Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

If you’ve been looking for the perfect dinner roll recipe, look no further!  I’ve made these cloverleaf rolls three times already, and they are delicious.  They’re buttery, fluffy, and the clover shape makes for a pretty presentation too.  Shaping these rolls is easy because you just separate the dough into little balls and then bake three balls in each well of a muffin tin.  They are also fun to eat, because you can pluck them apart.

Most recently, I made these rolls for Thanksgiving and they were a big hit with everyone.  I made them a few days ahead of time and stored them in the freezer, which worked well for such a busy holiday.  To thaw and re-warm individual rolls, just zap them in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.  Or, to reheat a whole batch of rolls, just place them on a cookie sheet and thaw them at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.  Then re-heat them in a preheated oven at 350 until they are warmed through.

Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls

(print recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup skim milk, heated to 110 degrees F
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons) rapid rise (or instant) yeast
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces and softened, plus 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.  When the oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off.  Grease a large bowl.
  2. Whisk the milk, sugar, and yeast in a liquid measuring cup until the yeast dissolves.  Then whisk in the egg and egg yolk.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the flour and salt until combined.  With the mixer on low speed, add the milk mixture in a steady stream and mix until the dough begins to form, about 1 minute.
  4. Increase the speed to medium and add the softened butter, 1 piece at a time, until incorporated.  Continue to mix until the dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to form a smooth, cohesive ball.  Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl and turn to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and place the bowl in the turned-off oven until the dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  6. To shape the rolls:  Brush a 12-cup muffin tin with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.  Punch down the dough on a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into thirds.  Roll each third into an 18-inch long rope.  Then cut each rope into 12 equal pieces and cover the pieces with plastic (there will be 36 pieces of dough).
  7. On a clean, dry, un-floured work surface, roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball.  Place 3 balls, seam side down, in each muffin cup.  Cover the muffin tin loosely with plastic wrap and let rest in the turned-off oven until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.
  8. Remove the rolls from the oven and discard the plastic wrap.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake the rolls until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.  Brush the rolls with the remaining butter.  Cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack.  Serve warm.

To make ahead: The filled muffin tin can be refrigerated, covered, for 24 hours.  Let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.

Makes: 12 rolls

Source: Cook’s Country Magazine, October/November 2010

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