This is my Great Aunt Mary's recipe for Ham Rolls, which I discovered among my grandmother's recipe stash. I'm grateful to have found the recipe for a treat my father fondly remembers, but I'm also grateful I have enough baking knowledge to translate the original recipe into delicious buns.
The original recipe card reads:
Here's what's cookin' Ham Rolls
Serves 4 doz.
Recipe from the kitchen of Mary Norkus
1/4 lb. margarine
2 teas salt
3 T sugar +
1 teas vanilla
Scald + cool 1 1/2 C milk - 1/2 C cream
to lukewarm add 2 oz. yeast in warm milk
Add flour - let rise - roll.
2 eggs - Ham chopped small
Roll dough.* (3 corner cut) put ham mixture in center. Roll + put cut side down on lightly floured cookie sheet.
300ºF - about 40 minutes
*use a small portion at a time
In case that doesn't make perfect sense to you, here's my translation of the recipe:
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
2 Tbsp. plus 3/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1 stick butter, softened
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
8 cups flour
2 cups chopped ham
Scald milk and half and half, and cool to between 105ºF and 115ºF. Add yeast, and let stand 5 minutes. Combine with butter, salt, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Stir until blended, and then gradually beat in flour. Once soft dough is formed, turn dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth, adding more flour if necessary. Place dough in greased bowl, cover and let stand until doubled, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile combine ham and 2 eggs together until well mixed.
Preheat oven to 300ºF. Once dough has risen, punch down, and divide in half. Leave one portion of dough covered while you work with the other portion. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle, making sure dough is about 1/4-inch thick. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, and then cut horizontally to divide dough into 6 sections. (You should have 12 squares at this point.) Cut each square horizontally to form 2 triangles. (For those bad at math, you should have 24 triangles.) Place a small portion of ham mixture in the center of each piece of dough. Either roll crescent roll style or shape into a bun with the ham in the center. Place on a lightly floured cookie sheet for authenticity or a Silipat for ease. Repeat with second portion of dough.
Rolls may be baked immediately after shaping or they may stand roughly 30 minutes prior to baking, loosely covered with a towel. Bake rolls 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly golden. They are best served warm, but store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Makes about 4 dozen rolls.