Cranberry-Orange Cinnamon Rolls

We recently celebrated my dad’s birthday and I was instructed not to make anything for after his birthday dinner and he instead picked out cupcakes from The Bake Shoppe.  Everyone was pleased at this choice.  The morning after his birthday, my parents hosted a brunch at their house for the whole family and a family friend who happened to be in town.  For my dad’s birthday, I made him one of his favorite – cinnamon rolls.  I made the classic raisin version and this more Christmas-like version, cranberry-orange cinnamon rolls.  Scroll all the way down to the bottom for this recipe.

1. In a mixing stand combine: 2-1/4 cups flour and the yeast.  In a saucepan heat and stir milk, 1/3 cup butter, granulated sugar, and salt just until warm (120 to 130 degrees) and butter almost melts; add to flour mixture along with the eggs.

Here the butter is just barely visible.  It is important not to overheat this mixture, as it will kill the yeast.  

Beat with dough hook on low for 30 seconds, scraping bowl.  Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.  Stir, or beat in as much of the remaining flour as possible.

I used a dough hook and was able to mix in most of the flour, though my mixer looked like this. 

2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead in enough of remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (should not be too sticky – 3 to 5 minutes total).

Dough before kneading – sticks to your hands and is not smooth.  

Shape dough into ball.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once.  Cover; let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).

Dough after kneading – smooth, elastic, and should not stick to hands easily.  

If your house is cold, turn the oven on for 1 minute at 350 degrees, then turn off.  Place covered dough in oven to rise.  

3.  Punch down dough.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide in half.  Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, lightly grease two 9×1-1/2 inch round baking pans or two baking sheets: set aside.  For filling, stir together the brown sugar, orange zest, 1/4 cup flour, cinnamon; cut in 1/3 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

4. Roll each half of dough into a 12×8 inch rectangle.  Sprinkle filling over dough rectangles.  Sprinkle with dried cranberries.  Roll up each rectangle starting from the long side.  Seal seams.

Slice each roll into 12 pieces.  Place cut sides down in prepared pans or baking sheets.

Take care when sprinkling filling and slicing, otherwise you may end up with a couple of rolls lacking filling.  They are still good, just not as gooey.  

5. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise.  Chill for 2 to 24 hours.  Uncover, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  (Or to bake right away, don’t chill the dough.  Instead cover loosely; let dough rise in a warm place until nearly double, about 30 minutes.)

6. Break any surface bubbles in the dough with a toothpick.  Brush tops of rolls with milk.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown (if necessary, cover rolls loosely with aluminum foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking).  Remove from oven.  Brush again with milk.  Cool for 1 minute.  Carefully invert rolls onto a wire rack.  Cool slightly.  Invert again onto serving platter.  Drizzle with orange glaze.

These rolls were a hit – we demolished all but a few by the end of brunch.

Greta and Eric sitting at the set table, eagerly awaiting rolls, eggs, bacon, and fruit.  It was a beautiful sunny and cold morning for a family brunch.

I particularly enjoyed the pineapple and pomegranate fruit salad.


Cranberry-Orange Cinnamon Rolls – adapted from Better Homes & Gardens 

Prep: 45 minutes  Rise: 1 hour  Chill: 2 to 24 hours  Stand: 30 minutes  Bake: 20 minutes  Oven: 375 degrees  Makes: 24 rolls

Ingredients:
4-3/4 – 5-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter or margarine
2 tablespoons orange zest
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 recipe orange glaze

1. In a mixing stand combine: 2-1/4 cups flour and the yeast.  In a saucepan heat and stir milk, 1/3 cup butter, granulated sugar, and salt just until warm (120 to 130 degrees) and butter almost melts; add to flour mixture along with the eggs.  Beat with dough hook on low for 30 seconds, scraping bowl.  Beat on high speed for 3 minutes.  Stir, or beat in as much of the remaining flour as possible.

2. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead in enough of remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (should not be too sticky – 3 to 5 minutes total).  Shape dough into ball.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once.  Cover; let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).

3.  Punch down dough.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide in half.  Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, lightly grease two 9×1-1/2 inch round baking pans or two baking sheets: set aside.  For filling, stir together the brown sugar, orange zest, 1/4 cup flour, cinnamon; cut in 1/3 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

4. Roll each half of dough into a 12×8 inch rectangle.  Sprinkle filling over dough rectangles.  Sprinkle with dried cranberries.  Roll up each rectangle starting from the long side.  Seal seams.  Slice each roll into 12 pieces.  Place cut sides down in prepared pans or baking sheets.

5. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap, leaving room for rolls to rise.  Chill for 2 to 24 hours.  Uncover, let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  (Or to bake right away, don’t chill the dough.  Instead cover loosely; let dough rise in a warm place until nearly double, about 30 minutes.)

6. Break any surface bubbles in the dough with a toothpick.  Brush tops of rolls with milk.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown (if necessary, cover rolls loosely with aluminum foil for the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking).  Remove from oven.  Brush again with milk.  Cool for 1 minute.  Carefully invert rolls onto a wire rack.  Cool slightly.  Invert again onto serving platter.  Drizzle with orange glaze.

Orange Glaze

In a small bowl, stir together 1-1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar and orange zest.  Slowly add enough orange juice (1-2 tablespoons) to reach a drizzling consistency.

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