SFL Exclusive Recipe: Prosciutto and Gruyere Morning Rolls

Behold the most magical and perfect savory brioche-based roll ever birthed by my kitchen:

Savory Prosciutto and Gruyere Brioche

Basically, these are a savory version of the traditional cinnamon roll or sticky bun. For those of you who feel like a challenge, here is my recipe:

Prosciutto and Gruyere Morning Rolls

I learned how to make brioche from the excellent Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.  I have tweaked the recipe over time, and what follows is the recipe and method that I use when I make brioche that is to be used as a base.  The idea of incorporating savory ingredients arose out of a desire for an alternative to the typical sweet rolls I usually make for breakfasts and brunch.  This recipe requires at least two days for preparation and will yield 12 large rolls using 2 extra large muffin tins.


  • 3 level teaspoons of fresh active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of warm water (100° to 110° degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup and approximately 1 2/3 cup of King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 oz (4 tablespoons) of browned and cooled unsalted butter (instructions for this will follow)
  • 4 oz (8 tablespoons) of softened unsalted butter


  • 8 thin slices of prosciutto (approximately 4 oz), lightly pan-fried, chopped into small pieces, and chilled
  • 4 oz of gruyere, grated and chilled
  • 2 oz of pecorino romano, grated and chilled
  • 1 oz (2 tablespoons) of softened unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Proof the Yeast.  In a small glass or ceramic bowl, combine the yeast, water, and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar and stir until smooth.  Wrap with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 – 20 minutes or until the mixture bubbles up.

Prepare the Sponge.  Take a 5 – 6 quart metal mixing bowl and fill with hot water and let sit for 5 minutes.  Dump out the water and towel dry.  With a whisk, combine one egg and 1/3 cup of flour.  Mixture will be thick.  Add the yeast and sugar mixture and whisk until smooth and there are no clumps.  With a rubber scraper, fold in the remaining 1 2/3 cup of flour.  Scrape down the sides and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Set aside for 2 hours.

Brown the Butter.  Place 4 ounces of butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium to medium high heat.  As the butter melts, scrape or stir constantly while the solids separate and begin to brown.  As soon as the solids have collected on the bottom and changed in color to a golden brown, remove from heat and scrape entire contents of skillet into a glass or ceramic bowl.  Place in the refrigerator to cool.

Prepare the Dough.  In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and salt.  Place the mixing bowl containing the sponge on a stand mixer and attach the paddle.  Add the sugar and salt mixture and 2 of the remaining eggs to the sponge.  Mix together on low speed setting for one minute, then for approximately 2 more minutes on medium speed setting.  If the dough is still very stick at this point and has not started to clean the sides of the bowl, add more King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, one tablespoon at a time (but not exceeding 1/3 of a cup) and beat on medium until the dough cleans the side and stays on the paddle.

Switch to the hook attachment and beat on medium high speed setting for approximately 2 minutes until the dough is shiny, smooth and tacky to the touch.  Turn the speed setting to medium and slowly pour in the brown butter.  Add 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) of the remaining butter one tablespoon at a time until all the butter has been combined into the dough.  Stop the mixer and remove the hook.  The dough should be shiny and smooth, and will feel both greasy and extremely sticky.  Roll the dough into a ball, lightly coat with King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour and place in a lightly-buttered large bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours.  Once the dough has doubled in size, place the still-covered bowl in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Shape and Fill the Rolls.  While the dough is refrigerating after its first rise, prepare the prosciutto and combine the two grated cheeses.  After the dough is thoroughly chilled, removed from bowl and place on well-floured surface.  Using your hands, lightly pat the dough down and shape into a rectangle approximately 10 inches side to side by 6 inches top to bottom.

(A)Working from the left side to the right, fold the left third over to the middle and then the right third over that. Using your hands, lightly press and shape again until you have a rectangle approximately 6 inches side to side by 10 inches top to bottom.  Rotate 1/4 turn and repeat (A) two more times.

