Growing up, I was often assigned the bum holiday jobs. As the youngest of four, yet arguable the most underfoot in the kitchen, I was tasked with place cards (“They’re very important.”), distributing salad plates, and setting out silverware. The biggest splash I ever made was ringing the ancient silver dinner bell that I’m sure my mother kept around just so she’d have one more thing she could tell me as I pestered again and again what else I could do.
But then grandma would arrive at the family dinner and a bowl of rising dough would appear. We’d melt butter, roll out the dough, and make careful circles using juice glasses. One careful fold and the buttery yeast rolls would find their home on the baking sheet which would soon be crowded with dozens of rolls teeming with potential. Would they be slathered with (more) butter? Dredged through gravy? Loaded with leftover turkey and stuffing? As we dunked each puffy circle in the warm butter, it was easy to imagine them hot from the oven.
The recipe for Refrigerator Yeast Rolls (we called them “Hot Rolls”) is special to me for a number of reasons, but it’s also pretty special in general. The dough rises in the fridge (overnight, so there’s still time to make them before Thanksgiving), keeping your counters clear. They also bake quickly, which means they can go in the still-hot oven after the turkey and be done before the carving is finished.
It’s been years since I’ve made these rolls with my grandma, and you can bet that I miss her every time I roll out another yeasty circle and get out my juice glass. But the roll recipe has rolled along with me, traveling to my in-laws for Thanksgiving and Christmas (where the rolls were dubbed “1,000 calorie bombs”) and even to some of my husband’s childhood friends. Turns out, most people have a memory like mine, if not a recipe. Here’s to happy sharing.
Find more Dinner Roll Recipes to complete your holiday table.