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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Football Grub (and an excuse to make something sweet)

Our very first Superbowl party! To be honest, every year around our house the Superbowl pretty much comes and goes unnoticed. We may tune in for half-time or some of the commercials - the only time of year I will purposely watch a commercial and not change the channel - but never the game, let alone the whole thing.

What is different this year? Well, for the past several years my husband has worked with mostly women who weren't interested in football, and frankly, neither was he. Now he works at the indoor wind tunnel in Ogden, IFLY Utah. He has been a skydiver for years and has almost 4,000 skydives and roughly 130+ BASE jumps. Also, he and his best friend got sponsored for skydiving for the first time last year and are loving it.

You would think that all of that would be enough. It isn't. He is also a huge Supercross fan and will watch any of the X-Games type sports. Never really any mainstream sports though. Now, this year, he is suddenly watching a lot of football. Not really obsessively, and I don't think he even has a favorite team or feels the need to watch. I think he just enjoys watching a good game. So, this presents an interesting first time opportunity for me since we have never thrown any kind of "tail-gate" like party. This is more his speed.

I guess on this we both win. I get to plan a fun menu of things I don't really make all the time and he gets to have his buddies from work over to watch the game. This makes it rather difficult to impress him. His buddies however, I am hoping will be properly thrilled. Did I mention that only one of them coming over isn't a bachelor? Oh yea. I've got good guinea pigs coming.

So, I thought I would tell you about a few of the things we had. I made mac 'n cheese again as well as potato wedges and chicken bacon bites. Other than that I didn't have luck with getting pictures of some of the other things, so here is what I did get.

I made these rolls as buns for mini cheeseburgers and had more dough than needed for, I made cinnamon buns with part of the dough. Yeah, yeah, yeah - I could have just made less dough, but there have been some interesting mishaps in the kitchen lately... that, however, is another story (which I will confess to in the near future).

In the mean time, though I didn't get pictures of the hamburger rolls, I did get pictures of the cinnamon rolls. This dough makes a very soft, pillowy cinnamon roll. I don't recommend it for sticky buns, but they are great for cinnamon rolls. The only change I would make from below is to decrease the amount of salt in the dough.

POTATO ROLLS (for mini hamburgers)

Makes 30 to 35 rolls.


2 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 packages active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar, plus a pinch
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, plus more for bowl and plastic wrap
4 teaspoons coarse salt
5 1/2 cups to 6 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting


1. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook potatoes until knife-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid. Mash potatoes; set aside.

2. Cool reserved liquid to 105 degrees. In the detached bowl of an electric mixer, whisk liquid, yeast, and pinch of sugar. Set aside until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.

3. Attach bowl to electric mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment. With the mixer on low, add remaining sugar, reserved potatoes, buttermilk, 4 tablespoons melted butter, and salt. Gradually add enough flour to make a slightly sticky dough. Knead dough until smooth, about 2 minutes. Brush a mixing bowl with butter. Place dough in bowl; cover bowl with buttered plastic wrap. Set aside to rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

4. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough out 3/4 inch thick. Cut dough into 2-inch-wide strips. Cut strips into triangles or squares; place at least 1 1/4 inches apart on baking sheets. Brush tops with remaining melted butter; cover with buttered plastic wrap. Let rise until dough does not spring back when pressed with a finger, 15 minutes. Bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes; serve.


For the filling:

2/3 C light brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C butter, melted
1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

For the glaze:

2 C powdered sugar
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp milk (plus additional if needed to get desired consistency)
Whisk together til smooth in a small bowl.

For the cinnamon rolls after you turn the dough out roll it as above into a rectangle. Brush with the melted butter, leaving a strip clean at the top to seal the dough after rolling. Spread with the cinnamon mixture and press lightly into the dough. Cut into 1 1/2-inch slices using a sharp serated knife. Place in buttered baking dish to rise again (about 30 minutes). Bake as above, 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before adding the glaze.

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