Since my dad’s chemo treatments have knocked him for a loop (and messed up his taste buds so most food tastes bad to him), my parents decided not to host Thanksgiving this year. On the flip side, my sister-in-law is busy in the
Ukraine adopting three teenage girls, so she isn't hosting my husband’s family
either. The result: Instead of trying to juggle two family gatherings, my
sweetheart and I decided to have a Thanksgiving dinner made for two.
We’re having a pretty traditional meal including the turkey (I’m putting herb butter under the skin for the first time, using Ina Garten’s recipe), dressing (a sausage recipe from my former neighbor John in New Hampshire), mashed potatoes and gravy (a must!), green bean casserole (The Picky Eater insists we have this dish), cranberry sauce (a Martha Stewart recipe from years ago), rolls and pumpkin pie.
Does your menu include those crescent rolls that come in the blue can? Or maybe some other heat-and-serve rolls? May I make a suggestion? Pick up an extra can of pumpkin and try these Shaker Squash Rolls.
I got this recipe while working as a tour guide for the
Canterbury Shaker Village
in New Hampshire and shared it in a pumpkin article I wrote for the Topeka Capital-Journal. The Shakers were a
Christian group who came from England in 1774. Shaker communities existed from
the east coast to Ohio. They were
a peaceful people who lived in a communal setting and showed their love of God
through hard work. They were also celibate and lived as brothers and sisters,
which may explain why their membership has declined to just a handful that now
live in Maine.
Working at the village was one of my favorite jobs. It’s a beautiful place, and a sense of peace always came over me when I stepped onto the grounds. (Be sure to visit there any time you’re in
These rolls can be made with any type of squash puree and are somewhat sweet, similar to Hawaiian rolls. What I like about the recipe is you cut the rolls out like you would biscuits. To make ahead, you can either freeze or refrigerate the unbaked rolls and then bake when ready. (Do this after they are cut out and placed in the baking pan, but before the final rise.) Just give them time to warm-up and rise before youbake.
Believe me, these rolls are worth the time. I plan to make mine the day before. They will also taste great along side a warm bowl of soup, stew or chili throughout the winter.
Shaker Squash Rolls
Makes 24 rolls
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 envelope of active dry yeast
4 to 8 cups flour
1 1/2 cups squash puree or 16 ounces pumpkin puree
Heat milk and butter either on a stove top or in the microwave until the butter is melted. Pour into mixing bowl and add sugar and salt. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Let mixture cool until it reaches 105 to 115 degrees. (When you touch the mixture, it should just feel warm.) Add yeast and stir to dissolve. Let sit for a five minutes until yeast become active.
Mix in 2 cups of flour, plus eggs and squash puree. If using a mixer, mix on a low speed with the dough hook. Add 2 more cups of flour, and then add additional flour if necessary, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Continue to mix for an additional two minutes until dough is soft and smooth. Turn out onto a flat surface and knead until dough is smooth, soft, and springy.
Place dough into a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut out the rolls with a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. Place the rolls into 2 lightly greased 9-inch round cake pans just 1/8-inches apart. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until double in size, about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake the rolls for 15 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush the tops with melted butter and serve warm.