My husband ordered a latte today in his usual Portland coffee shop and received this:

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Ladies and gentleman: Laura Ingalls Wilder latte art! (no, really, not kidding.) I was super impressed.

So, in my last entry I recalled the yeasty goodness of the Sister Schubert dinner roll, a staple in all of our family holiday meals. Since Sister Schubert has only been in operation for a good two decades now (and I’m holding steady at the ripe old age of 30), I know that these rolls must have been handmade for our holiday dinners at some point. I was lucky to find my grandmother’s yeast roll recipe in our family cookbook. I did a bit of research, and these “Parker House” style rolls are certainly our handmade version of the Sister Schubert dinner roll.

My grandmother, Frances Showers, is responsible for this recipe, although I do not know if it’s something she’s adapted from another source, or if she inherited it from another relative. My mother tells me that my Mimi only made these for special occasions, and would usually make up a couple of batches and freeze them for holiday dinners. Mama tells me that on Wednesdays, my grandmother would make up a batch of this dough and then fry it up into donuts, topped with a powdered sugar glaze. This was a special treat for my great-grandfather, who would come over for a visit every week.

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You can tell how well-loved this recipe is just by looking at the page!

Parker House Style Yeast Rolls

2 c. milk
½ c. sugar
½ c. shortening

6 c. flour
2 packages yeast (I used 4 ½ tsp SAF instant yeast)
½ scant c. warm water

1/8 c. warm water
1 ½ tsp salt
1 heaping tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda

Allow oven to heat to 200 degrees and turn off – I leave the oven door open slightly so it’s not overly warm.

Heat milk, sugar and shortening until the shortening is melted. Transfer to a large, non-metallic mixing bowl. Allow mixture to cool slightly.

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Sift the flour and add about 3 cups to the cooling milk/shortening/sugar to make a thin batter. Dissolve the yeast in the scant ½ cup of warm water and add to the batter. Place in oven, covered, and allow to rise until dough is double in bulk.

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After dough has risen, dissolve the salt, baking soda and baking powder in the 1/8 cup of warm water and add to the dough. Here, I transferred to the bowl of my KitchenAid mixer and beat the dough with the paddle until smooth. Add remaining flour and mix until you have a good dough consistency (dough will be thick and shaggy). Here, I switched to my dough hook and kneaded the dough in my mixer for about 8 minutes. Dough will clear the side of the bowl and will be nice and smooth, not too sticky.

At this point, you can refrigerate the dough until later or make into rolls. To shape, take a small ball of dough, flatten into an oval with your rolling pin, and fold over. Dip in butter and place in greased 9 inch cake pan. Let rise – recipe says about 1 and ½ hours, but mine only needed about 30 minutes before it was ready to go. I think my yeast is superhuman.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

You may freeze formed rolls in pan until ready to use – allow 4 hours to rise.

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(sorry for the not-so-spectacular light.. all of my lovely natural light disappeared!)

Bake at 400 degrees until brown (took me about 20 minutes). Slather in butter and enjoy. I got about two dozen rolls out of this and a dozen donuts, although I think I probably could have gotten about four panfuls of rolls altogether if I had not done the donuts.

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To make these as donuts – roll out to 1/2” thickness and cut dough with a donut cutter. Preheat oil in a dutch oven. I used peanut oil, about three inches deep. The oil will be ready when you throw a little piece of dough in and it bubbles and rises to the top of the oil. My donuts cooked for about a minute on each side (until nice and golden brown) and were sprinkled in powdered sugar. I also did a basic powdered sugar glaze (1 cup powdered sugar, mixed with 1-2 TBSP milk, a few drops of vanilla extract, mix until smooth! I also added some orange zest for a little more interesting flavor.)

Overall, these turned out so well. The donuts were delicious! And the rolls were nice but not as sweet as the Sister Schubert (Matt liked that, of course, but I would have preferred a sweeter taste.)

I wish that I could have done a better job with the “Parker House” shape – the crumb was a little coarse and it reminded me more of a biscuit than a roll. I wonder if using butter in place of the shortening would make a difference?  This one is definitely a keeper of a recipe, though, and I will definitely try it again!

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You can download this recipe as a PDF by clicking here.

Love, Celine

One of my favorite parts of our family holiday meals is the BREAD. I am an unashamed lover of all breads. As a child, I distinctly remember one of the qualifications for adulthood was that I did not just immediately stuff all of the dinner rolls in my mouth when I sat down to eat. The dinner roll of choice in my family, for as far back as I can remember, is the Sister Schubert dinner roll. I guess Sister Schubert has only been in operation for the last 20 years, so we must have had some real homemade Parkerhouse rolls before that, but Sister Schubert definitely has ruled the roost in our house for a while.

