It would not be the Smitten Kitchen if I wasn’t popping in here, chaotic as ever, 24 hours before the cooking- and eating-est day of most of our years, to suggest a new recipe for your menus, that, judging by my DMs, you settled weeks ago. Good news, however, there’s no timestamp on dinner rolls, especially ones as wonderful as these. If anything, I don’t think we eat them often enough — you know, just because it’s Wednesday.

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One of my favorite recipe concepts from late Gourmet years is Ruth Cousineau’s buttermilk fantail rolls. It’s a startling simple recipe — a buttery, yeast-raised roll — with a brilliant twist: rolling it thin, brushing it with butter, stacking it in little piles of squares, turning each into the cup of a muffin tin. In the oven, the rolls spring open like a fantail, just the loveliest thing. Why make ordinary rolls if you could make rolls that evoke a highly agile bird known for taking intricate looping flights through the air, entrapping prey in their fanned tails? Or if that’s not the energy you want on your holiday table, Gourmet described them at the time as a “blooming flower, with each petal forming a perfect pull-apart bite.”

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