Using a rolling pin and working from the middle to the edges, lightly roll the dough until it is a rectangle shape about 2/3 to 3/4 inch thick and measure approximately 24 inches side to side and 12 inches top to bottom.  Cover with dry cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the muffin tins by spraying lightly with a non-stick cooking spray.

Remove cloth and spread remaining ounce of butter evenly across the surface of the dough.  Sprinkle cheese mixture evenly on surface, leaving about an inch across the bottom edge without cheese.  Cover the cheese with the chopped prosciutto, making sure that both are evenly distributed across the surface (again, save one inch along the bottom edge of the dough).  Sprinkle with freshly grated pepper.  Working from the top edge and starting in the middle moving out, carefully tuck in the top edge and roll down, making sure not to “smash” the dough down.  Work slowly and make sure that the roll is tight and firm.  Using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, divide the roll into two rolls.  They should measure approximately 12 inches long each and should be 3 inches wide at the widest part of the roll.  Divide each roll into six equal slices, again using a gently sawing motion and taking care not to smash down on the roll.  There will now be 12 portions, approximately 2 inches thick and 3 inches wide at the widest part.

Place the rolls into the muffin tins.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray on the side that touches the pan and rolls.  Refrigerate the rolls overnight, or at least for four hours.

Bake the Rolls.  After the rolls have been thoroughly chilled, remove from the refrigerator and, keeping the plastic wrap on, place in a draft-free place until the rolls have risen 1 1/2 to 2 times in size.  Preheat the oven to 400°.  Beat the remaining egg and gently brush the tops of the rolls with the beaten egg.  Once the egg wash has dried, bake the rolls until the center reaches 190°, approximately 18 minutes.



I really love making soup. LOVE it. It is easy, makes your whole house smell like a good place to be, and it is pretty hard to screw it up. Winter is one of my favorite times of the year to make soup because there are so many tasty root and bulb vegetables in season. Also, there is the cold. So, since our local grocery had some pretty sexy looking cauliflower and parsnips, I decided to make Cream of Cauliflower and Parsnip soup.

I don’t really use recipes when I make soups so much as a suggested ingredient list. First, when I make cream-based soups with pureed vegetables, I find that you really don’t need that much cream at all. Basically, I used a stick of butter, 3 small bulbs of shallots, one medium onion, three leeks, a good-sized head of cauliflower, about a pound of parsnips, 4 cups of chicken stock, fresh bay leaves, fresh thyme, about a cup of cream, some grated parm/reg, a pinch of powdered dried chipotle (because the parsnips are pretty sweet) and salt and pepper to taste. I use both ground black and white pepper when making soups.

Chop all your veg.

Mis - soup

Make sure to soak the chopped leeks in water rather than just rinse them. They are dirty, dirty veg.

Dirty, Sexy Leeks

Sweat the onion and shallots in a dutch over or big pot over med-low heat in the butter. Yes the whole stick. Don’t be such a pansy. Add the fresh herbs and S&P. Add the leek, re-season, put the lid on and let the veg soften completely. Add the stock, bring it up to boiling, add the cauli and parsnips, re-season, turn the heat down to low, put the lid on, and go do something else for a while. I folded laundry and drank some wine. Okay, and ate some chocolate.

Almost Soup

When the veg are COMPLETELY soft, turn off the heat. Puree in blender or food pro in small batches and put pureed portions in a separate bowl. Now PAY ATTENTION here unless you want to burn the living shit out of yourself and spend 47 minutes cleaning crap off of your ceiling. When you put hot substances into a blender, DO NOT PUSH THE LID ON. Catch that? Because the heat plus the motion of the blades will blow the top off of your blender unless you have it vented somehow. And no, it is NOT a good idea to just remove the oil cap. Instead, carefully place the lid on the top of the blender without smooshing it down and hold it in place. You can even drape a dish cloth over the top – just make sure to hold the lid in place because it WILL push up. Also, do not ever fill the blender vessel more than 1/3-ish.

When you are done with this and/or have tended to all your burns, return the whole pureed lot back to the original pot. Add your cream SLOWLY. Then your powdered chile and cheese, taste and re-season as needed. I sometimes add a couple of slices of crumbled bacon. Keep over low ’til you are ready to eat it.

