noun: a small piece or amount of something, esp. one that is left over after the greater part has been used.
synonyms: noun: fragment - piece - bit - shred

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rollin' Out My Irish...

Mashed potatoes, potato water, butter, sugar & salt.  
Hello, Happy Sunday and Welcome to the Farm! Here's to weather being warmer and people feeling better.  I know that with our weather being so bitter cold, warming up and going back to bitter cold, people around here have been S.I.C.K.!!!  So many of my co-workers down for the count and of course hubby and I ended up ill too.  Now that the weather is at least on a more even keel maybe we can get a few windows open on the warmer days and get some fresh air inside!  Fresh air in...sickly air out...well, that's my hope anyway.

Mixing the potato mixture with the
flour and yeast.
While we're all sitting inside celebrating that at least it's warm enough to even LOOK outside, I'm preparing my Irish sidekick for our potluck at work tomorrow.  Of course since it's going to be St. Patrick's Day, we are having a "green" food theme.  I can't really come up with anything green except for a couple of things, but they were already taken.  Since I wasn't really sure I was even attending until today, I decided to make something that would go WITH the green food.  Rolls.  There appeared to be some pretty scrumptious looking dishes on the list when I left on Friday; a couple of them being stews and main dishes.  What better to go with that than rolls?  But...these are not just ANY rolls...these are my very own Irish Blarney Rolls with Homemade Butter.  Oh yeah, NOW we're talkin'!!!

See how it pulls away from the side?  It's
time to chill the dough.
Now, I know you're just dying to know what Irish Blarney Rolls are (and if you're not, don't tell me cuz it'll hurt my feeler!).  Basically, it's a potato roll. Really.  But they are the most airy, light, lovely little bundles of heaven ever!  Oh my goodness, when I came up with these, my little taste buds began to love me more then ever before! Honestly, they're the best!  Even if you're afraid of yeast, and I know quite a few people that are, don't be.  This is seriously the most simply put together recipe and it's so easy to do ahead of time.  The refrigeration is the key to the making ahead.  Most yeast doughs will want to be risen in a warm place until doubled, and I do that with this one, but not until the end.  FIRST, I refrigerate.  That part actually started out with a question because the first time I refrigerated the dough I didn't know what would actually happen.  But I was at the point of putting the dough in a bowl to rise when I had to leave.  As in leave the house for a while.  Well crap, now what?  I knew I was going to be gone longer than the rising time (waaaaaayyyyyyy longer) and I didn't want to come home to a kitchen full of exploded dough all over the ceiling.  You laugh now, but that really did happen and it was a pain in my Irish/Italian arse to clean up.  I figured what the heck...I'll stick it in the fridge and worry about it when I get home.  By the time I got back home, it was extremely late and there was no way I was going to get in that kitchen and make rolls.  I remember going to bed figuring I'd just through the dough out in the morning.   All I could think was here was an epic fail because I got called away.  Oh well, life isn't ALWAYS perfect, right?

Into a greased bowl and covered with saran wrap.  Pop
into the fridge for up to 24 hours.
WRONG!  I got up the next morning and had to move the dough to get to what I wanted out of the fridge so I took the dough out and plopped it on the counter, where it promptly fell, just as if I had punched it down. It had risen in the fridge and was as puffy as could be.  Hmmm, that's a good sign, right?  Breakfast got made, showers got taken and the daily life of three kids and their parents started.  While starting to clean up the breakfast dishes, I remembered I'd have to do something with the dough.  It wasn't ruined, or at least it didn't look like it, so I went ahead and finished out the recipe.  The rolls turned out wonderfully light and as perfect as all get out.  Yay!  I  was pretty sure I heard angels singing, but I realized very quickly that it was only the tea kettle screaming.  So close!!!!

It is risen!  LOL!  Chill up to 24 hours so that the
yeast is not affected greatly.
That was when I realized, though, that I could prepare the dough ahead and make up the rolls the next day.  And it made me happy, because with three kids and ball games, play rehearsals, dance class, birthday parties, school get the point...sometimes I needed to be able to do some things ahead of time.  Now all the kiddos are grown (the baby is 23) but this is still the best ever recipe.  Now that I live somewhere else and I drive an hour and a half to work and an hour and a half home, half the time I'd dead tired and the last thing I want to do is walk in and cook a huge meal.  Being able to at least start the process ahead of time is so great!  Mr. Scrappin can still have a nice meal that's homemade instead of pre-packaged or fast food.  And who doesn't like bread. WHO?  Ok, I'm not a huge bread fan, but that doesn't mean I don't like it!  If it's hot and fresh I can definitely eat my fair share.  So it's a perfect win/win.  Easy, fast prep and able to do ahead of time with a result that's out of this world.  I'm pretty darn sure that my Irish ancestors would be proud.

