I've been on a bit of a kick lately, baking fresh buns on Sunday afternoons for my kids to eat with their lunches the following week. I don't know how this happened, since both my husband and I are trying to stay away from eating white bread (or any bread), but here I am making one of the things I crave most...for my kids. It's torture. But they keep asking for 'my bun's...and so I look at it as an opportunity to try something new.
Since Sunday has kind of become our "free pass day" for eating, it does allow me to at least taste the results of my hard work. These buns were really, really good. Their texture was soft and fluffy and though they might not look ideal for sandwiches, I sure wouldn't complain if someone threw in a slice of ham, some cheese and a tomato and called it lunch.
I honestly didn't know what Parker House Rolls were until recently, and by 'recently', I mean earlier this afternoon. I had to do a little research to figure out what they were supposed to look like, and how they were made before I chose my recipe. Now that I know, these will definitely be a repeat.
Parker House Rolls
(adapted from Food Network via Omni Parker House Hotel)
6 cups all purpose flour (approximate)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 packages (1/2 ounce) of active dry yeast
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 large egg
2 cups warm water (120 degrees F. to 130 degrees F.)
In large bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast; add 1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick). With mixer at low speed, gradually pour in 2 cups of warm water into dry ingredients. Add egg. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes. Beat in additional 3/4 cup flour, or enough to make a thick batter; continue beating 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl. With a large wooden spoon, stir in enough additional flour (about 2 1/2 cups) to make a soft dough.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and need until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, working in more flour (about 1/2 cup) while kneading. Shape dough into ball and place in greased large bowl, turning over so top of dough is greased. Cover with towel; let rise in warm place until doubled about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down dough and turn onto lightly floured surface; knead to make a smooth ball, cover with bowl for 15 minutes to let the dough rest.
Melt remaining 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter in a small bowl. Spray a large roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. On lightly floured surface, roll the dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough into 2 3/4 inch circles with biscuit or cookie cutter. Dip circle of dough into the melted butter, fold the dough in half, press lightly to seal, and then place in your greased roasting pan. Continue until all the dough has been cut. The buns can be snugly placed into the roasting pan, just touching one another, but not overlapping.
Cover with towel, allow to rise in warm place until doubled (about 40 minutes). Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake rolls about 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Okay, so now you have your buns all cut and you have this pile of leftover dough. What should you do with it? The recipe does not say to re-roll leftover dough - and I'm pretty sure that would result in a tough bun. So here's what I did:
Knead dough back into ball. Re-roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Spread with a generous layer of butter; sprinkle with cinnamon. Sprinkle 1/2 cup white sugar.
Use a pizza roller and cut the dough into approximately 1 inch strips. Twist the strips and place on parchment lined baking sheets.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 18 to 20 minutes, or until light golden brown.
It's always the things you least expect that turn out great. These were delicious! Crispy and tender and perfectly sweet. A perfect Sunday afternoon snack, the kids loved them. (Inspired, I also whipped up a fast dip made with 4 ounces of cream cheese, 3 Tbsp. of icing sugar and 1Tbsp. of milk to replicate the frosting you'd get on a Cinnabon.)