Cream of Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup. And Maybe Some Bacon.

We had this with some totally old-school BLTs.


Oatmeal Cookies Are Little Plops of Love

Thought I would end the day with a foodie post. Here is my *exclusive* recipe for chocolate chip oatmeal cookies:

Love Plops


  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar – baker’s grind*
  • 1 and 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon Nutella spread
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated orange rind
  • 3 cups of Quaker “Quick” (one-minute) oats
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips.

This recipe take about 15 minutes to make, plus an additional 30 to 70 minutes to bake depending upon how many cookies you put in the oven at a time.  Preheat the oven to 350º.  Beat the butter until light and fluffy.  Add the brown sugar, then the white sugar and beat until the mixture is light and creamy.  Stir in vanilla.  Stir in Nutella and beat until mixture is smooth and fully combined.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat for one minute.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange rind, then stir in oats.  Add all of dry mixture to sugar mixture and stir until just combined.  Add the dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate and stir until combined.  Form the dough into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet.  Use Silpats for best results.  Bake at 350º for ten minutes.  Let the cookies cool completely on a baking rack.

*If you cannot find baker’s sugar, simply process regular granulated sugar in a food processor until it feels like soft sand when you rub it.

Fix Me A Plate! -Fancy Ham and Cheese Sammich Version

Decided to revive the “Fix Me A Plate!” thing in honor of today’s easy and delicious quick-fix. I needed something to take to a gathering. I had originally planned to make some ham and cheese turnovers, but (as too often happens) I ran out of time to get the puff pastry made. And call me a food snob, but once you have had from-scratch puff pastry, it is damn hard to feel the same love for Sara Lee.

So anyhow, I was left with all this delicious ham and gruyere and my heart set on something flaky. So, I pulled some phyllo dough out of the freezer (yeah, I don’t really see me EVER being able to make phyllo from scratch. Unless I get some REALLY awesome tools…) and let it warm up. And yes, I will give a few tips on handling phyllo here in a bit, so be patient. A little of this, some of that and VOILA easy (well, kind of) ham and cheese roll-ups. You will need the following

– about 1/2 – 1 lb of GOOD sliced meat (I used ham. prosciutto, serrano, soppressata, whatever floats your meat boat – how much you need really depends on how long before you get tired of dealing with the phyllo).

-1 box of phyllo, thawed to room temp AND STILL IN THE SEALED BOX  (really? you could probably sub a box of puff pastry or even use the Pillsbury Crescent rolls and still end up with something tasty).

-about 2 oz of ricotta, room temp

-about 4 – 6 oz grated GOOD cheese (I like gruyere with ham. a harder cheese is better – there are some really good firm goats out there these days. heh).

-tablespoon or so of mustard and/or horseradish

-2 teaspoons of powdered mustard

-salt and pepper to taste

-olive oil

Mix the ricotta, grated cheese, mustard/horseradish, powdered mustard and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Now – and here is the important phyllo shit – get your mise on. Preheat the oven to 400. Get a large halfsheet or cookie sheet and line with a Silpat or with parchment. You can use tinfoil, but if you do, spray it lightly with Pam or Pam-like substance. Wet a dishtowel that is at least 12 x 8 inches in warmish water, wring out thoroughly and set aside.  You will need at least 3 feet of counterspace to deal with the phyllo. If you don’t have the space, use another lined cookie sheet. Pour about a cup of olive oil (yes, really) into a bowl and have a good silicone or other soft brush next to the oil. This should be sufficient. However, IF you have a kitchen/life that is subject to unforeseeable distractions, keep a spray bottle filled with water and set to mist handy.

Now, slowly open the box of phyllo. Yeah, I know. Your hands might shake a little, but it’s just phyllo. You can do this. And just think. Once you do – you can make BAKLAVA. For real. It is easy once you can handle the phyllo. Spanikopita, too.  So just take a breath. It really isn’t that hard – more like a huge pain in the ass. You will need to move quickly and smoothly, so do whatever it is you do to get in the ‘quick and smooth’ mindset.