Roll into 24 rolls and let rise in a warm area.
My great grandmother and grandfather came over from Ireland and, although I only got to meet my great grandmother once, when I was a little girl, the meal left a huge impression.  It was the first and only time I'd met my Irish side and there were a lot of them.  My grandfather had 22 brothers and sisters.  Lord help me!  But I remember a lot of laughing and the normal family arguments about whose dish was better than whose and that bread...oh, that bread.  I'd never had potato bread before (or even heard of it) and it was seriously TO. DIE. FOR.  Flash forward to adulthood and several tried recipes for potato bread and rolls and then the extension to my own.  Don't get me wrong, the others were very, very good, but I kept thinking that there was something missing.  After a while I thought maybe it was a figment of my imagination that none of them tasted like my great grandmother's rolls, but it wasn't and still isn't.  So I tweaked this and changed that and messed around with it all and came up with my own version.  And no, these do not taste like my Mauzy's rolls either, but they are as close as I've been able to come.  It has occurred to me on numerous occasions that she had to have had a secret ingredient in there somewhere.  And out of all the family members, NOT ONE has her recipe.  Hmmm.  I'm beginning to wonder if there even was a recipe.  Ah well, these are still reallllly goood!!!!  The best thing about them besides their taste is their name.  I made it up.  Hahahahaha!  Mainly because "potato rolls" sounds so boring and overused.  And since I'm quite the jokestress, why not?  I think it's a great name!  AND, since my maiden name was O'Brien, it seems quite fitting.  So, Irish Blarney Rolls is the perfect name to me.  :D

The rolls are risen and melted butter brushed over the top
before baking.  Yum!
And the only thing to make them better is, of course, homemade butter!  When I was in second grade in Mrs. Kleeman's class, we did the butter experiment, just like a lot of other elementary school classes. We had the jar that we all shook and our teacher had brought in fresh baked bread.  We shook that jar and shook that jar and shook that jar until we got butter.  I remember us all being so excited that we had made real butter.  LOL!  The memories we have, huh? But I also remember how easy it seemed.  Probably because I didn't have to shake the jar all by myself for an hour, which seems like all day when you're in second grade!  Come to think of it, it seems like all day when you're an adult too!  Since we each took a turn, it seemed to go by fairly fast.  But, I turned 50 last year and that was a long time ago...sigh.

Fresh out of the oven and soooo good!!
With all the new age technology, making homemade butter is the simplest thing in the world. You can still use the jar, which is seriously fun when kids are involved, but I use my mixer.  Yep, my mixer. I just chill my bowl and the whip attachment (I have a Kitchen Aid) and pour in the cream and go to town. Once you have your butter, you want to be sure to rinse it so that it doesn't turn rancid or have a funky taste of leftover buttermilk. But really, it is the easiest thing in the world.

Ellen's Irish Blarney Rolls

4-1/3 - 5 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons yeast
1 cup mashed potatoes
1-1/2 cups water (105 - 115 degrees) (I use the potato water)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt

To prepare dough:

In large bowl combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast.  In small mixing bowl combine potatoes, water, butter, sugar and salt.  Add to dry ingredients in mixing bowl.  Beat with electric mixer for 30 seconds on low, scraping side of bowl.  Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.  Stir in remaining flour, as needed, with a dough hook, (humidity and altitude can play a roll in how much flour you actually need)   until dough pulls away from sides of mixing bowl and forms a ball.  Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

To prepare rolls:

Grease 13x9-inch pan.  Remove dough from refrigerator; punch dough down and turn out on lightly floured surface.  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.  Shape dough into 24 balls, place in greased pan.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size (about 40 minutes).  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Homemade Butter

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt (completely optional - I don't always use)

In chilled bowl, with chilled beater attachment, beat the heavy cream and salt until butter is formed. 

Extra little helps for the first timer:  

I have a Kitchen Aid and use the whisk attachment on Speed 8, although you can use any hand mixer or food processor as well.

The "flattening" stage after the "whipping cream" stage
The cream goes through "stages" so be a little patient, although this is not a long process.  The cream will get to the "whipping cream" stage; let it go right through.  It will flatten out into a kind of "cottage cheese" looking stage; let it go through this as well.  At last the cream will be "sloshy" and you will think you have done something wrong...YOU HAVEN'T!!!  This is actually the "butter" stage.  The liquid in the bowl is buttermilk and the butter itself will be in chunks in the bowl.  

Drain the buttermilk out and then rinse your butter.
While the butter is "churning" prepare a colander with cheesecloth or several paper towels and place in a bowl to catch the liquid.  Trust me on this!  Place the churned butter in the lined colander and let sit for five minutes to get the extra buttermilk out.  Rinse the butter in paper towels or cheesecloth in cold water (the colder the better) until the water is clear so that all the buttermilk is out of the butter.  Let the butter sit another five minutes and place in container of your choice.

Pour the buttermilk into a container if you're going to use it (for waffles, soaking chicken, recipes, etc.)

You will not always have the same ratio of buttermilk to butter.  Sometimes I have very little buttermilk and other times I have quite a lot.  It varies so don't think you've made an error somewhere if you don't come out the same every time.

This process usually takes between 10 to 20 minutes.  Quick, easy and sooooo tasty!!!

Sweet, creamy, yummy butter!!!

So there you have it, my Irish Blarney Rolls and Homemade Butter.  What better to have on your table for St. Patrick's Day?  Make them soon and roll out your own Irish!!


  1. happy st. patty's day!
    those rolls look amazing

  2. Thank you Mary Pat; right back atcha!!! My husband pouted when I left with them this morning

  3. I love potato bread and your rolls look delicious! They make me hungry just to look at them!! Stopping by from You're Gonna Love It Tuesday!

    1. Terri, I hope you make them and love them as much as I do! Thank you so much for stopping in; I hope you come back soon!