Friday, July 22, 2011

Whole Wheat Basil Rosettes

My next book is coming out on July 26. It’s called ONLY MINE, and it’s a funny, passionate romance set in the quirky small town of Fool’s Gold, California. You’d think that I would be Zen about book release day by now, but you’d be wrong. I’m very, very nervous. I wonder whether readers will love Dakota Hendrix as much as I do, her curious mix of sarcasm and vulnerability. I wonder whether readers will fall in love with handsome, rugged Finn, a family man who insists that he’s anything but.

At this point, it’s out of my hands. I have no control anymore. I have written the best story I could, a story that made me laugh out loud while writing it and with a happy ending that brought tears to my eyes. The book is edited, printed, and sitting in boxes in warehouses around the country. Now it’s up to my readers. Have they pre-ordered ONLY MINE or, alternatively, will they rush to the store on Tuesday to buy it? (Those first week sales serve as my report card, and I have always been an overachiever who wants an A on every test.)

There’s nothing to do but try to distract myself, to try to find ways to avoid obsessing about whether ONLY MINE will fly off the shelves next week… which is the only possible explanation as to why I made dinner rolls from scratch in the middle of July.

“It smells like Thanksgiving in here!” my husband exclaimed when he came home. Yeah, that’s because it makes sense to turn on the oven in November, when you want to heat up the house. Fortunately, here in Seattle, even in July it doesn’t get too hot. But if you live in Texas, you might want to save this recipe for autumn.

The rolls were delicious… but I’m still nervous. If you pre-ordered ONLY MINE or plan on buying it the first week, let me know. It’ll make me feel a lot better!

ONLY MINE on Amazon
ONLY MINE on Barnes & Noble

Recipe: Whole Wheat Basil Rosettes

(modified from a recipe in the Better Homes & Gardens 75th Anniversary Cookbook)
2 – 2 ½ C all-purpose flour
1 C whole wheat flour
2 T garlic powder
1 package active dry yeast
1 C milk
1/3 C butter, softened
2 T fresh basil, minced
¼ C sugar
¾ t salt
1 egg
¼ C olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
Black pepper

Combine 1 cup of white flour plus all of the whole wheat flour and the garlic powder in the bowl of an electric mixer. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, butter, basil, sugar, and salt. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter is mostly melted (warm but not hot). Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid mixture and stir to dissolve.

Add the liquid mixture to the flour and beat on low speed for about 30 seconds. Add the egg and beat just to incorporate the egg. Add more flour, half a cup at a time, until the dough forms a ball. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough becomes elastic, about five minutes.

(You see what I’m saying? I kneaded dough in July. That’s how nervous I am!)

Pour 2T of olive oil into a bowl. Put dough in the bowl, swoosh it around, and turn the oiled side up. Cover and let rise until double, about an hour. Punch the dough down, then divide it into 24 pieces. (Divide in half, then divide that in half, and then divide that in half… and finally divide that into three pieces each.) Roll each piece of dough into a rope about 12 inches long. Tie the rope into a loose knot.

Bring the bottom end up and tuck it into the center.

Pull the top end around and tuck it under the roll.

Place the rolls on greased baking sheets (or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, put the remaining 2 T of olive oil into a small bowl with garlic and freshly ground black pepper. Do this now so the garlic flavor will infuse the oil while the rolls rise and bake.

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Bake the rolls until golden brown, about 13-15 minutes. Immediately remove them from the baking sheet to a wire rack and brush with the garlic-infused oil.

Aren’t they pretty?!

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