Pull-Apart Hawaiian Rolls

with crushed pineapple

Part of me feels like I shouldn’t re-hash this kind of thing all over again on my blog. I already explained my most recent uncomfortable interaction with the men of New York a few weeks ago, but lo and behold, it happened again. Part of me thinks, look – most women in the city deal with this kind of thing every single day. It’s nothing new and sadly, it seems to be an integral part of the New York experience. The other, angrier part of me feels like I, and others, should share our stories early and often. The only way to empower other women, to make other women feel not as alone, and maybe even enlighten men to how their actions are interpreted by the women around them, is to shout each and every detail from the mountaintops. You’d think this isn’t necessary. You’d think that we’re, as George Costanza so elegantly put it, supposed to be living in a society, but each passing day leads me to believe that so much of that just isn’t true. I feel like I’m a strong person. I can stand up for myself. I (generally) don’t let people push me around or make me feel like I’m less than. But there are occasions in which I’m scared or when I don’t quite know what to do. Sometimes I feel stuck. And I can only imagine that there are women out there who haven’t broken through their insecurities or gotten over the horrible things that have already happened to them, so when situations arise where they are made to feel uncomfortable or even threatened, they become paralyzed. My friend Melia at Business Insider wrote a great article on what to do when you’re being harassed on the street, and it’s important reading for any women, but still, you can only prepare yourself so much. When you’re actually being harassed or threatened, it’s hard to be brave. What happened to me last Saturday night wasn’t a particularly brave act, but I was scared and I stood my ground as best as I could. I escaped unscathed, but I’m lucky and who knows what any deviation in this scenario would have meant for me or whatever other women could have been in my place.

Pull Apart Hawaiian RollsHeirloom tomatoes, insane cocktails, my friend Val looking amazing at her baby shower and last night’s heirloom tomato quiche.

On Saturday night, around 10pm, Kramer and I were watching a movie, so I decided I’d run to the bodega about a block away to get some ice cream fixings. I grabbed the ever necessary can of Redi-Whip and took my place in line. A man in front of me turned around and asked if I was buying “boob cream”. My response was a shocked, “Are you kidding me?” He repeated his question, and I could tell he was way too drunk for 10 at night. I told him to back off, but he kept staring at me and asking me if I liked the way that he looked. I let him know that I would defend myself if I needed to, and his friend turned around to let me know that he was “just kidding”. “Yeah, that makes it so much better,” I replied, looking around the bodega to see if anyone else was as offended as I was. The bodega owner asked them to leave, but the man in front of me started aggressively insisting that I purchase my items before him. “If you think that I’m going to buy my stuff first and walk out of this store with you behind me, you’re crazy,” I told him. He kept pushing me to buy my things first, which is when I nearly snapped and started yelling at him to get away from me. The owner told him to get out, so he started to leave, but kept staring at me. He turned around and shouted, “I’m leaving now. Go ahead and buy your stuff. You know, people in Brooklyn are weird. People where I’m from, in the Village, they’re cool,” and after bumping into a rack of chips, turning around and giving me one last glare, he left. I was really shaken up, but even more upset that his friend let it happen and made excuses for this man’s unacceptable behavior. I bought my things and stood at the entrance of the bodega, afraid that he was outside waiting for me. I rifled through my purse to call Kramer, but realized that I had left my phone in our apartment. I cautiously stepped outside, looked around, and sprinted home. Maybe I was being paranoid, but I think it’s always better to be safe than sorry. As soon as I got inside my building, I started crying. I was scared. I was safe – I wasn’t hurt. But I was still upset and scared and so, so angry that men feel like they can just harass women like that whenever they want. Kramer was, of course, equally upset. He wanted to go outside and find this guy. We just sat on the couch together, had a stiff drink, watched our movie, and got some sleep. Part of me is afraid I’ll see this guy in the neighborhood again, but another part of me thinks that even if I did, he was probably too drunk to remember me. Hopefully.

