I forget the very first time I had a Hawaiian sweet roll. You know, the ones you can buy now in most grocery stores, wrapped in orange plastic? They’re sweet rolls, baked so close together that they’re sort of a mass of brioche style bread. Layered, so soft they stick to the roof of your mouth, slightly sweet, perfect rolls. Do you remember the first time you tried these? Or have you ever?
In college, I used to buy packages of them to make mini sandwiches. I’d fold each leaf of lettuce and slice of turkey to perfectly fit the square roll. Then I’d layer the pickles on. SO good. I basically lived on these and Broccoli Frittata.
When Fabien, my husband, entered my life, he reminded me just how delicious and satisfying they are. When we got home from the store, he spread Boursin cheese over the sweet rolls. YUM. The next morning, he spread Nutella over them, proving that however you eat them (sweet or savory), they’re delicious. It was during that time that I started putting a pat of butter between each half, microwaving just until the butter melted, and eating them warm, as a side at dinner.
If you haven’t had these, they’re just a sweeter version of your classic dinner roll. Baking them yourself, makes the store-bought variety seem disgusting, as is often the case when realizing the amazingness of a homemade version. It was interesting, when eaten fresh, you can really taste the yeast, very similar to fresh brioche. When you eat them the next day, or even a few hours after they’ve cooled, they taste much sweeter, and the yeast taste is completely gone, much more similar to the packaged variety.
This recipe is incredible. It allows you to decide the style of your final bake. Do you prefer individual rolls that you can easily pass around the table? Or do you prefer a more “pull-apart” style, where the rolls bake together, forming a flower design, allowing you to rip off your desired quantity? You have the choice. Both easy, both delicious. My recipe gives instructions on both methods.
The Hawaiian aspect of these rolls come from the pineapple juice, coconut milk, and honey that all get combined in the dough. These are also the ingredients that bring the sweetness. Don’t worry though, they’re not dessert. It’s still bread. And they can still be used to soak up the extra sauce and juice from your dinner plate. Or perhaps you prefer to use them as buns to your hamburgers or sliders, or as a softer, sweeter, sandwich bread, as I like to do.
Whether you serve these with Mother’s Day dinner, or bake them this summer for BBQ and potlucks, you’ll be so happy you did. Feel free to reduce the recipe in half for a smaller group.