs, garlic, dare-I-suggest truffle oil.
This is the fun part! Get your partner or kiddos to help out. Gently shape dough into 60 (1-inch) balls. To make sure you get relatively even-sized balls, I like to split my dough into quarters, and then rip off 15 chunks from each quarter, before rolling into balls.
Place 3 dough balls in each cup of 2 lightly greased 12-cup muffin pans. (You will fill only 20 cups.) Brush rolls with half of melted butter.
Cover pans with plastic wrap, and let rise in a WARM place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 400°. Bake rolls for 8 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with remaining melted butter. Serve immediately.