Saturday, May 7, 2011

Perfect Sandwich Rolls

For me, there is something incredibly rewarding and validating when a yeast recipe works for me. I think I'm the most excited by rolls that look and taste beautiful. Part of it is the fact that I find yeast tricky, and I've had rolls fail more often than not.  But the real truth is that I simply love bread. Mmmmm, bread. Rolls, breads, breadsticks, muffins, danishes... I think it's the reason you'd never guess that I run. I can inhale one of those bread baskets they put in front of you in a restaurant in mere seconds.

These rolls are awesome. I ate three as soon as they came out of the oven. They are the perfect shape and texture for rolls and were perfect for French Dip and pulled pork sandwiches. Plus, they were easy. As easy as yeast gets, at least. They were only complicated for me because I decided to triple the recipe and it turns out my Kitchenaid just wasn't up for the challenge. And yet they still turned out beautifully!

Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Makes: about 1 dozen rolls (according to her site, but I got about 15)

1 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 tablespoon instant yeast (or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast)
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour, give or take a few tablespoons

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl by hand, combine the warm water, yeast, sugar, oil, salt and 2 cups of the flour (if you are using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, let the yeast proof in the warm water and sugar for about 3-5 minutes until it is foamy and bubbly before adding the oil, salt and flour).

2. Begin mixing and continue to add the rest of the flour gradually until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Judge the dough not by the amount of flour called for in the recipe but in how the dough feels .  The dough should be soft and smooth but still slightly tacky to the touch.

3.  Knead the dough in the stand mixer or by hand until it is very smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes in a stand mixer or 8-10 minutes by hand. Lightly spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled (plan on about an hour.)

4. Lightly punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly greased countertop. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and form the dough into round balls. Place the rolls on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch or two apart. Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap taking care not to pin the plastic wrap under the baking sheet or else the rolls will flatten while rising. Let the plastic wrap gently hang over the sides of the pan to fully cover the rolls but not press them down. Let the rolls rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Frosty

I'm not going to pretend that this is low calorie. Not even remotely. BUT, that being said, it is super filling and I find that when I eat it for breakfast, I'm not hungry again for hours. And that can be a good thing. Because then I eat fewer calories throughout the day.  Think of this as a meal replacement shake.  Or two meal replacement shake!  Oh, and you should also know that it is delicious. I found the recipe in a runner's magazine and it's my favorite thing to drink after a long run. It's so filling and I feel like the protein is good for me. We can pretend, right?

Source: Laura Scudder
Serves: 2 (Or in my case, 1 really, really tall glass, all for me!)

1/2 cup chocolate soy milk (I use regular) or low fat chocolate milk
4 oz. chocolate whipped yogurt (I used 1/2 a container of Yoplait Chocolate Mousse)
1/3 cup chocolate protein drink (I never use this much... I found that 1/2 a scoop with the enclosed scoop of my protein powder was plenty)
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
ice cubes
cinnamon, for garnish

This is easy folks:
1. Combine everything in the blender and process until smooth and frosty. I usually just add enough ice cubes to get the right consistency... or enough to equal 2 cups.

2. Pour it into two tall cups and garnish with cinnamon, if desired.