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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Rolls

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These should be called "the cranberry orange cinnamon rolls that almost weren't". You see, these babies were destined to fail. I've made cinnamon rolls before, to great success. But this time, things didn't go quite as smoothly. First, I decided to start making them an hour before Ryan and I had planned to go out to dinner. Fail #1. (For the record, dinner had to be brought to me!) Then, I realized my yeast was in the freezer. I immediately dumped it into the warm water before letting it thaw. It did weird things to my dough. Fail #2. Next, as I was adding flour to the dough, I reached in only to discover I was out of flour. Enter two cups of whole wheat flour. Fail #3. Finally, as the dough was rising...it didn't appear to be rising much at all. Fail #4.

So as you can imagine, I wasn't feeling very optimistic by the time I stuck these in the oven early on a Saturday morning. Ryan had planned to take them in to cheer up his work group who was stuck working on a Saturday. I knew if worse came to worse they'd have donuts (someone always brings donuts!), but I was a little depressed that all of my efforts would go to waste. Much to my surprise, these babies puffed up in the oven and came out looking beautiful! I dumped the glaze on top, covered the pan in a giant towel, and Ryan ran out the door. I didn't get so much as a lick of this first batch, which had me feeling a little nervous. Thankfully, Ryan reported that one of his co-workers proclaimed this the best cinnamon roll of his life, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief!

I froze half the batch, which we enjoyed as part of our Christmas morning breakfast. This time, I too got to enjoy the thick dough rolls, spiked with orange and cranberry flavor. Would I choose these over the original cinnamon rolls? That's debatable; I guess I'll have to make both simultaneously and compare! :)

One Year Ago: Gingerbread Pancakes (perfect, just like these cinnamon rolls, for a special New Year's Day breakfast!)

Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from Two Peas and her Pod and The Novice Chef Blog
*makes approximately 24 cinnamon rolls

For the rolls-
-2 packages active dry yeast, dissolved in 2 cups of lukewarm water
-6 tbsp butter
-1 cup granulated sugar
-7 cups all purpose flour
-2 cups hot water
-2 large eggs, beaten
-1 tbsp salt

-1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
-1 cup light brown sugar
-1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
-2 tbsp ground cinnamon
-zest of 2 large oranges
-1/4 cup granulated sugar

for the frosting-
-1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar
-2 tbsp milk or half & half
-2 tbsp fresh orange juice

1. Stir yeast into 2 cups of lukewarm water. Let rest for approximately 5 minutes.
2. Add butter, sugar, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer, beating for 30 seconds. Mix in eggs, beating until combined. Slowly add yeast mixture, beating until combined.
3. Gradually add flour, mixing first with the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, then switching to the dough hook when the dough starts to come together. Knead on medium high speed for approximately 3 minutes.
4. Place dough on a lightly floured counter and knead by hand until it feels smooth, adding a little flour if sticky. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Allow to rise in a warm area for 30 minutes, until dough has doubled in size.
5. Remove dough from bowl and split into two pieces. Roll one dough piece into a rectangular shape. Brush melted butter on top of dough. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup brown sugar, half of the chopped cranberries, 1 tbsp cinnamon, and approximately 1/3 of the orange zest.
6. Roll dough away from you into one long roll. Carefully cut into twelve equal pieces. Lay each cinnamon roll, cut side up, in a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and a little orange zest. Repeat with remaining half of dough.
7. If baking immediately, cover pan with a towel and allow to rise for 30 min-1 hr, until doubled in size. Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, then reducing temperature to 350 and baking for an additional 6-8 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
8. Whisk frosting ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. Pour on top of cinnamon rolls. Serve rolls warm (can be reheated in the microwave).
9. If freezing, cover pan in plastic wrap and foil and place in freezer for up to one month. When ready to bake, remove from freezer and allow to thaw in the fridge overnight. The next day, continue with step #7.

This post is linked to Sweet Rolls That Rock and Eat at Home.