Lion House Rolls

I’m a bread girl. Since I was little I would fill up my plate with all kinds of bread and rolls when I was at a buffet. From an early age, I learned to love the flavors and textures of dark pumpernickel, rich brioche, rustic baguettes, airy ciabatta, sweet pan dulce, or any kind of bread. This Thanksgiving I went out on a limb and made most of our meal from Pinterest recipes (see the Sweet Potato Casserole post). I saw this pin for Lion House Rolls by Christy of The Girl Who Ate Everything. They looked over the top – which is exactly what I wanted.

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

If you’re a carbivore like me (I think that should be a real thing), that picture will have you drooling. After reviewing the recipe a few times I was pretty sure I could handle it. Time to get to the Pintesting.

The Pintesting:

The first step is to bloom the yeast, which is basically a test to wake up and activate the live yeast which will cause the bread to rise. It will also let you know if your yeast is old and needs replacing. Simply stir the yeast into warm milk or water mixed with dry powdered milk and watch for it to bubble or bloom.

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

After a few minutes, you’ll see the bubbles if the yeast is good; then add the rest of the starter ingredients.

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

Mix the starter…

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

and add more flour…

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

until it turns into a dough.

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

The recipe says to oil the bread to prevent crusting, cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled. How do you know if it’s doubled?

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

I use this simple but brilliant trick that I learned from King Arthur Flour. Put the oiled dough in an oiled pitcher with measurement lines on it. See? Simple but brilliant!

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

I KNOW this is doubled. Great trick!

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

Now dump the dough on a floured surface. I flipped it a couple of times to lightly flour it.

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

Roll out the dough into a rectangle shape to about 1/4 inch thickness.

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

Spread it with butter and cut into individual rolls. (The original recipe links to a video on the best way to do this and the next step.)

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

Then roll (or flip and spin) into the shape and place on a baking sheet. I lined mine with parchment and really recommend it here. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise again until doubled in size.

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

Once doubled again, bake the rolls until they’re perfectly browned and smell like a bit of heaven.

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

Brush them with melted butter and try to not eat them all.

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

YUM! These are the best dinner rolls that I’ve ever made had. It was all I could do to not just fill up on these while getting the rest of Thanksgiving dinner ready. HH agreed that this recipe is a keeper. Their texture is both rich and light, and the baked in butter means you don’t have to add more – but we did.

Variation:

I love to experiment with recipes and the first thing that came to mind on these (due to the way their rolled up) is cinnamon rolls. But after tasting the roll itself I was thinking raisin bread. So I combined the ideas and made the recipe again adding 1/3 cup of raisins to the dough and sprinkling cinnamon sugar onto the buttered dough before rolling the rolls. The next time I make these I’ll increase the raisins to at least 1/2 to 2/3 cup. I might even use mini loaf pans to make little raisin bread loaves as well as rolls.

Pintesting Lion House Rolls

My rolls weren’t cut as evenly as the first batch, but nobody cared when eating them. I brought them to a Christmas party and they were a huge hit. No icing required.

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.55 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  Christy said these rolls are legendary and she’s absolutely right. They turned out exactly as the recipe said they would every step of the way. The dough was soft and not sticky; very easy to work with. Between the intoxicating yeasty smell, the buttery richness, and how pretty they turned out, I enthusiastically give this 5 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty: I’m not an experienced from-scratch bread baker (other than using the bread machine) and had some trepidation on this whole process, but I was pleasantly surprised at how simple this was. There are a few steps and waiting times in between for rising, but none of the steps were difficult. Christy’s instructions and the video that she links to were very thorough making the hardest part being patient during each rise. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time: The time spent actually mixing and working the dough and baking was not very long at all – roughly 40 minutes. Waiting for the dough to rise twice is what makes bread baking take so long. This times out well if you’re making Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s not something you can whip up quickly.  3 Pins

Rated 3 Pins

Cost: Most of the ingredients are kitchen staples: milk, sugar, flour, egg, and butter. You can make the recipe with all-purpose or bread flour, which also helps keep costs down if you don’t have bread flour on hand. The yeast was about $1.40 for a 3-envelope pack and I only needed 2 envelopes. The total cost was minimal for 2 – 2 1/2 dozen rolls that freeze well, so I’m giving this 5 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality: These are some of if not the best rolls I’ve ever had. Period! I love that the recipe gives freezing instructions so that you can make one batch and enjoy them for weeks (if they last that long). I also love their versatility. I’ve made the raisin bread cinnamon rolls and am looking forward to making a savory or garlicky version in the near future. You can make them smaller sized rolls – perfect for little ones. I’m also going to play around with making loaves of bread with this dough. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

