Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday. Ben used to make fun of me for this because he says that Thanksgiving is the exact same as Christmas except that you don’t get anything. I honestly can’t argue with that (and both are holidays that also feel like an extra Sunday) but I can say that Thanksgiving is better because you don’t get anything and you don’t have to stress over giving anything either. It’s a holiday that’s all about food and family and being grateful and I love it.
I also love that every person has a different “Must-Have” on their Thanksgiving menu. It makes me think of the episode of Friends where Monica has to make 3 different kinds of potatoes for Thanksgiving so that each friend could have their dinner be like it was when they were growing up.
I always thought that Thanksgiving dinners were pretty standard, but then I got married and Ben’s family had to have new components I’d never known about: Cranberry Jell-O with whipped cream on top, Cranberry freeze (a slush with ginger ale poured on top), and a huge selection of homemade pies (to suggest storebought is a straight up abomination).
I have a sister-in-law who has to have brussel sprouts.
I’ve heard of people who do cookies instead of pie (which, to me, is a way bigger abomination than store bought pie).
And Joey has to have his tots.
But one thing that seems to be pretty standard (you know, on top of turkey and potatoes) is rolls.
This particular roll recipe yields rolls that are light and fluffy and soft. And the best part is that they are SO easy and so non-fussy. Even if you’ve never made rolls before, you can make these and be 100% successful.
Yeast breads can be a little tricky because there’s a certain amount of guesswork involved in knowing how much flour to add, how long to knead, and then careful timing to make sure your dough is rising enough but not too much. This particular recipe is close to foolproof because most of the guesswork has been taken out. And since it’s an “overnight” roll that completes its first rise in the fridge, the dough is cold and incredibly workable when it’s time to shape it. AND the second (and final) rise takes over two hours so you have plenty of time to get stuff done before these guys need to go in the oven.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that every roll is best when it’s warm right out of the oven. But these do a great job at staying totally yummy (and not dried out) for several days (we’ve had leftovers for up to a week) so you can start making these a couple days before you serve them.
Here’s the recipe (and the link):
Overnight Rolls (Recipe from the Worldwide Ward Cookbook)
2 packages (or 4 ½ teaspoons) yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water
3 eggs, beaten
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup warm water
1 ½ teaspoon salt
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in ¼ cup lukewarm water (it’ll take about 5 minutes). In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer if you have one), beat eggs. Add sugar, butter, remaining water, salt, yeast mixture and 2 ½ cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add remaining 2 cups flour and mix until everything has been well incorporated. Cover your dough and refrigerate overnight. About 2 ½ to 3 hours before you plan on serving your rolls, remove the dough from the fridge. Divide dough into 2 or 3 equal sections. Roll one portion of your dough into a circle, about ¼ inch thick. Spread with melted butter. Using a pizza cutter, cut your circle into 12-16 wedges. Starting at the base of each triangle, roll each wedge into a crescent and place 1-2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with each section of dough. Let rolls rise for about 2 ½ to 3 hours. Bake at 350º (make sure the oven is preheated) for about 15 minutes, or until the rolls have turned a nice golden color. If desired, brush with more melted butter before serving.
–For anyone who has never worked with yeast: when you dissolve your yeast in water, the yeast should kind of bubble up and foam a bit. If it doesn’t start to do this after about 5 minutes, you probably need new yeast. Always store your yeast in the fridge or freezer to help prevent it from going bad.
–I almost always use whole wheat flour (at least in part) when making doughs to try and be a little healthier. But I’ve never tried using whole wheat on this particular recipe because sometimes you just need to live a little. And I’ve never regretted that.