Here we go! Unfold the phyllo. *Lightly brush the top sheet with olive oil. Fold in half. Lightly brush the top of the folded sheet with olive oil. Set aside. Repeat this four times, stacking the folded sheets. As soon as you have placed the fourth folded sheet, cover the remaining untouched sheets of phyllo with the damp cloth. I also invert a half-sheet pan over the untouched phyllo, but my kitchen is really dry.

Spread a little of the cheese mixture on the folded phyllo. It won’t really “spread,” so just kind of gently mash it out and place it evenly on the phyllo. Place slices of delicious meat on next. GENTLY tuck a long side and roll up. Place the roll seam side down on your lined pan. Brush the roll with olive oil.

Repeat from * once or twice or even three times, depending on how long it takes for you to start hating the phyllo. If things go wrong and the phyllo starts drying out and ripping, LIGHTLY mist it with water and try again. If a sheet rips it is okay, but if you find it aesthetically horrifying, just toss that sheet and start again. There are about 20or so sheets to a box, so you have room to screw up.

Lower your oven temp to 350 and bake for about 20 minutes or until things ooze and the phyllo is a LIGHT golden-brown and crackly.

Remove from oven, slice, and amaze your friends.

Ham. Ham is Good.

Stromboli Fun

Our most recent Demand-A-Dish winner was STROMBOLI. And I would like to thank you all for choosing the easiest dish on that list to make. Basically, stromboli is rolled up pizza — with some key distinctions. The first distinction:  work your pizza dough like a bread dough rather than a pizza dough. In other words, soften the yeast, knead the dough, and let it rise. I used a tweaked version of my pizza dough recipe:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grated parm-reg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Soften (proof) the yeast in the warm water and honey in pre-warmed bowl. In mixing bowl (yes, a different bowl), stir remaining ingredients (except for olive oil). Use only two cups of flour at this point, you can add more later if you want. When yeast mixture is all nice and foamy, add and the olive oil to to flour mixture and stir or beat with dough hook ’til fully combined.

Stromboli dough

Add more flour if you wish. Hand-knead for 8 minutes or machine-knead for 4. Dough should be VERY soft and glossy, but still hold a ball. Let rise is a warm place (like your oven; c.f., the insides of a recently-killed tauntaun – which, by the way, is now available in sleeping bag form) ’til doubled.

Remove dough from oven (or tauntaun corpse) and preheat to at least 485. Divide dough in two and roll out 1/2 into a large rectangle approx. 1/4 inch thick. Cut in two. Spread with whatever fillings you want and roll up tightly. Which brings me to the second distinction – don’t overfill the stromboli. And traditionally, a stromboli does NOT use a sauce. I did. What of it? I used tomato sauce, chicken sausage and provolone in some, pesto, sausage and mozz in others.

they see me rollin'

Bake for about 30 minutes or so or until they look done. Like this:


Apples Are Better When Dipped in Caramel

Certain foods have major seasonal memory triggers. For me, nothing says “Hey – wake up! Fall is here and you are going to miss it if you don’t eat me soon!” like a caramel apple. So, Offspring No. 1 and I decided to make a batch this weekend. Which means I boil a bunch of sugar while he sits on a stool naming things that would be better if dipped in caramel. Which is everything, including lego. Also, No.1 now understands the difference between ‘carmelizing’ and making caramel, though he maintains that it is cruel to say one is caramelizing onions when, in fact, there is zero caramel involved.

We used 8 medium-ish granny smith apples and a very basic caramel (recipe is below). Results are delicious!

Caramel Apples

Caramel (for the dipping of things)

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Combine sugar and water and bring to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved, then wash down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Boil, without stirring, swirling pan occasionally so caramel colors evenly, until a little darker than honey in color. While pan is still over heat source, add cream (mixture will hiss scarily and boil up in a violent but awesome manner). Add vanilla and salt. Stir a little bit and let simmer until candy reaches soft ball stage. Remove from heat and cool for at least 10 minutes before commencing to dip.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi Recipe

Here is my recipe for Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage, adapted the original, which you can find on Epicurious.com.


