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Thanksgiving Recipe

Recipe for butterhorn dinner rolls

Food styling by Sheryl Julian and Valerie Ryan. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Makes 3 dozen

The recipe for these buttery horn-shaped rolls comes from “Better Homes and Gardens New CookBook” (1941). Lois Riley writes, “I live in Beverly now but grew up in Flint, Mich., where my mom lived her entire life until about 10 years ago. These were the rolls mom made for holidays.” The original formula was made with vegetable shortening. “I’ve tweaked this recipe over the years,” writes Riley, who now uses butter. She also cut the sugar in half for dinner rolls (though uses ½ cup if she’s serving them for breakfast. “Sometimes I’ve subbed in some whole-wheat flour, too, when I’m feeling particularly healthy,” she writes. You can also roll out a big rectangle, brush with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, and roll up jelly-roll style; bake the coils on their sides. Make the dough the same day you want to serve the rolls or make it the day before, refrigerate overnight in a covered bowl, and punch it down and shape it the next day. You’ll find the dough is easy to work.


¼cup lukewarm water
1envelope dry yeast
¼cup plus ½ teaspoon sugar
¾cup whole milk
½cup (1 stick) butter, cut up
2teaspoons salt
3eggs, beaten to mix
cups flour, or more if needed
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
4tablespoons butter, melted (for the bowl and brushing)

1. In a bowl, combine the water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon sugar; set aside.

2. In a saucepan, heat the milk and ½ cup butter until the butter melts. Stir in the ¼ cup sugar and salt until they dissolve. Scrape into a large bowl and leave to cool.

3. Add the yeast mixture and stir well. Stir in eggs and then 4½ cups of the flour, ½ cup at a time, mixing to make a smooth, soft dough. Add more flour, if necessary.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead until smooth.

5. Butter a large bowl and transfer the dough to it. Turn so it is coated all over. Cover with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place for 1½ hours or until it doubles in bulk.


6. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

7. Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and punch it down. Divide into thirds. Roll one piece to a 9-inch round. Brush with melted butter. With a long sharp knife, cut the round into quarters. Cut each quarter into 3 triangles. Beginning at the wide end, roll up each triangle to the pointed end.

8. Transfer the horns to the baking sheet, points down, and brush the tops with butter. Set aside in a warm place to rise for 10 minutes.

9. Bake the rolls for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

Lois Riley. Adapted from “Better Homes and Gardens New CookBook”