A few weeks ago I was making a loaf of orange-cranberry bread and thought that the flavors would be delicious in a cinnamon-type roll. I searched the Internet and couldn't find the type of recipe that I was looking for, mainly a roll that included fresh oranges. I found recipes that included orange zest or orange juice, but no fresh orange segments. I knew I would have to go out on my own to find what I was looking for. I adapted the dough recipe from a Gourmet magazine recipe for Cranberry Cinnamon Buns and added in the juice and zest of an orange. For the filling, I used a combination of fresh cranberries and dried ones. The combination of the two lead to a tart-sweet pairing that was really delicious. I also added orange zest and small chunks of fresh orange segments. There is a surprising burst of citrus in each bite that keeps you coming back for more. These rolls are delicious on their own, but I decided to put them over the edge by topping them with a cream cheese orange icing. Sinful! These rolls can be made ahead of time for a delicious holiday breakfast. I hope your family will enjoy them as much as mine did!
- 1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
- 2 (1/4 ounce) packages dry active yeast (5 tsp.)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for dusting your work surface
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup warm milk
- Zest of one orange
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (from the orange you zested)
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 stick of very soft butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- Zest of two oranges
- 1 cup fresh orange segments, chopped into small chunks
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, chopped roughly
For the icing:
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
- Orange Juice
- Zest of one orange
Stir together the warm water, yeast, and 1/4 teaspoon of the sugar in a small bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Place 5 cups of flour, salt and remaining sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix at low speed until combined. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients along with the yeast. Beat at low speed until the flour is mixed in well. Increase the speed to medium and beat until a soft dough forms. Add the butter and continue beating at medium speed until the dough is smooth. Grease a large bowl with butter or cooking spray. Add the dough to the greased bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Turn out the dough onto a well floured surface. Roll into a large rectangle. (Mine was roughly 16 x 12.) Spread the dough with the softened butter. Sprinkle evenly with the white and brown sugars, the orange zest, the chopped fresh oranges, and the dried and fresh cranberries. (1/2 to 3/4 cup of toasted, chopped pecans would be a delicious addition at this point!)
Starting with the long side of the dough, roll the dough up tightly. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. (I find it helpful to use a piece of thread to cut through the dough.) Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Place the buns in the pans. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. (See note below to allow rolls to rise overnight.)
While buns are cooling, beat the softened cream cheese with the powdered sugar. Beat in the orange juice, one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Stir in the orange zest. Spread icing over the warm rolls.
Note: If you would like to prepare the buns ahead of time, wrap the pan with plastic wrap. Then wrap the pans with a thick towel and place in a warm spot overnight. The next morning, remove the towel and plastic wrap and bake as directed above.