These dumplings have a light texture, thanks to the addition of fresh ricotta cheese. Drain the ricotta in a sieve for two hours before starting the recipe.

Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings


2 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), rinsed, patted dry, pierced all over with fork

1 12-ounce container fresh ricotta cheese, drained in sieve 2 hours 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)

2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar

2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

2 3/4 cups (about) all purpose flour

1/2 cup unsalted butter

About 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus whole leaves for garnish



Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place sweet potatoes on plate; microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Cut in half and cool. Scrape sweet potato flesh into medium bowl and mash; transfer 3 cups to large bowl. Add ricotta cheese; blend well. Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and nutmeg; mash to blend. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.


Turn dough out onto floured surface; divide into 6 equal pieces. Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into 20-inch-long rope (about 1 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. Cut each rope into 20 pieces. Roll each piece over tines of fork to indent. Transfer to baking sheet.  I froze half for later enjoyment; which still left enough to feed at least four hungry people.


Bring large pot of water to boil; add 2 tablespoons salt and return to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet. Cool completely. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)


Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until butter solids are brown and have toasty aroma, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes.


Add chopped sage (mixture will bubble up). Season sage butter generously with salt and pepper.  Add gnocchi. Sauté until gnocchi are heated through, about 6 minutes. 


Divide gnocchi and sauce among shallow bowls. Garnish with sage leaves.


Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage, October 2009

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage, October 2009

Leave the Gun, Take the Cake

Okay, so I committed some totally gross negligence the other day and forgot to post my carrot cake recipe.  And yes, it is one of mine.  Normally  I wouldn’t post a beta recipe, but this one was really good and I don’t think I will be tweaking it.  You may tweak it however the hell you want, but in doing so you will lose some of its perfect essences.  Some random tips and comments to start – I let the butter and cream cheese get all the way to room temp before I do anything with them.  Also, I made this as a cake with 2 layers.  You could probably stretch and get three if you feel compelled to do so.  I would recalc the measurements and increase the batter calls by 1/2.   Except I would use 5 rather than 6 eggs.  But that is just me.  You may feel daring enough to make a 6 egg cake and then try to layer it.  Rock on.  Also, I don’t use cake bands.  Mainly because I have a life that is already riddled with crazy – I don’t need anymore.  So, recipe…

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


Cake Batter-


2 cups AP flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom 

1 cup unsalted butter 

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 large eggs

3 cups peeled and grated carrots

1 1/3 cups chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

grated nutmeg (I don’t know how much, just grate some in there)




16 oz cream cheese (use the real stuff; there is no such thing as ‘fat free’ cream cheese)

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup REAL maple syrup


Preheat oven to 350°.  Butter and flour 2 9 inch round pans.  You can line it with parchment if it makes you feel fancy.  In one bowl, mix flour, soda, salt, and dry spices ‘til thoroughly combined.  In mixing bowl, beat butter, then cream in sugars ‘til light and fluffy.  Add oil, then vanilla.  Still beating, add eggs one at a time.  Keep beating ‘til light and fluffy again.  Add ALL the dry mix and slowly stir until it is all incorporated.  Add grated ginger and nutmeg and beat for a minute or so.  Add carrots and nuts and beat ‘til combined.  Divide batter into the two pans and bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until pick stabbed in center comes out clean.  I know this is hard for people with poor impulse control, but LET THE CAKES COOL COMPLETELY before you turn them out of the pans.  Wait at LEAST an hour before frosting.


Make your frosting – beat cream cheese and butter until – yeah, you guessed it – light and fluffy.  Add powdered sugar and beat ‘til combined.  Add syrup and beat on medium until frosting is creamy.  Stick bowl in fridge and let it cool for a while – it is much easier to frost the cake when the frosting isn’t runny.


Cut a huge wedge and eat the hell out of it.  Don’t even bother with a fork.  Just use your hands.