Hartwell Farm Brown Sugar Rolls

These delicious brown sugar rolls were a trademark at the Hartwell Farm in Lincoln, MA.

By Yankee Magazine

Apr 21 2014

These brown sugar rolls were a Hartwell Farm trademark. The chicken fat may have been the secret, but don’t worry, you can use soft butter instead.


18 rolls


6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons baking powder
3 cups milk
1/4 cup soft chicken fat or butter
1 pound brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease 1 twelve-cup and 1 six-cup muffin tin. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, and shortening, and mix well using an electric beater. Add the baking powder. Pour in the milk all at once and continue mixing. When the dough forms a ball, take it out of the bowl and turn it out onto a floured 4-foot-square table or board. Let it sit for a few minutes.

Spread the dough out a bit by patting it down. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough as thin as possible without any breaks. With a knife cut off the uneven edges and work them into the dough to make a square.

Cover the dough with soft chicken fat or butter, spreading it on as if you were greasing a pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the dough, using your hands to make an even layer. Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the sugar. (Make sure the sugar and nuts come all the way to the edges.)

Roll up the dough away from you, until you reach the top of the square. Gently squeeze the long roll so there are no thick spots. Cut the roll into 1-1/2×1-3/4-inch-thick pieces. Place each piece in a well-greased muffin tin.

Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven, and take them out of the tins immediately so they won’t stick. Cool on a rack.