Conference Rolls

In my last post here I posted about some of our traditions, one of which is conference rolls. I end up cursing and thanking my mother for this splendid treat every time I make it. They are THAT good. I decided it was time to share this goodness with all of you as well.

First you need to find your favorite roll recipe. I have a few from a recipe book I like to use and can share it if you want me to but really your favorite roll recipe will work. Mix up the dough per the directions and set it aside to rise the first time. Although I would like to make a suggestion, when you are mixing your dough and you are about to add your eggs, crack them into a separate bowl first. This way if you accidentally get a bit of shell in there, you won’t have to be digging around in all of your ingredients for that little bit of shell. This is my baking tip for today.

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Ok so you have mixed up your dough and put it into a bowl big enough to let it double in size as it rises.

20141005_111744[1]My second tip when it comes to rolls/bread is to make sure to spray your bowl with a light coating of non-stick spray. This will make it SO much easier to get the dough out when it is time. As you can see from my picture above, I forgot to do this. See the dough sticking to the bowl? Ya that’s fun to get out. Anyway, set your dough in a warm place and leave it to rise, double in size. After it has risen ONCE take out the dough and use half of it to roll out like you would for cinnamon rolls.
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Make sure you have plenty of counter space and flour it up. Your surface needs to be clean, smooth and then “dirty” it up with flour before rolling this bad boy out. Then comes the fun part, TOPPINGS!
Now you can make these rolls into anything your imagination dreams up. One year I did chicken rolls with pesto sauce. SO delicious. This time I made “original” (ham, cheese and onion) as well as pizza rolls. I will show you the process with the “original” conference rolls.
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Roll that half of the dough out (it doesn’t have to be a perfect rectangle) then cover it from corner to corner and side to side with ranch dressing. For this recipe it HAS to be Hidden Valley’s Original Ranch dressing, no substitutes, no dry packet mixes, no light versions. The real, whole fat, complete original ranch! Just do it!20141005_140827[1]
Then spread that stuff out, covering all the dough. After I took this picture I decided it needed a little bit more, so I added a little bit more.
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Spread some cheddar (or in this case colby) cheese to cover the ranch up. Corner to corner… you get the idea. Now at this point I should probably mention I did have the help of my husband and eldest daughter in the prep department. Normally I do this all myself, but they were both great soldiers in my quest to make conference rolls today. The cheese came shredded. Normally I’m all about buying the big block of cheese but please save yourself the time when making these rolls and buy the cheese and ham shredded and diced or at least cubed.
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Mmmm diced green onions… delicious flavorful goodness. Pile those on corner to corner… well almost, don’t go completely to the edge with the rest of the toppings or you will have overspill. No bueno. 
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Next add the diced ham. We usually use diced ham from the store but found a great, couldn’t pass up deal on cubed ham and AJ diced it up for me the night before. 20141005_142714[1]
Now roll that bad boy up starting with the end furthest away from you. Roll it towards you keeping it even and rolling carefully so as not to rip the dough. When it is in a log take a serrated knife and cut rolls about 1 inch thick. Depending on how warm your house is and your roll recipe you can preheat your oven now. Those who know me and my house know I can preheat my oven to warm up my house and hope it gets warm enough near the oven. I found a simpler method. But I’m getting slightly ahead. Place your freshly cut rolls onto jelly, cookie, whatever kind of shallow, non-stick baking pans you have. (If you don’t have non-stick make them non-stick)

PLEASE leave space because these bad boys are going to grow. I’m not talking cookie space and growth, I’m talking you only let your dough rise once and now you are going to let it happen again so these bad boys need lots of growing space, space. (My grammar friends please let my run-on sentence be, I’m trying to.)

OK now you set those sheets on a flat surface where it is warm. For me that’s my kitchen table with my space heater. Cover the rolls lightly with towels and let the yeast do its magic, again. **This is why it was very important to only let your dough rise once. 20141005_155547[1]
(sorry for the poor photo quality I was about to put these in the oven)
See how much they’ve grown! Just like kids. Put these bad boys in the oven according to your recipe’s directions or 375 for 12-15 minutes. 20141005_162133[1]
The cheese will melt, the ranch will keep the ingredients and dough moist and you will devour these. But let them cool off slightly before attempting to put them in your mouth please! Done and delicious!

What about the other half of the dough recipe you ask? I’m glad you asked…. 20141005_184127[2]20141005_184113[1]
Pizza rolls! You can also make another batch of original rolls but I told my family I would make pizza rolls this time. Since AJ diced pepperoni, cooked and crumbled sausage I decided I probably should. Here they are, cooked and ready. For the pizza rolls I used momma’s spaghetti sauce instead of a pizza sauce because 1) it was all I had on hand 2) I already had it on hand pre-made in the freezer 3) it gave the rolls a little bit of a spicy kick. (If you can’t read my old blog a. ask for an invite b. I will eventually post that recipe here).

Where was I? Oh yes.. spread dough with spaghetti (or pizza) sauce, cover in mozzarella, top with crumbled sausage and diced pepperoni. Make sure you stay light on the sausage as it is heavy and will poke holes in your dough. We don’t won’t overspill or leakage of any kind here. Bake and enjoy.

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