I hate using the same photo for two posts in the same week, and I hope you’ll forgive me once you taste these dinner rolls. I made them for a supper club that the delightful Kelly of The Gouda Life has founded and for which I am all too happy to be a part. Our theme for the evening was “comfort food”, but it ended up being more along the lines of “fancy winter food that leaves you feeling warm and full inside”. There was bacon wrapped meatloaf, gnocchi with an amazing tomato sauce, a play on this bean dish – which I dreamt about for the three days following, and homemade peanut butter cups (secret ingredient: ritz crackers). Not your mother’s Sunday night roast.
Originally, my contribution was vegetarian handpies with mushrooms, caramelized onions and goat cheese. These were good, but a lot of work for something that wasn’t a total standout. Then, I started thinking about popcorn and truffle oil, and that became a natural combination for snack food while everything was (re)heating. Then, I reminded myself of Amateur Gourmet, and was scrolling through it, when BAM: The best dinner rolls of your life. Dinner rolls were kinda always my favourite part of Sunday dinners, so this seemed like a really natural contribution. Except that they called for lard or shortening, and I had neither. So, I did what any irrational person, who was already spending the better part of the day selling her baked gods, would do and I went and picked up duck fat.
They were the best dinner rolls that I have ever had. (Of course, what do you expect from duck fat?) Go, get yourself some duck fat, and make these. I don’t care if it’s Wednesday, or Sunday, but make these. (And if you really want to be spectacular, throw some pulled pork on them. Could you imagine that? Mmmhm.)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup shortening or lard
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
In a small bowl, stir together the yeast and warm water. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, use a fork to combine the shortening, sugar, salt, and boiling water. Allow this mixture to cool for a few minutes. (Alternatively, you can combine the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat for 2 minutes using the paddle attachment until combined, then cool.)
Use a fork to stir the beaten egg and yeast into the shortening mixture, then add 3 cups of the flour (add the remaining 1/2 to 1 cup as you knead). When the mixture pulls together into a dough and you can no longer stir it with a fork, use your hands.
Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough until it has a smooth sheen and doesn’t fall apart; 5 to 10 minutes. Try not too add too much flour here.
Cover the dough and let it rise for 30-40 minutes, until it has increased 25%. Punch it down, knead it briefly (up to 1 minute).
Roll the dough into 2-inch balls (there should be enough dough for about 16 rolls), and space evenly on a butter baking sheet.
Cover and let rise for 15 minutes. Heat the oven to 325F.
Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Brush with copious amounts of melted butter. Eat hot.