When I was a college freshman living 700 miles away from home and “independent” for the first time in my life, I felt that I was seriously underfunded – as most freshmen do. I had a nice dorm room with a great roommate, a cafeteria card that would provide all the cafeteria food that I cared to eat, and all my needs were more than met. But that’s not the same as having spending money to go hang out with my friends (never mind that I was supposed to be studying). Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip CookieOne day I was feeling rather homesick, so I made Chocolate Chip Cookies in our dorm kitchen. I had girls rushing in offering to buy the cookies (and cookie dough). That was my Aha! moment. I found out that two hours of serious cookie making in the cafeteria during their down time on Saturday afternoons could turn my $20/week allowance into $80 or more, and got me the nickname, Betty Crocker.

Since then I’ve made hundreds of dozens of cookies, but I’m always looking for a way to improve upon the standard. I’ve tried chilling the dough, using different kinds of flours, using different kinds of chocolate, and so many other tips. So when I saw this recipe for The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie, I was rather sceptical. . . until I saw the source – America’s test Kitchen.

I’ve watched their PBS show, Cook’s Country, for years and I have a subscription to their magazine, Cook’s Illustrated. For those who don’t know, they test recipes, ingredients, gadgets, and products. Per their website, “we test each recipe 30, 40, sometimes as many as 70 times, until we arrive at the combination of ingredients, technique, temperature, cooking time, and equipment that yields the best, most-foolproof recipe.”

Well, I’m accepting the challenge to see if theirs really is The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie. Let the Pintesting begin!

Pintesting Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - ORIGINAL PIN

The Pintesting:

They make several changes to the original Toll House cookie recipe, so please go to their recipe to read the logic and science behind the changes.

One of the biggest differences is that instead of creaming softened butter with sugars, this recipe starts by browning most of the butter to develop the butterscotch notes and deepen the flavor.

You can see how the butter melts and then browns below. Then the browned butter is added to and melts the remaining butter.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Melt Butter Collage

Whisk the sugars, salt, and vanilla with the melted butter and then add the egg. Even here they modified the recipe from 2 eggs to 1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk. They have their reasons – just go with it.

Now walk away for 3 minutes.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Add Sugars & Salt

Whisk and wait for 3 minutes two more times. This allows the sugars to completely dissolve rather than having a grainy creamed mixture.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Whisk & Wait

You can see that the mixture is satiny smooth. No graininess in these cookies.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Add Flour Mixture

Next, stir in the flour and baking soda mixture.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Dough

Here’s the dough made without a mixer. Doesn’t it look like peanut butter?

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Add Nuts & Chips

Add the chocolate and *optional* nuts. My HH LOVES chocolate chip cookies with nuts and he chose pecan pieces this time.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Cookie Dough

Oh. My. Gosh. Just look at that dough. This is the stuff that dreams are made of.

I scooped it for uniformity, as I usually do with cookie dough, and baked them in a 375-degree oven.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Baking

Even without chilling the cookies didn’t melt into flat cookie pancakes. I was so happy to see that they had nice volume and height.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Done

And after the torture of waiting for them to cool (because cookies don’t taste as good when they’ve melted the flesh from the roof of your mouth), they did recede a little. But only just a little.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie - Closeup

You need to try these cookies. The flavor and texture are beyond what I could have imagined from a humble chocolate chip cookie.

Pintesting The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

And now for the Pintesting results – and a large glass of milk.

The Results:

OVERALL RESULTS:  4.85 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  The recipe promised cookies that are “moist and chewy on the inside and crisp at the edges, with deep notes of toffee and butterscotch to balance its sweetness,” and this cookie definitely delivered. The taste and texture were incredible. My HH gave it 500 pins so I’m giving it 5 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty: This recipe involved browning the butter, but because the butter was melted no mixer was needed. If it’s easier to just mix in the bowl, then I think it’s just all-around easier. But because there is the extra step of browning the butter, I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time:  Most cookie recipes require a minimum of an hour to make and bake (not including dishes). This includes 30 minutes (give or take) to soften the butter, a minimum of 5 minutes of creaming time, and chilling time (30 minutes to overnight) in order to keep the cookies from going flat in the oven. But this recipe uses melted butter and although there were roughly 10 minutes of mix/wait time, they went straight from the mixing bowl to the oven and the cookies maintained a nice thickness. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Cost: There were no weird, unique, or specialty ingredients to pull off these cookies. Most of the ingredients are common to most kitchens, so I’m giving this 5 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality:  These are ridiculously delicious cookies when they come out of the oven. They were still moist, chewy, crispy, and delicious four days later. (They’re big cookies and it’s just the two of us.) This is now my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

