Hamburger or Hot Dog Rolls

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This recipe, originally from here, was very simple and made nice soft rolls. I tried both hamburger and hot dog roll shapes and they also worked great for some chicken sandwiches. I’ve made them with only white AP flour, and also with part whole wheat, and both were delicious. They also freeze well, so definitely give them a try!

Ingredients (makes 10 hamburger rolls or 16 hot dog rolls)
360mL (1-1/2 cups) warm water
3/4 tbsp yeast
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
4 cups (520g) all-purpose flour (can substitute part whole wheat)

Instructions
Combine water, yeast, sugar, oil, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix well.

Add the remaining 2 cups of flour a little at a time until the dough is firm enough to knead. Knead for about 5 minutes until smooth.

Place in a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, until double in size. Then punch down the dough and shape into rolls.

For hamburger rolls, use about 85g (3oz) of dough and roll into a sphere. Then press down on the baking sheet to flatten them slightly. Allow about 5cm / 2 inches of space in between so they don’t touch when they rise and bake.

For hot dog rolls, use 55g (2 oz) of dough and roll into a log shape. Place on the baking sheet, closer together than the hamburger rolls (about an inch apart). (They may seem small, but don’t forget they’ll rise quite a bit.)

Let the rolls rise again for about an hour.

Bake at 200C / 400F for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Caramel Hot Cocoa

caramel hot cocoaThis past weekend, the Tokyo area was hit by a “blizzard”. I put it in quotations because I grew up in the Northeast U.S., where 4 inches of snow is not even worth mentioning. But here in eastern Japan, snow is unusual – once or twice a year at most – and usually just a dusting. Anyway, all usual transportation stopped for a day or two, and everyone was finding alternate ways to get where they needed to go, and doing a lot of walking in the snow and slush in shoes that were not intended for that kind of use. It seems like everything has been cold and wet, and when I come home to my non-heated house, the first thing I want is hot cocoa. This caramel hot cocoa is my recent favorite – if you want it to taste more like “salted caramel”, you can add a little extra salt!

Ingredients (serves 1)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cream
1 tbsp cocoa
3/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp vanilla
sprinkle of salt (or more to taste)

Instructions

Put the sugar in a dry saucepan over medium heat until it begins to melt. Let the sugar melt and caramelize into a brown liquid. Don’t stir – but you can swirl the pan a little if it doesn’t melt evenly. Don’t walk away – it happens very quickly and the caramel can burn in an instant.

When the sugar is melted and has turned a reddish-brown, turn off the heat and add the cream carefully. It may splatter a little bit. Immediately whisk or stir, but don’t worry if it hardens up on you.* Add the cocoa and mix it into the caramel.

Add the milk and turn the heat back on medium-low. Whisk until the milk heats up and begins to steam. Then add the vanilla and salt.

* If the caramel completely hardens, just add the milk first, turn the heat on, and the caramel will melt into the milk. Then you can add the cocoa powder afterwards.