Well, this week been rough. After finally getting approval from the scenic commission on the homestead plans, we hit another blockade in actually making the homestead happen—all the construction costs have gone through the roof so now we need to re-group and figure some things out, which means it’s on pause again. But all is not lost, because I channeled my frustration into baking and used these caramelized onion rolls as a salve on my weathered soul. It’s funny the way something as simple as food can provide so much comfort in the face of even the most aching loss. Through the miscarriage, the fertility issues, the tedious battle to get the homestead *actually* built…it’s always been there to nourish me and make me feel good even when nothing else can. Onion rolls, I salute you.
And as far as homemade rolls go, these are really simple and easy to make. Don’t let the alluring fancy spiral pattern fool you! It’s just a straightforward kneading of dough ingredients together, followed by a rise. Then you roll out the dough, spread the lovely caramelized onions all over it, roll it up, slice it, let it rise a bit more, and then bake it. And voila! Caramelized onion rolls at your service, ready to soothe any holiday-induced stress or anxiety you may be feeling. Don’t you just love carbs? I’m planning on making these again for Thanksgiving, and highly recommend you do the same if you’re 1) in America, and 2) looking to up your dinner roll game just a tad. (Like I said, they’re not that complicated, so it’s looks a lot more impressive than the actual effort involved). Wishing you all the best with your holiday baking projects, and I’ll be back again soon with a cozy little soup next week 🙂
Oh! And I’d be remiss if I didn’t share some menu suggestions for Thanksgiving, so here they are:
- Roast Turkey with Pears and Sage (a classic that myself + the readers have been making for many years)
- Crispy Brussels Sprouts with a Dijon Vinaigrette + Toasted Walnuts
- Roast Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans
- Cheddar Garlic and Rosemary Biscuits
- Chocolate Chess Pie
- Pecan Pie
- Pear and Pistachio Pie (my personal favorite)
Caramelized Onion Rolls
CARAMELIZED ONION FILLING
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large sweet onions chopped
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2/3 cup whole milk cold
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 5 tablespoons butter melted
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
EGG WASH + GARNISH
- 1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon flake sea salt for sprinkling
CARAMELIZED ONION FILLING
Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, sugar, dried thyme, and salt and stir to cover in the hot oil. Reduce heat to low and cook until the onions turn lightly golden, stirring every 5 minutes, for about 35-40 minutes (it's better for them to be lightly golden than deeply golden, since they'll also be baking in the oven after this and you don't want them too dried out). Set aside to cool to room temperature (this is **IMPORTANT**! Do not put hot caramelized onions on the dough, it will become goopy and impossible to work with).
- Whisk together the milk and flour in a small saucepan until smooth. Place over medium low heat and continue stirring until the mixture thickens to a paste-like consistency, then remove it from the heat and empty the pre-dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
- Add the dough ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer with the pre-dough and mix together at low speed to form a dough. Continue mixing the dough until it's smooth and elastic — for about 10 minutes with the hook attachment at low speed, or you can knead the dough by hand for 16 to 20 minutes.
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and place at room temperature out of direct sunlight to rise until doubled in size, (about 1 hour depending on how toasty your house is.)
ASSEMBLY + BAKING
- Grease a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish and lay a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom and set it aside.
Punch down the risen dough and roll it out to a 14 x 17 inch rectangle. Spread the exposed surface with cooled caramelized onion mixture. Roll up along the short side so the log is 14 inches long. Cut into 12 equally-sized slices. Arrange the rolls, spiral facing up, in the casserole dish is 4 rows of 3, leaving a bit of room around each slice. Set aside and allow to rise at room temperature for 1 hour, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit during the last 20 minutes of proofing.
- Brush the rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with the flake sea salt. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the rolls are golden, about 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.