Mom’s Carrot-Flecked Dinner Rolls
Sometimes when people find out that I like to bake, they assume that I have great knife skills, can whip up fresh tomato sauce, and know how to fillet a fish. “Oh,” they say, “you’re a cook! That’s so cool.”
No. It would be very cool if I were a cook, but alas, I’m scared of the big chopping knife, I have no idea how to make tomato sauce from scratch, and I can poorly fillet a fish (just barely.) I am a baker, even though I’d love to expand my abilities.
My parents, on the other hand, they are good cooks. My father is the sort of person whose shopping cart is filled with eggs, butter, fresh produce, and milk, never frozen dinners or Hamburger Helper. The kind of person who cooks salmon and mushroom roulade without a recipe and gets asked to do dinner parties.
My mom, too, has her specialties. The limited Chinese terms my father knows are all for describing the foods she makes. Her rice is the best we’ve ever had, anywhere. Her pot stickers are so perfect that when one of my friends said she loved Dragon Wok’s dumplings, I forced her to come to dinner so she could see what she was missing. And unlike my father, the cook, and me, the baker, mother’s favorite is something unique: bread.
My mother ate like a bird as a child. She loathed meat, hated most vegetables, and didn’t care for fruit. Instead, she bought freshly baked bread on the way home from school and ate the whole loaf herself. When she moved to this country and was first introduced to my father’s family, the only thing she ate was mashed potatoes and dinner rolls. To a group of thick steak and buttered greens loving foodies, this was unimaginable, prompting my grandfather to title her the Carbohydrate Queen.
My mom eats basically everything now, but she still loves bread best. And so it was she who baked these delicious rolls with freshly grated carrots. Me, I’m scared of yeast. But my mother, she’s fearless.
On another note, thank you to Eliana of A Chica Bakes for passing the Friendship Award onto me. It’s so sweet! I have to pass it on to 8 other bloggers…
“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.”
Thanks to all of these bloggers for supporting 17 and Baking, and inspiring me with their delicious creations.
– Amanda of Is This Thing On?
– Marta of Just Call Me Marta
– Alicia of Bakeaholic
– Alana of The Good Girl Gone Blog
– Darina of Gratinee
– Jenny of Raising Our Kids in America…
– Danica of Think It, Bake It
– Kristen of Dine and Dish (A special thank you for hosting the Adopt-A-Blogger event… More on this later!)
They look like pretty standard dinner rolls besides the attractive orange flecks of carrot throughout. These rolls are crusty and chewy, with a spongy crumb. They come out of the oven beautifully golden, and are perfect with soup, butter, or really anything else you’d care to pair it with.
The recipe is pretty flexible – sub the grated carrot for another vegetable (like beet), replace it with chopped herbs, or omit the carrots and use cooked onion instead. The book also recommends working cooked vegetable puree into the dough… Make it your own.
I am also submitting these rolls into YeastSpotting. Yummy!
Carrot-Flecked Diner Rolls
Adapted from The Bread Bible
Makes 12 rolls
2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/4 cups water
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 lb carrots, grated
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
Sprinkle the yeast into 1/2 cup of the water. Sit for 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve.
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Form a well in the center and pour in the dissolved yeast. Add the grated carrots and melted butter and mix all together. Stir in the remaining water to form a moist, crumbly dough.
Knead the dough until smooth but still sticky on a lightly floured surface, about 10 minutes.
Put the dough in a clean bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let rise until it’s doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Punch down and let rest 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Shape the dough into 12 balls and arrange, just touching, into a pan. (We put 8 rolls in a 9″ cake pan and the remaining 4 in a small, square pan.) Proof until the balls double in size, about 30 minutes. Brush the tops of the rolls with the beaten egg, then sprinkle poppy seeds on top.
Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and sound hollow when the bottom is tapped. Cool on a wire rack.
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[I’m a bit embarrassed to be posting something that I didn’t make, but I didn’t want to take credit for my Mom’s delicious work. These days I’m trying to be responsible and start that studying… I promise I’ll still post throughout May, even with tests every other day! When you’re passionate about something, you make time for it. Consider mom my first guest blogger.]