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Happy Orange Rolls

I love that citrus comes on in the middle of Winter here.   The day can be cold and grey… and all you need to do is peel a clementine and it’s like a little ray of sunshine.

I love to make citrus treats this time of year and these orange rolls are perhaps the most special of all my citrus recipes.  My mom used to make them when I was young for a luncheon or wedding shower… and because she was a good mom, she usually made extra for us kids.

They were a rare and favorite treat.

Here’s how to make these lovely Orange Rolls:

Orange Rolls

For the dough:
4- 1/2 tsp. Dry Active Yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
4- 1/2 cups of flour
- – - – - – - – - – -
For the filling:
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
Zest of one orange
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For the Glaze:
Juice of one orange
Approx 1 cup of powdered sugar
- – - – - – - – - – -
The day before serving, combine warm water and milk with dry active yeast.  Let stand for 10 minutes to activate the yeast.  Melt butter and set aside to cool.  In a stand mixer, fitted with a bread hook, combine yeast mixture, beaten eggs, melted butter, sugar, salt and 2- 1/2 cup of the flour.  Mix until smooth.  Add remaining 2 cups of flour and mix thoroughly.  Dough will be very soft.  Allow it to raise until double.  Punch down and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate overnight.
Three hours before serving, turn dough onto greased counter and cut into two.  Roll out into 1/2 inch thick rectangle.  Mix filling ingredients together and spread evenly over rolled out dough.  Starting with long side, roll up into a long roll (jelly roll style).   Using a sharp knife, cut into 1 inch slices and place cut side down into a well-greased muffin tin.
Bake at 400 degrees from approximately 12 minutes or until golden brown.
While they are baking mix together the glaze.  Glaze rolls while hot.  Serve warm or room temperature.  Makes 2 to 2- 1/2 dozen rolls.

***The dough for these orange rolls must be made a day ahead or at the very least, early in the morning if you are serving them in the evening, as the dough requires being chilled.

The day before serving, combine warm water and milk with the dry active yeast- think baby bottle warm.  Just a word about yeast, after trying different brands, I’ve settled on SAF- Instant brand as my favorite yeast.  It’s an almost fool proof yeast.

Allow the yeast to activate for about 10 minutes.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a bread hook, add melted (but cooled) butter (too hot butter can kill your yeast, scramble your eggs, and ruin your day), yeast mixture, sugar, salt….

well-beaten eggs, and 2- 1/2 cups of the flour.

Beat the mixture until smooth. 

Add remaining 2 cups of flour and mix to form a soft dough.

Allow your dough to rise until double in bulk.

Don’t be alarmed by how soft your dough is, once it’s chilled in the refrigerator, it will be nice and workable.

Punch down your dough, cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

3 hours before serving, remove your chilled dough from the refrigerator and turn it onto your prepared surface.  I use (and LOVE) my pastry frame for rolling out rolls.  The frame absorbs most of the flour, so your rolls stay light.

If you don’t have a pastry frame, I prefer rolling out my rolls on a greased counter or cutting board with shortening or butter, rather than using flour.  That way your rolls stay light.  You would also want to grease your rolling pin.

Since the dough is well chilled, it’s very easy to work with and not too sticky.

Cut your dough in two.

And roll it out.  My pastry frame came with the rolling pin cover you see.  That way your dough doesn’t stick to the pin either.

Roll your dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick.

Whisk together your filling- 1 cube (1/2 cup) of melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and the zest of one orange.

Pour half the filling onto your rolled out dough.

And spread it out evenly.  I like to leave an inch or so at the top for sealing the roll.

Roll up it up into a long roll.

I like to pinch my roll to seal it.  Then cut 1 inch slices with a sharp knife.

Place your rolls cut side down a well-greased muffin pan.  Cover with a cloth and allow them to rise until about double.

Repeat for the second dough.   Makes between 2 and 2- 1/2 dozen rolls.

Place your raised rolls in a 400 degree oven and cook for approximately 12 minutes, until golden brown.

Quick Tip:  Do you know how to check bread for doneness?  I like to press gently in the center of the largest roll in the center of the pan.  If the roll springs back, your rolls are done.  If it stays pressed down, they are still doughy and need more oven time.

While your rolls are in the oven, make the glaze.  Juice a whole orange.

Then add a cup or so of powdered sugar to make a thick glaze.

I like to add enough powdered sugar so the glaze stays on my spoon for a minute before drizzling.

When your rolls come out of the oven, golden and lovely, spoon on the glaze while they are still hot.

They are lovely served at room temperature… but if you really want to treat yourself, eat one while they are still warm.  Heaven on earth.

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