Hawaiian Sweet Rolls…and a One-Year Blogoversary

One year ago today, I took a deep breath, hit the "Publish" button and thus, A Shaggy Dough Story was born. Then I promptly threw up, curled into a ball on the floor and rocked back and forth for the better part of an hour wailing "Eeeeeeee! Eeeeeeee!" in a high-pitched voice. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating. A little. But still, you probably know the feeling I'm taking about if you've ever had to put yourself out there. The feeling that "PEOPLE WILL SEE ME! WHAT IF I MESS UP?!? (You know that scene in Carrie where she imagines that everyone is pointing and laughing at her? Yeah, THAT feeling, only at least I didn't go bonkers and annihilate my entire high school. I just kept on blogging. You decide which is worse.) This blogging thing really is kind terrifying, in a very first-world-problem-y sort of way…

But I'm glad I DID put myself out there and that I can now boast a few more than the 4 visitors I had during my first month (three of which were me.) I mean, it's not like I'm setting records here but I'm not sad about the numbers, especially since I'm not exactly promoting myself all over social media (I'm working on it but I definitely have a Facebook allergy). It's been challenging, it's been educational, it's been A LOT OF WORK, but most of all, it's been fun. I appreciate every visitor and comment (I'm working on that too—actually getting back to people who are nice enough to comment). I've also gotten to cyber "meet" a lot of really cool folks, but most of all, I'm very proud of myself for not giving up. That's big. B-I-G big because I have a bad habit of flitting off every time something new crosses my path. This was my fifth or sixth attempt at a blog and none of those ever made it past Post 2, including the food blog I started immediately before this one. (I actually paid for a premium Wordpress account and uploaded a page header, then I decided I hated the name I chose and that's all she wrote—literally.)

But here I am a year later, still at it, and to celebrate something I never thought I'd stick with, I'm baking something I never thought I'd bake, or even eat for that matter. It's not cake. Not even a cupcake. We're talking Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. Par-tay!

I have absolutely no idea why, but I've had a hate on for Hawaiian Sweet Rolls ever since I first heard of them a couple of years ago. Honestly, for no good reason, they just sounded so unappealing to me—like using a iced donut to make a ham sandwich (which I'm sure has been done by some hipster chef—blech.) Much like I'm determined to get through life without ever seeing the Rocky Horror Picture Show, I was determined never to let a Hawaiian Sweet Roll sully my shopping cart. Call me crazy… But the damned things kept showing up mysteriously all over the place—like Doctor Who's Bad Wolf—sending me subliminal messages ("Try me. You know you want to…") Finally, two weeks ago I got my usual Sunday recipe round-up email from King Arthur Flour and guess what was featured? Yup. Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. Resistance was futile (I'm mixing my science fiction references here.) I gave up, toddled into the kitchen still in my jammies and baked up a batch.

Well. I was wrong, dammit. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. These rolls are awesomely awesome in their awesomeness. Seriously. In the two weeks since that first batch, I've baked them four more times. And eaten them with just about anything (including, ahem, a ham sandwich). Mr. Dough was won over too. He even texted me, "These rolls are GREAT!" and Mr. Dough is not exactly Mr. Effusive when it comes to the compliments.

I still haven't tried the King's supermarket rolls these are based on so I don't have anything to compare the copycats to, but that doesn't really matter. These rolls stand on their own. I have tried a couple of different recipes though but I keep coming back to the one that won me over in the first place—the KAF version. Pillowy soft, fluffy, bubbly, ever so slightly sweet with a hint of pineapple. Oh yeah.  So if you haven't already tried baking these yourself, go and do it now. And maybe stick a birthday candle in one and celebrate with me.

Thanks for stopping by!

Serving suggestion (I always crack up when food manufacturers do that. Like you couldn't figure this stuff out for yourself. Ham on a sandwich? Inconceivable!)

Serving suggestion (I always crack up when food manufacturers do that. Like you couldn't figure this stuff out for yourself. Ham on a sandwich? Inconceivable!)

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

Ingredients

Sponge

  • 1/4 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast, SAF Gold instant yeast preferred
  • 2 tablespoons water

Dough

  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled a bit
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (more if needed)
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Glaze

  • 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water

Directions

  1. To make the sponge, combine the flour yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes while you gather the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Once the sponge has rested, add the pineapple juice, butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix with the flat paddle of mixer until combined
  3. In another medium bowl, stir together the remaining all-purpose flour, potato flour and salt, the add to the ingredients in the liquid ingredients in the mixer bowl.
  4. Mix all with the flat paddle for about 3 minutes at medium-high speed. Scrape down the bowl, switch to the dough hook and knead at medium speed for about 5 minutes. The dough will be very soft and somewhat sticky but if you feel it's too sticky add a bit more flour.
  5. Remove the dough, round it into a ball and place it in a lightly greased container, cover and let rise, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until puffy and doubled in size.
  6. Prepare a 9x13 by greasing it lightly. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, deflate gently and divide into 16 equal pieces.
  7. Round each piece into a smooth ball, then place in the prepared pan, cover with lightly greases plastic and set aside to rise for another hour or until very puffy.
  8. While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350°F.
  9. When the rolls have risen, mix the egg and water together, then brush each bun with the mixture.
  10. Bake for 20–25 minutes, turning the pan if needed to ensure even baking. The rolls should be golden brown and register 190°F.
  11. Remove the rolls from the oven, let cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Leftover will keep for a few days, well wrapped.

Very slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour. Why mess with perfection?

Notes

The recipe makes 16 slider-size buns, a little small for a sandwich in my opinion. I've made 12 in the same 9x13 pan and 9 in a 10" square pan. Rise and bake times were the same. Experiment!

My first batch came out great but the dough was sticky enough to be a real challenge. Subsequently, I added about 2–3 tablespoons of flour. The dough was still sticky but not unmanageable.