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Because they're so much more than your token dinner rolls.

Briana Riddock
April 09, 2018

I’ve already expressed my deep adoration for King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls as my family’s dinner roll of choice for just about any and every gathering. So when IHOP  recently announced their partnership with the iconic brand to introduce a limited time special, Hawaiian roll French toast, I was beyond ecstatic. The news gave me a jolt of energy and I bolted to the kitchen to make a copycat version to enjoy at home. After scarfing down the delightful breakfast treat, I fell into a brainstorming session for all of the possibilities these delicately sweet, fluffy rolls have to offer. I seriously wish I’d bought a bigger pack of the rolls to test a few ideas out right then and there. But now, at least this gives me validation to go buy an excessive amount of King’s Hawaiian bread. 

If you are anywhere near as fond of these rolls as I am, I know you’ll be onboard with the following ways to incorporate them into sweet and savory dishes. So the next time you find yourself instinctually reaching for the signature orange package on a grocery run, here are a few easy ways to use your King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, beyond simply slathering them with butter.

Sweet or Savory Bread Pudding

Turning your rolls into a rich and hearty baked dish is a great use that’s totally adaptable to your preferences and the occasion at hand. Simply cut a 12-count package into medium-size cubes and toast them (on a sheet pan, arranged in a single layer) dry them out for about 15-20 minutes at 400°F. This will give them a little bit of tasty caramelization and dry them out. Next, toss the toasted and cooled cubes with a mixture of eggs and some sort of cooking liquid such as cream, a dairy alternative milk, or stock (for a savory bake). Spice the mixture up with additional flavorings such as lemon zest, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and herbs. If you are going sweet, you’re going to want to add sugar to the mix as well—and heck, you could toss in some chocolate chips or berries while you’re at it.

Photo: Stephen Devries; Styling: Lindsey Ellis Beatty

And if you’re taking the savory route, how about stirring in cooked and crumbled BACON? Shredded chicken, ham, cheddar cheese, and leftover chopped steak would also make excellent savory mix-ins. Once you’ve got everything mixed together and have allowed it to soak for an hour, pour the bread mixture into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350°F until a knife inserted into the middle of your bread pudding comes out clean. Serve your sweet bake with an additional drizzle of maple syrup or caramel sauce and a dollop of whipped cream if desired. 

For more tips on making a perfect bread pudding on the fly, check out this handy guide

Croutons

This is a fairly simple, but delightful, way to put your rolls to work. Cube the rolls and toss with a bit of neutral flavored oil (if you want to make dessert croutons, go ahead and sprinkle on some sugar and cinnamon); then, in the same way that you would to make the bread pudding described above, toast the bread cubes in a 400°F oven until crisp and golden-brown. From here, add a handful of your custom croutons over whatever you like. Unsweetened croutons are perfect for topping a salad or soup, while the sugared version would be amazing over yogurt, an ice cream sundae, or even chia pudding.   

Sliders/Sandwiches

These rolls are the perfect size to make sliders and mini sandwiches. When you are planning for a crowd, turn them into easy-to-grab finger foods by stuffing them with deli meats, meatballs, chicken salad, vegetables, or seafood. Just imagine, a two-bite lobster roll filled with tender claw meat... it’d be a show-stopping snack at any party. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter and/or warmed honey for an added touch of richness.

WATCH: How to Make Blueberry Bread Pudding with Lemon Hard Sauce

Monkey Bread

These soft rolls are next-level dreamy when transformed into the sticky pull-apart classic. Tear the rolls into smaller pieces and toss with a mixture of melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Press the sugared bread into a bundt pan and bake for an easy, decadent treat. 

Easy Sticky Buns

Make a quick pan of fresh sticky buns by placing the rolls in a casserole dish and dousing them with a caramel sauce or a brown sugar + melted butter combo. Generously top with chopped pecans and bake until a syrupy, bubbly crust forms.  

Photographer: Antara Sinha; Food Stylist: Briana Riddock

French Toast

As I mentioned before, I initially used to rolls to create an utterly divine batch of French toast, and I honestly think it’s worth throwing out your sliced bread for. I made the custard extra vanilla-y with a double dose of vanilla extract and opted to use half and half in the custard to ensure that it was rich and creamy, but not too heavy for the bread to absorb. I strongly suggest purchasing the 4-count package of rolls for this application because they provided the perfect serving size for easy soaking and pan-frying. The end result is a delicately sweet and caramelized breakfast entree that’s finished with a homemade strawberry syrup and fresh banana slices.  

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