Heavenly Dinner Rolls

Pin It DLD: Heavenly Dinner Rolls
Dinner in the Life of a Dad—Rich Dinner Rolls

I have a thing for breads. My wife says I have a gift for them, in fact. It is true that I love to bake bread, and have been doing so for a long time.

At first, I followed recipes found in books and online. These worked pretty well, and I learned a lot about baking from the experience. Then, when I was serving a LDS mission in Switzerland, I found Betty Bossi's Brot und Brotgerichte, and discovered that one can use a standard bread recipe and technique to make lots of different types of bread. I also learned the basics of the science of bread baking—namely that you can substitute ingredients as long as you somehow make up the difference.

Then, while working for Lofthouse, I was able to take a series of online classes from the American Institute of Baking, called "The Science of Baking." As part of this course I learned about bakers' percentage, which changed how I view baking forever. In short, bakers' percentage, unlike formula percentage, sets all ingredients as a percent of the total weight of flour. Why is this so life-changing? Well, it means that you can easily change the amount of one ingredient without having to recalculate every other ingredient. I always use this technique when I am writing a recipe.

This recipe started as a desire to make a really, really rich and delicious dinner roll to accompany some baked potato soup. I wanted something that was airy yet filling, sweet and rich yet chewy, and full of delicious flavor. The secret to achieving all of this is in the technique, the ingredients, and some patience. And without further ado, let's dive into the recipe for the best dinner rolls you will ever have.

Orange Gingerbread Cookies

Pin It DLD: Orange Gingerbread Cookies

Christmas time is a wonderful time. A wonderful time of the year.
Filled with smiles and laughter and fun all around.
With cakes, pies, and cookies your joy will abound.
Gingerbread cottages sparkle with snow,
Yet their fate is to wait til in the garbage they go.
Why not instead, with joy and with glee,
Make a gingerbread cookie? It's easy you'll see.
All you need is some time—and an orange or two—
And then for Christmas treat fixes, your friends will come to you.

I really do love gingerbread. I apparently like it so much that I wrote a (really bad) poem about it. What I don't like are hard "gingerbread" crackers over-flavored with cloves and allspice whose sole reason for existance is to be turned into amateur building material.

Chewy CSID-Friendly Cookies

Pin It DLD: CSID-Friendly Cookies

DISCLAIMER: This recipe is intended to bea reduced-starch/starch-free/sucrose-free recipe.
These cookies are NOT low-calorie, sugar-free, or gluten-free.
Please use caution when adding a new food to a special or restricted diet.

Hello again recipe seekers. I am very glad that you have decided to join me today as I have a great recipe to share with you—CSID-Friendly COCONUT FLOUR COOKIES. Before you scoff and hit the back button on your browser in disgust at yet another failed cookie recipe, give me a minute to explain.

Way back in January of 2013 my oldest son was diagnosed with CSID, which is a genetic disorder which prevents his body from producing the enzymes needed to break down sucrose (table sugar) and maltose (a major component of all starch). Think of it like lactose-intolerance for sugar and starch. A few months later my second son received the same diagnosis. Over the past almost three years we have managed to recreate many "normal" foods in a CSID-friendly fashion, but I hadn't yet really been able to make a really good cookie recipe for them. This was somewhat of a sour point with me as I worked for two years developing cookie recipes for Lofthouse Cookies.

True, there are many recipes for cookies which do not use wheat flour as their base, and there are even some for cookies which don't use any grains. Meringues come to mind, as do one of my favorite Christmas cookies—Zimtsterne. While both of these cookies are delicious, they are a pain in the rear to make, and they don't really work for the good old American staple, chocolate chip cookies. My wife has searched on and off for a good CSID-friendly cookie recipe, and has found some based on coconut flour, but the cookies they yielded didn't really work for me. They were often dry and crumbly, and I wanted something soft, moist, and chewy.

Then one Saturday I was suddenly hit with inspiration, and I knew how to solve my problem. Chocolate chip cookies are sweet (a no brainer, just add a sweetner), but also chewy, which is brought about by a combination of hygroscopic properties of brown sugar and the protein network created by the gluten found in flour. My revelation was that I could replicate both of these by using agave syrup and vital wheat gluten. The bulking of wheat flour was replaced by almond flour, and the moisture absorption was accomplished with coconut flour. Further structure comes from two eggs instead of the usual one. My go-to replacement for sugar, dextrose, isn't sweet enough to use by itself, so I split the amount 50/50 with fructose. And just like that, a cookie was born.

What was a little suprising for me was that these cookies were actually really good. If you didn't tell me before hand that they were developed to be a CSID-friendly cookie, I probably wouldn't have known. They are delicately coconutty, delightfully chewy, and deliciously moist. These would be a good base for frosting, ice cream sandwiches, or eating with milk. Enjoy!