Honey Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls with a Touch of Rosemary

Sunday morning thoughts: I feel like my blog has no rhyme or reason. Right now, it’s not very organized. My brother recently suggested for me to organize my recipes into your typical categories i.e. apps, salads, entrées, desserts, etc, and I think it’s a great idea that I’ll do once I have enough recipes! For now, I’m just going to keep posting until I really build this up.

Today’s post is another baking post – we are going to be making Honey Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls with a touch of rosemary (rosemary is optional)!

As soon as September rolls around each year, I get so excited. It’s really my favorite time of the year because we’re getting closer and closer to the Holidays! I’m one of those crazy people that really get into family & friend gatherings from football watch parties to making up random occasions from September through December to cook & eat a lot of food.

It’s also exciting for me to cook for a larger group of people since it’s just me and my husband at home, most of what I cook is just enough for the both of us with little-to-no leftovers. While most recipes can be cut down in half or 1/4ths, there’s just some that don’t make sense to and this is my chance to make those group-friendly recipes, and one of those is dinner rolls.

My little excerpt about stand mixers: I was hesitant at first to post this recipe, because it’s meant to be made with a stand mixer. While I do HIGHLY recommend owning a stand mixer (if you’re serious about baking), this recipe can be achieved with a hand-held mixer and/or your own hands if you don’t own one. The stand mixer simply cuts down time and effort. This is the one I own: KitchenAid KSM150 Artisan Series in Majestic Yellow. This often goes on sale either at Target or Best Buy. I don’t think it’s worth it to purchase it when it’s not on sale. Also, don’t ever purchase it at Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table – it’s always more expensive there.

One more note about rosemary: I LOVE rosemary. However, I have discovered that it is polarizing to a lot of people. This recipe only has a HINT of it. I promise it’s not overwhelming at all. It just gives that touch of herbal flavor that I crave. If you totally despise rosemary, it can easily be removed from the entire thing.

Don’t be discouraged by the number of steps below. These rolls are really simple to make. While waiting for the dough to rise, you can use that time to make your main dish.

Alright, enough talking.

HONEY WHOLE WHEAT DINNER ROLLS WITH A TOUCH OF ROSEMARY

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup warm whole milk (105 – 100 degrees F)
  • 1 (1/4 oz) packet active dry yeast
  • 4 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 3-4 sprigs rosemary, optional
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes, optional (Maldon is my fav)

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

  • Stand mixer
  • Basting brush
  • Food scale, optional
  • Food thermometer, optional

DIRECTIONS

  • Combine milk, yeast and 1 tablespoon honey in a small bowl; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and remaining 3 tablespoons honey on medium speed until well combined, about 1-2 minutes. Beat in egg until well combined. Beat in yeast mixture, all-purpose flour and salt until a smooth batter forms.
  • Using the dough hook, gradually add whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly tacky to the touch. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes.
  • Lightly oil a large bowl or coat with nonstick spray; place dough in bowl, turning to coat. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let stand in a warm spot until dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Gently deflate dough by punching down. Roll into a 15-inch rope; cut into 15 1-inch pieces, pressing each piece into a disk, then shaping into a ball.
  • Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray. Place dough balls into the prepared baking dish; brush tops with butter. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let stand in a warm spot until dough has doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place into oven and bake until golden brown, about 18-22 minutes.

Alfajores (Traditional)

It’s September!

…although I’m not entirely sure where August went.

Today, I am sharing a recipe for the most delightful & heavenly cookies – Alfajores!

A couple months ago when my friend Kelly was in town, we ate our body weight during Sunday brunch at Caracol. If you live in Houston and never been – I highly recommend it! It’s a concept by Chef Hugo, and their menu is described as a “culinary tour along the Mexican coasts.” Their brunch is buffet-style and it’s super worth it. One of my favorite parts of their brunch is their DESSERT TABLE, which is an arrangement of traditional Mexican fresh based breads, cookies, candies, and pastries. I nearly peed my pants when I saw all the freshly baked goods, and amongst all the goodies, there was a plate of dime-sized alfajores.

I don’t remember much, but I must’ve eaten at least 10. They were melt-in-your-mouth kind of PERFECTION. While I’ve had alfajores before, none compared to those at Caracol. Since then, I’ve been craving them every. single. day.

I’m not an excellent baker (it’s too exact). But I also knew that I can’t possibly afford to eat at Caracol every single Sunday, so I sucked it up & I grudgingly researched recipes on how to make them myself. After a couple of trial & errors, I think I’ve finally got it down.

I think the most important thing is not to overbake the cookies. Other than that, these little cookies are SUPER easy to make (if you have tons of experience with baking, you can probably do this in your sleep).

Here’s how to make them:

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ALFAJORES (TRADITIONAL)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks (about 2.5 yolks if you have small eggs)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 13.4oz can Dulce de Leche (You can be an overachiever and make your own, or you can make life 10,000x easier and just buy a jar of dulce de leche! This one is my favorite.)
  • Flour for sprinkling your work surface & rolling pin
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:

DIRECTIONS:

  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  • Add the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and, with the paddle attachment on, cream the mixture until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until incorporated. With a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  • On low speed, gradually add the cornstarch, flour, salt, baking powder and soda and mix until just incorporated.
  • Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape it into a disk and wrap it tightly. Place in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.
  • When the dough is ready, preheat your oven to 350 F.
  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough & the rolling pin.
  • Roll the dough to 1/4 (ish) inch thickness (the dough will crack but can be easily patched back together).
  • Cut out 20 to 24 rounds using a cookie cutters, re-rolling the dough as necessary until all of it is gone (If I’m using a 1-inch cookie cutter, I can cut about 44-48 rounds = 22-24 cookies. If I’m using a 2-inch cookie cutter, I can cut about 20-24 rounds = 10-12 cookies).
  • Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets and bake them in preheated oven for 10-11 minutes. (You can essentially place the cookies with 1/4″ space in between. They don’t expand, so they won’t touch each other in the oven. Also, make sure you don’t overbake! You’ll know it’s done when the dough has set, but the bottom hasn’t browned. Check the cookies after 9 minutes to make sure you don’t overbake.)
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Spoon on half of the cookies about a tablespoon of dulce de leche. Place a second cookie on top and gently press to create a sandwich.
  • Dust with powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

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