Jalapeño Cheddar Rolls

When we were shopping for herbs this spring, I also picked up a jalapeño plant on a total whim. It was really more of a fun project/experiment than anything else, a chance to venture outside the world of just herbs. I never actually expected the plant to do well, given my not so great track record with, well, basically all plants. When the first pepper started growing, I was sure it was just beginner’s luck, but every time I went out to check on the plant it seemed there were new peppers sprouting. I’ve harvested more peppers than I can count in the past few weeks, and I’m officially ready to declare jalapeños the most foolproof plant ever :)

Jalapeño Cheddar Rolls

The only challenge became figuring out what the heck to do with all these peppers… Easier said than done since, as I’ve mentioned a thousand times, I don’t even like spicy foods.

Enter these jalapeño cheddar rolls from Shawnda, which have quickly become my newest kitchen obsession. I’d bookmarked the recipe a few months ago in anticipation of burger season. Little did I know at the time I’d be able to walk out onto my deck and pick the peppers from my very own plant to make them!

Jalapeño Cheddar Rolls

Coffee-Chipotle Pulled Pork

There’s nothing I don’t love about these rolls. They are unbelievably soft and fluffy, but still plenty sturdy to handle the pulled pork and burgers we’ve stacked on them. The dough is easy to work with and the hands-on time required is minimal. I’ve always loved the smell of bread baking but the cheddar cheese in this recipe really takes the heavenly aroma to another level. Each batch of rolls uses three large jalapeños, which is helping me to put a substantial dent in my stash, especially considering that in the past few weeks I’ve made the recipe three times (I really wasn’t kidding when I said obsessed). Last year I thought I’d found my go-to hamburger buns, but they some’re facing some serious competition from these jalapeño cheddar rolls.

Jalapeño Cheddar Rolls
barely adapted from Foodie Bride (originally adapted from The Pastry Queen)

1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 large jalapeños (seeds and ribs removed), finely chopped
1 cup water water (100-110 F)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Add the yeast, flour, sugar, salt, cheese and jalapenos to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Beat briefly on low speed to combine. In a measuring cup, whisk the water, oil and 1 of the eggs together until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients and continue mixing until the dough comes together (you may need to scrape down the bowl once or twice). The dough should clear the sides of the bowl and cling to the bottom – you may need to add a little flour or water to achieve the right consistency (every time I’ve made this recipe I’ve needed to add 2-4 tablespoons of flour). Knead the dough on low speed for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Shape the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 75-90 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Transfer the dough to your work surface and divide in half. Divide each of the two pieces into 4 or 5 equal pieces, depending on whether you want oversized or more traditional rolls. Shape each piece of dough into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet, then flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Space the rolls about 1/2 to 1-inch apart – you want the edges to bake together in the oven.

Cover the pan with a damp towel, and allow the rolls to rise for 35 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water to make egg wash. Brush the rolls with the egg wash. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are deep golden brown.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the rolls cool for at least 15 minutes. Store in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature, or wrap tightly and freeze.

Makes 8-10 rolls