Pinecone Rolls

Pinecone Rolls buttered The Rowdy BakerI just love to play with dough, and today’s creation was a batch of pinecone-shaped dinner rolls – just in time for Thanksgiving! Even with whole wheat flour in the recipe, the addition of buttermilk makes them very light and tender, and the molasses adds a hint of sweetness.

They take a little longer than most rolls because you have to cut the petals (that sounds better than “scales”, right?) before baking. Make them ahead and freeze them, and then just reheat them in foil before serving dinner…OR, if there’s some family member who drives you nuts trying to help in the kitchen, hand them the scissors and bowl of dough. Evil but effective.

Seriously, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to whip the rolls out pretty quickly.

The easiest and fastest way I’ve found to make the cone shapes is to form the dough into balls first. I pull the sides up to the top several times (looks a little bit like a Chinese dumpling), flip it over, and then “scooch” it along the counter to create a smooth ball, then press and roll on one side to make a pointy cone shape.

Bring the edges up, then flip and "scooch" it on a hard surface to form a ball.

Bring the edges up, then flip and “scooch” it on a hard surface to form a ball.

An inexpensive pair of cuticle scissors resides in my cake decorating tub for just this type of situation, and was perfect for the task. Start snipping at the base of the cone with wide cuts, and then make shorter, deeper cuts as you get to the pointed end.

Cut increasingly smaller "petals"

;. Cut increasingly smaller “petals”

Start with wide, flat snips...

Start with wide, flat snips…

...and end with small snips.

…and end with small snips.

You’ll figure out what works best for you. I preferred cutting while the roll was flat, but you might want to hold it by the end and cut in the air.

The recipe makes 24 rolls. I will warn you, though – they can be a little…er…pokey when you’re eating them. Think of it as a way of making people slow down and enjoy their food. It didn’t stop the guys around here from eating a half-dozen each, that’s for sure!

Pinecone Rolls
Makes 24 rolls
  • 1½ cups very warm water
  • 2 packets of active-dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups white bread flour
  • 2½ -3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Melted butter (optional)
  1. In a large bowl (preferably using a stand mixer) combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes, or until it bubbles. (If it doesn't bubble, check the expiration date on your yeast and try again!)
  2. In the microwave or in a pan on low heat, combine the butter and molasses together. Heat until butter is completely melted. Remove from heat.
  3. Beat the buttermilk and egg together, and add to the molasses mixture. Stir until well combined.
  4. With mixer on low (I start right out with my dough hook), slowly add the warm mixture to the yeast mixture.
  5. When combined, add the cocoa and bread flour. Beat on medium low for 2 minutes.
  6. Add 2 cups of the whole wheat flour and the salt, beating until the flour is incorporated. Gradually add as much of the remaining flour as needed to create a dough that is still a little sticky, but comes cleanly off the sides of the bowl.
  7. Knead by machine for 5 minutes, or 7 minutes by hand.
  8. Place dough in greased bowl and cover with a cloth. Allow to rise until double, about 1 hour.
  9. Separate dough into 24 equal pieces, approximately 2-1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a ball and then roll one end with your fingers to make a cone shape.
  10. With small sharp scissors, beginning at the base of the cone, snip "petals". You don't need to go all the way around...just the top that will show when the pinecone is laying on its side. Make larger snips around the bottom, smaller near the top, staggering the petals like bricks.
  11. HEAT OVEN TO 375 F.
  12. Place 12 on each cookie sheet and allow the cones to rise for 30 minutes.
  13. Bake for approximately 13-15 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown. Set baking sheets on racks to cool for a few minutes before serving. Brush warm rolls with melted butter if desired.

Pinecone Rolls from The Rowdy Baker

From my family to yours, best wishes for a warm and love-filled Thanksgiving!