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Here is an article from the New York Times about the history of Sister Schubert and how her rolls have become a staple of Southern family suppers. I have to wonder what recipe was used in my family before Sister Schubert came along? Maybe that will be our next project!

Love, Celine

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The Out Home Spice Cake was my mother’s first request for our blog project. I was happy to try it out – I love spice cake! I believe I’d given it a try quite a while ago, when I had very few baking skills that didn’t include mixing something from a box. I had bad luck with it then, and I would bet it was because I beat it to the point of no return before it baked up into a nice spicy looking brick.

This recipe is credited in one place to Iris Kimbriel, who was my grandmother’s mother, and in another is credited to Julia Showers, who was my grandfather’s mother. The recipe states that it was a favorite out at “Elmhurst,” which is generally believed to be a plantation house that remained in the family for a couple of generations. (Family, anyone want to tell that story? Any pictures to share?) I have to wonder if the recipe dates even further back than my great grandmothers. It’s also partially credited to “Miss Katie Ellington,” who was a friend of Iris Kimbriel.

So, obviously, I have two versions of this recipe, one from the Phoenix cookbook (a cookbook that is chock full of old family recipes.. More on this one later) and a handwritten recipe card that belonged to my grandmother. They are basically the same recipe, except my grandmother’s version doubles the nutmeg (wise lady) and uses cocoa instead of chocolate pieces. I left the cocoa out altogether.

Here’s what I did:

3 eggs

2 c. sugar

1/2 c. butter (recipe calles for shortening or lard.. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that!)

3 c. flour

1 c. buttermilk

2 level teaspoons of buttermilk

2 t. nutmeg

1 t. cinnamon (or more, see notes)

1/2 t. cloves (or more, see notes)

Pinch of salt

3 T cocoa (that’s up to you, friend!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.

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Sift together your dry ingredients. Cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat. Dissolve the two teaspoons of baking soda in the buttermilk (but PLEASE, for the love of your countertop, be sure that you use a cup that will allow for the fizzy explosion when the buttermilk and the soda meet. It was almost like a science experiment in our house.) To the egg and butter mixture, alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients.  When mixing like this for a cake, you always want to add the dry ingredients first and then the wet. This inhibits the formation of gluten, which will help the cake not to be overly chewy. Do NOT overmix.

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Pour the batter into the prepared pans and tap gently on the counter to help even the layers and eliminate air pockets. Bake in preheated oven for 27 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

NOTES:

– I added a pinch of salt to this – it was not in the original recipe but I thought it would go well. I think I could have upped the salt, maybe to a 1/2 tsp.

– I also doubled the cinnamon and the cloves. I think the resulting flavor was perfectly spicy.

– I used cake flour, which is supposed to yield a more delicate crumb.

– Next time, I think I will add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

My mother’s memory of this cake is that it was so moist that it fell apart, and you would have to eat it in a bowl with a spoon. Cake soup! So when making this recipe I was really mindful of that and tried to do what I could to keep it a bit more sturdy. I thought that upping the temperature to 350 (instead of the original 325) might make a difference, but then I baked it in two layers instead of three. At any rate, I had no moisture problems. If anything, the crumb was a little coarse for me, but next time I will do the mixing by hand instead of using the KitchenAid.

I iced it with a caramel frosting that I adapted from a recipe at http://www.allrecipes.com:

1 pound light brown sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

2 T. heavy cream

powdered sugar

In a medium, heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and cream to a rolling boil. Boil one minute. Add soda, and boil one more minute. Remove from heat. Add butter, but do not stir. Let the mixture cool in the refrigerator for one hour. Beat well, adding powdered sugar and up to 2 T of cream to reach desired consistency. Stir in pecans if desired.

This is not the famous caramel frosting that my grandmother made so well (and that my mother and I fail miserably with), but it is a comparable substitute, and not nearly as fussy.

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It was delicious! Perfectly spicy, and the caramel icing was a good addition. Meemaw would have been proud.

You can download this recipe (and my notes) as a PDF by clicking here.

Love, Celine

out home recipes

The Out Home blog is a blog about my life and family. I love to cook, try new things, make music, and watch our little baby grow! Stick with us as we document family life and explore Portland. Enjoy our little corner of the net!