The veritable Cheese Rolls from local bakeshop Mary Grace is a prominent cult classic in the local food scene—and for good reason. Soft and buttery with the slightest hint of tan and a glistening granulated-sugar top beneath its pristine white paper wrapper, the said treat’s been a fan favorite since Mary Grace Dimacali joined her first bazaar in 1994 (during which she sold the rolls and their pudgier cousin, ensaymada), to the opening of the first Mary Grace store in 2002, and to this day in 2017. A trip to a Mary Grace store is hardly a complicated task for Manila residents (what with the numerous branches, city-wide, of both their café and standalone-stall counterparts)—but we’ll do you one better: make your own version of this cheesy treat, right from your very own home, and stuff yourself with as many pieces as you please. On top of that, our Mary Grace cheese rolls hack are ultra-pillowy thanks to instant mashed potatoes
If you’ve ever made bread, this recipe should be fairly straightforward, entailing the basic steps of mixing and kneading dough and having it rise twice. The dough base takes on a butter-heavy, egg yolk-enriched backbone similar to a classic brioche—but the secret to our version’s extra-pillowy softness is potato flour, which we include in the form of the easier-to-obtain boxed instant mashed potato mix. Potatoes, due to its ability to absorb water better than wheat starch and reduce the formation of gluten, makes for an ultra-tender crumb that stays fluffy and melts in the mouth. With a generous amount of butter, the resulting rolls are as rich as they are light as a feather. The best part, however, is the surprise treat of melty cheese awaiting within.