My husband’s birthday is coming up. And, as is the case with every other gift giving occasion, I’m at a complete loss for gift ideas. The gift needs to be meaningful, original, and inexpensive. Being that I’m no longer a “bread-winner” in our home, the last requirement is the most important, and in lots of ways, most difficult, to achieve. A few years ago I purchased a flag and had it flown over the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor in Tim’s honor and had a professional photographer friend snap a photo of it. I gave Tim the framed photo, flag, and personalized certificate of authenticity for that particular occasion. Meaningful, check; original, check; inexpensive, check; totally awesome, psh, hell yeah! <Pats self on back>.
Photo by Katie Hutchison//Stand in the Sun Photography
Tim mentioned early last year that he wished he could keep our then only daughter, Annabelle, little forever. So I thought and thought and decided that for Father’s Day I would hire a photographer to take photos of Tim and Annabelle on our property. It wouldn’t keep her little, but at least it would preserve her youth and their love in photo form forever. Not exactly inexpensive, but the results were priceless. Another smashing success.
This year’s Anniversary gift was less successful. I got us matching his and hers hiking pants…so dorky. Both pairs were WAY too big so I sent them back and requested different sizes. Those sizes were unavailable so the company just refunded the money. Bottom line, there ended up being no gift. So now the pressure is really on.
Before I go on, let me assure you that this gift-giving stress is self inflicted. Tim is very low-key and the most gracious gift recipient. Last night in bed he told me to get him some new socks. Oh sweetie, nothing says, “I Love You” quite like a pair of birthday socks. Sigh.
He knows how fiercely I love him so a gift won’t reassure him of that, and a lack of gift won’t make him question it. And yet, I find myself spending lots of time fretting about this.
Love. Fierce love. And Time. Now THERE’S a gift. Yes, let’s do that. Babysitter, steak, salad, homemade bread, love, time, and an uninterrupted conversation. We have a winner, and it’s way better than matching pants. Happy Birthday to my one and only!
These garlic-herb pull apart rolls are a labor of love, they require a bit of time, and they contain a whopping TWO STICKS of butter, but man, are they worth it. I adapted this recipe from a Food & Wine cinnamon roll recipe by pastry chef Deborah Racicot that was equally magnificent. The unbaked dough freezes exceptionally well so you can make them days in advance and just let them rise and bake the day you plan to eat them. I think they’d be a lovely accompaniment to your Thanksgiving (or birthday) table! Be sure to serve them warm with a bit more <gasp> salted butter. Happy baking friends!
If you make these garlic-herb pull apart rolls and want to share your success with other Just Warm Bread fans, please take a photo and share it on Facebook or Instagram #justwarmbread! I LOVE seeing your beautiful creations 🙂
- 1 cup / 240 mL Warm 2% or whole milk (about 110 degrees)
- 4½ teaspoons / 2 envelopes Active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon + 1 pinch sugar
- 1 stick / ½ cup / 113 g Unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1½ teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2 Large eggs, room temperature
- 4¼ cups / 646 g All-purpose flour
- 1 stick / ½ cup / 113 g Unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 Large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Dried basil
- 1 teaspoon Dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon Dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon Dried rosemary
- ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black pepper
- ½ cup / 25 g Freshly grated Parmesan OR Asiago cheese
- Heat milk in a liquid measuring cup in the microwave for about 45 seconds. It should feel very warm but not hot. Add yeast and a pinch of sugar to the warm milk. Stir to combine and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with the paddle attachment on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time until combined. (You may need to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides.) While the mixer is running, mix the flour and salt together in a medium sized bowl.
- Reduce mixer speed to medium low. Add half of the flour mixture followed by half of the milk mixture to the butter then repeat. Allow mixer to run for 1 min or until most of the flour has been incorporated. Turn mixer off. Switch to the dough hook attachment and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. Dump dough out of bowl, lightly butter the bottom and sides of the bowl and then return the dough to the buttered bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.
- After the dough has nearly doubled in size, use a sharp knife or bench scraper to cut the dough into 4 equally sized portions (mine were each 278 grams). Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper at least 15 inches long. Roll one piece of dough into a 13 X 7 inch rectangle on a piece of the parchment. Repeat with the remaining dough and parchment. With the 4 pieces of dough on 4 separate pieces of parchment paper, stack them on a baking sheet and transfer the baking sheet to the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile make the butter mixture. In a small bowl, combine softened butter, minced garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Grate cheese into a separate bowl and place in refrigerator until ready to use (to prevent clumping).
- Remove the dough from the freezer. Working with one piece of dough at a time, spread ¼ of the butter mixture over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle ¼ of the cheese (2 tablespoons) evenly over the butter. Starting at the long end of the dough, roll it tightly (see photo), pinching the seam on the bottom. Repeat with remaining dough. Place the rolls back on a parchment lined baking sheet and return to the freezer for at least 20 minutes or up to 3 days*, tightly covered.
- Generously grease a 9 or 10 inch springform pan. After 20 minutes, remove the rolls from the freezer. Trim uneven ends then use a sharp knife to cut each roll into 12 equally sized pieces. Arrange the cut dough in a circle starting at the outside and working your way in. Leave a bit of space between each piece of dough as they will need room to rise (see photo). (You will likely end up with an extra roll of dough. Place it in a freezer proof bag and save it for a rainy day...be sure to use a smaller pan when cooking the smaller batch.) Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for an hour or two. The dough should look puffy and the spaces between each round should be gone.
- *If you froze the dough for several days, take it out of the freezer and let it rest at room temperature for about 25 minutes before attempting to slice it into evenly sized pieces. Once the dough is sliced and arranged in the pan, allow it to rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours or until the dough looks puffy and the spaces between each round are gone.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls for 25-35 minutes. Start checking early. When the tops of the rolls are golden brown, they are done. Serve with very soft salted butter.