Pull Apart Hawaiian Rolls

I’m sharing another bread recipe after telling this story because, as previously stated, bread is comforting. Bread takes time and patience, which can help calm shot nerves and soothe any anxiety. I feel like I am at my wit’s end sometimes, so that’s when I need to take a break and do a little baking. I love the smell of foaming yeast, of rising dough, and of course, of baking bread. These rolls were made a few weeks ago for the clambake barbecue we did at our friend’s house. I wanted to make biscuits, but buttery, flaky biscuits can sometimes fall apart when trying to soak up broth. I figured I’d do rolls, but I also wanted something sort of summery. Hawaiian rolls it was. These rolls are just a tad bit sweet, with a golden, buttery top and they pull apart like a dream. The insides are so fluffy and moist that you’d think they were store bought. Thankfully, any bread that comes out of my kitchen has what I like to call an “artisan” look, which is code for not symmetrical or slightly lopsided. That just adds to the charm, right? I doubled the recipe, so we had plenty of giant rolls to soak up any deliciousness at the bottom of your plate.

Pull Apart Hawaiian RollsOnce your dough comes together, just let it rise! Yes, there are a million cookies in the background.

Pull Apart Hawaiian RollsI found this dough to be incredibly sticky, but no matter – roll it into 12 balls and let it rise for another 45 minutes to an hour.

Pull Apart Hawaiian RollsBake, brush with butter, pull apart and enjoy.

Pull Apart Hawaiian Rolls

Pull-Apart Hawaiian Rolls
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 large rolls
Sweet rolls of Hawaiian bread perfect for pulling apart with your hands and eating alongside a plate of BBQ.
For the Rolls:
  • ⅓ warm milk (about 115 degrees F)
  • 2¼ tablespoons (1 packet) instant dry yeast
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup crushed pineapple, juice included
  • 4 cups flour (I used all-purpose, but bread flour would be best)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
For Brushing:
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. Mix together the warm milk and the yeast and allow it to sit for 5 minutes or so, until foaming. Add in the oil, butter, sugar, eggs and pineapple. Mix until well combined. Add in the combined flour, salt and cinnamon, ½ cup or so at a time, mixing well after each addition, until fully combined. The dough should be sticky, but not too gooey, so feel free to add another ½ cup or so if you need it.
  2. Knead the bread for 10 minutes by hand or with your stand mixer using your dough hook, until the dough slaps back from the bowl and looks like you would be able to handle it and shape it into a ball. Leave the dough in the bowl, though, once finished kneading, cover it with a damp cloth, and allow it to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Generously butter and/or grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Once risen, punch down the dough and divide it into 12 equal sized balls (they don't have to be perfect, of course). Place the balls in your casserole dish (they should be touching one another) and allow to rise until doubled in size, about another 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Beat together your egg and water, then brush the tops with it. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Brush the warm rolls with your melted butter and serve warm, or allow to cool completely and store at room temperature, covered, until ready to serve. These will keep well for up to 3 days.
Adapted From


9 Responses

  1. I really do want this entire dish. I wasn’t kidding on twitter.

  2. Teddi J says:

    I am sorry you had such an upsetting experience, but as a woman I have to say thank you for expecting some respect from a fellow human being. No matter the gender there is no excuse for being disgusting. If we accept being embarrassed as part of “being cool” we are forfeiting our dignity and encouraging bad behavior.

    Moving on (we can’t let the idiot spoil our day) your rolls look divine and will be the first thing I make as soon as I can have carbs again.

  3. Leah Klein says:

    It’s so tough to go through this shit! Men will never understand how we protect ourselves from every guy we see…because they really are a potential predator. Stay safe…we’re in this boat with you!

  4. Zoe says:

    I’m so sad for you that you had that experience, but also really proud of you for standing up for yourself. I am such a coward about any kind of confrontation, but I like to think I’d be able to handle it like you did. Stay safe and strong!

  5. Bhiravi says:

    So sorry that happened to you! I’ve never experienced a confrontation that intense before, but I’ve dealt with enough to know that harassment is just no fun at all. It’s degrading, it’s embarrassing (for the harassers, of course), and there is no reason for anyone to be treated that way. Good for you for standing up for yourself, asking the man to repeat himself, and yelling at him for what he was doing. I hope you don’t have to deal with someone so obnoxious again– and that if you do, you’ll be prepared for it. I had never seen the Business Insider article before, and it’s good information to have.

    On a lighter note, I love the rolls! My parents used to buy us those grocery store Hawaiian rolls when I was a kid, and I can’t wait to relive that experience with a homemade version.

  6. lola says:

    Sidney, you may already know about these two people, but if not, google Jackson Katz. And Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.

  7. Forget the barbecue, I’m about to eat these as my entree!

  8. Shirley says:

    That quiche looks amazing! Any chance that you’ll be sharing the recipe for it?

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