A seasonal spin on traditional cinnamon rolls, with fresh cranberries and orange zest.
Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful for me for many reasons. Of course, there was the fabulous feast of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing, all smothered with gravy. I spent time with family, and also did a lot of staying in with my husband. Per tradition we also got a Christmas tree and put up the decorations.
Our weekend was fueled by a lot of treats that I couldn’t seem to stop baking. Pies, cookies, rolls, toffee, and cranberry orange cinnamon rolls. Obviously my sweet tooth enjoyed all of it, but I think the cinnamon rolls were my favorite.
Growing up I despised cinnamon rolls and other sweet bready breakfast items like pancakes, waffles, and doughnuts. It seems ridiculous to me now, as I can’t get enough of them. And I’m sad that I wasted so many years not enjoying the goodness that is cinnamon, butter, and sugar rolled into baked bread.
So now I’m making up for lost time.
These particular rolls are a holiday twist on the classic recipe thanks to the addition of cranberries and orange. They’re wonderful any time of year, but would be perfect for Christmas morning. Prepare the rolls the day before, cover them with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight. Then all you have to do the next day is bake and ice them.
Not only will your family love you because you made them cinnamon rolls, but your house will smell amazing. The aroma of cranberries, orange zest, brown sugar, and butter baking along with bread is intoxicating. And even a little torturous as you wait for them to be done so you can pounce and devour.
And pounce and devour, you will. These breakfast rolls are certain to disappear quickly.
Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Rolls
For the dough:
- 2 cup milk (16 fluid ounces)
- ½ cup unsalted butter (113 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (123 grams)
- 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour (655 grams)
- 2 ¼ teaspoons dry-active yeast (5 grams)
- ½ teaspoons baking powder (2 grams)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda (2 grams)
- ½ tablespoon salt (5 grams)
For the filling:
- 1 cup cranberries , roughly chopped (100 grams)
- 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar (197 grams)
- ¼ cup unsalted butter , melted (57 grams)
- Zest of one orange
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon (8 grams)
For the icing:
- 1 cup powdered sugar (106 grams)
- 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- To make the dough, combine the milk, butter, and sugar in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir occasionally. When the mixture begins to steam and bubbles appear around the edges (do not boil), remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle the yeast over the cooled mixture and let sit for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine 5 cups of the flour with the milk and yeast mixture and stir until the dough comes together. Cover with a towel, set in a warm place, and let rise for one hour. Punch down the dough and add the remaining ½ cup flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir, adding an additional ½ cup of flour if needed to work the dough into a ball. Knead a few times on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth.
- Roll the dough into a large rectangle about 25 inches long and 12 inches wide. Brush with the melted butter, and sprinkle with the chopped cranberries, brown sugar, orange zest, and cinnamon. Starting on the long side of the dough rectangle, gently roll the dough towards you, being sure to keep the dough tight. Pinch the edges together with the roll. Use a sharp knife (I actually like to use unflavored dental floss, wrapping it around the dough and pulling it tight) to cut the dough into 1 ½ inch sectioned rolls.
- Place the rolls in a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Let rise for an additional 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes, until the rolls are lightly brown.
- To make the icing, combine the powdered sugar and orange juice and stir until smooth. Pour over the cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.
- The cinnamon rolls will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days. If desired, rewarm the rolls in their baking dish at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.