I’m a Daddy’s Girl. Always have been, always will be. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom very dearly, and as I get older, I see the best parts of her in me. I know I’m blessed beyond words to have the parents that I do. But daddy was the first man in my life, and he set a very high bar as a standard for what to look for in a man. Even though it’s been more than 10 years since he’s walked this earth, I still get excited on his birthday. The quirky little memorable things are what I love to celebrate. He loved God, his family, Tab (does anyone remember that diet cola before there was Diet Coke or Pepsi?), butter pecan ice cream, Fritos & bean dip, mom’s chili when it was so spicy that the steam would peel paint, and he always seemed happy.

His favorite canned soup was Bean & Bacon. I’m pretty sure that Campbell’s has changed the recipe over the years, because it just doesn’t taste the same, nor does it have the same texture. Our family has been avoiding canned soups since they’re usually high in sodium and other “stuff” that we don’t want as a part of our diet. So when I saw this pin for Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup by Deborah of Taste and Tell, I looked up and smiled into the heavens and told dad that I was going to make this for him.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

You know how they say that girls usually marry a man like their dad? Yes! My HH is like my dad in so many ways – including a love of butter pecan ice cream, Fritos & bean dip, HE makes the chili, and he used to drink Tab. And guess what his favorite canned soup is. Go on – guess… Yup! So with my HH cheering me on, and daddy watching from above, let’s get on with this Pin Test!

There aren’t a lot of ingredients, which means that the flavors come from simple ingredients and should shine through (I hope).

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

 

Start with the bacon, cooking it until it’s rendered a good amount of fat and is nice and crispy.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

Remove the bacon and most of the drippings, leaving a couple of tablespoons of the rendered fat to give flavor and to cook the mirepoix. (That’s equal parts of onions, carrots, and celery.) I seasoned with salt and pepper at this stage rather than waiting until the end. Once the aromatics are softened, add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

Add the beans and broth and let it cook for an hour. The recipe says to remove half of the soup and blend in a blender or food processor, but that makes a lot of extra dishes and (in my world) potentially puts me in harms way. Instead I took out my immersion blender and pulsed it enough times that it looked like it was about half blended and half whole beans and veggies.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

Add the tomato sauce and 3/4 of the bacon, and let it heat through for another 5 minutes or so.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

Serve and garnish with the reserved bacon.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

You can’t really see the beans in the bowl because they sink to the bottom and are covered by the broth, but they’re there. (Did you catch that beautifully correct grammar?) I have to say that daddy would have loved this soup – probably a lot more than the canned variety. I know the HH and I did. It was hearty, flavorful, and filling without being heavy. I liked that I could control the sodium levels (and add more bacon garnish, if I want to). So now for the Pintesting results.

Overall Results: 4.7 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  This soup brought back the memory of how the canned name-sake in my past used to taste. It was like a time machine in a bowl. The flavors were spot on, and the texture was creamy and rich. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  The steps weren’t hard, but it’s not something for kids in the kitchen. Cooking bacon can cause grease burns from the popping and splattering if you have the heat too high. Also, the extra step of blending half of the soup, while necessary, comes with it’s risks. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time: The prep work only took about 20 minutes, but then add an hour of simmering time after that, plus one more time of heating it through and you’re looking at 1 1/2 hours to make from start to finish. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Cost: This is a great soup if you’re on a budget The most expensive ingredient was the bacon, which I got on sale for less than $5, and I had leftover bacon for BLTs. The cans of beans were about $1 each, and I had the rest of the ingredients on hand. We can estimate them at $5 for everything. The recipe says 4 servings, but the HH and I got 6 good-sized servings out of the pot of soup. That’s less than $2 per serving. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

 

Practicality: If you like bacon, or have fond memories of bean and bacon soup, or if you like soup, this is a must-try recipe. It’s already become a family favorite in our home, and I’ve made it twice now. 5 Pins 

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins