A Minor Setback

January 18, 2008


Okay, I’ll be brief today, because …. Well, because I’m busy. As I’ve told you way too many times, I’ve been delighting all week in cooking for two parties this weekend. And, can I just tell you, when you’re planning for two parties, the last thing you want to happen is for a recipe to totally, completely flop. That’s what happened with the rolls I had planned for tonight’s mini-burgers, the centerpiece of the Guitar Hero Party 2008 menu. What’s that? You think those rolls above look great? Well, that’s because they were my second attempt. The first ones—Ina Garten’s mini brioche rolls—are pictured below:


(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos and the recipe.)

See, I told you. I had envisioned perfect little golden domes, much like the vehicles for my favorite mini-burgers ever, which I enjoyed way too often when we lived down the street from their purveyor—Matchbox—in D.C. Instead, I got the mottled, lifeless masses I just showed you. Well, that would not do. So, instead of doing the sensible thing and heading to the grocery store for a suitable store-bought replacement, I foraged for a new recipe.


Apparently, I didn’t learn the lesson the first time that one should not attempt a brand spanking new recipe in the midst of a week’s worth of baking and chopping and roasting, oh my. Lucky for me, the second attempt was much, much more successful. For round two, I opted for Bobby Flay’s Parker House rolls, which I made in a miniature form.


And Mr. Flay didn’t disappoint. These little rolls came out puffed and golden brown, looking burger-worthy with their dusting of sesame seeds (which I adhered with a quick brush of melted butter before baking). I’m not sure where I went wrong with Ina’s recipe. I have to think it was my fault because I’ve never, ever had a problem with any of her recipes before. But no time to dwell on that now. I’ve got tiny burger patties to mold. Kevin’s promised to grill them up tonight despite the low, low temperatures here. And I can’t wait to slice into these rolls and stuff them with bite-sized burgers. Oh, and white cheddar and caramelized onions too, if you must know.


Parker House Rolls
Bobby Flay

1 1/2 cups milk
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 cups all-purpose flour

Place milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, stir in the butter and sugar and let cool. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit until foamy. Combine milk mixture, eggs, yeast, salt, and 1/2 of the flour in a mixer with the dough attachment and mix until smooth. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir until a smooth ball forms.

Remove from the bowl and knead by hand on a floured surface for about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 60 to 70 minutes. On a floured surface, punch down the dough and shape into desired shapes. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Cover again and let rise until doubled, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Preheat the oven 350 degrees F.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter before serving.


8 Responses to “A Minor Setback”

  1. Deborah Says:

    I make the birthday treats for birthdays at work, and without fail the last few birthdays, everything has gone wrong. I think it’s something about cooking for other people, and trying new recipes you don’t know doesn’t help either!! Your second try looks perfect, though!

  2. suzannemarya Says:

    What a fabulous idea for a party, Kristin! I’m totally planning a soiree right now just so I have the excuse to make Matchbox-style sliders (one for me, one for the baby in utero, one for me…isn’t that how it works?). 🙂

  3. Damian Says:

    We recently moved to the Chicago area from the DC area and we absolutely love the mini burgers at Matchbox! I will have to try these myself if it winds up working for you. Except maybe I’ll wait until it’s a little warmer…

  4. ourkitchensink Says:

    Deborah: What lucky co-workers you have! If I *had* to have something go wrong this week, I suppose it would have been these rolls. So, I can’t complain too much. All the other new recipes have gone great.

    Suzy: I like your math! And if it’s not too much of a cute overload, I think a mini-themed soiree would be just perfect for an expecting couple!

    Damian: Welcome to Chicago! We searched far & wide for Matchbox-esque mini burgers here and the closest we’ve found are those at Lux Bar. But they just aren’t the same and you can’t get a stellar pizza (our favorite was fire & smoke, if I remember right) with them too (I know, how hedonistic is a pizza-burger dinner?), like you can at Matchbox.

  5. Susan Says:

    An interesting historical note: the name of the roll derives from a hotel in Boston, the Parker House, per Wikipedia. The shape is usually a roll with 2 halves. Bobby Flay’s recipe as written at Food Network gives his method of creating the shape: On lightly floured surface with floured rolling pin, roll dough 1/2 inch thick. With floured 2 3/4-inch round cutter, cut dough into circles. Holding dough circle by the edge, dip both sides into melted margarine or butter pan; fold in half. Arrange folded dough in rows in pans, each nearly touching the other. Always fun to know the background on a recipe; I hope you think so, too.

  6. ourkitchensink Says:

    Susan: Very interesting, indeed. Thanks for sharing!

  7. JEP Says:

    Oh my grandmother used to make Parker House rolls—I can still smell the aroma drifting thru her house—-thanks for bringing back the memories!

  8. […] Parket house rolls (tags: baking bread) […]

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