Well, I now have something besides a baby on which to blame my ever-and-rapidly-expanding girth. Sweet roll baking has completely taken over bread baking in my life and kitchen, and I’m not even sorry.
Leftover cranberry sauce has to be one of my favourite leftovers, and these sweet rolls are proof of why. Just thinking about the gorgeous dough, the smell when they’re in the oven, and, of course, the sweet-tart taste of these babies has my mouth watering.
Not to mention the colours – chocolate and cranberry, with a bit of orange zest thrown in, make a spectacularly beautiful combination. I could’ve stared at these all day, and I definitely went heavy on the pictures, even taking some pictures during prep, which never happens. The slow pace of yeast dough baking does have it’s advantages.
I have been craving sushi and Subway subs and nachos and chocolate and pizza and alcohol and smoothies and cheese and spinach salad and basically eVVvvverything this pregnancy, and these sweet rolls were one of the few perfect matches between craving and actuality. In order to keep my other sweet rolls under control, I’ve been trying to maintain my healthy eating by simply not having a lot of things in the house, making my husband rummage a little deeper for snacks before sighing and settling for a bowl of cereal, so he loved having these sweet rolls around too.
See, it’s confusing – some rolls = good, some rolls = bad. This is why I was never good at math, it’s far too ambiguous.
I prefer things clear cut – like who doesn’t want a pan of this kind of goodness sitting on their counter?!
If you don’t have leftover cranberry sauce, don’t let that stop you – you could just as easily skip it and have straight-up chocolate orange sweet rolls, or if you love a particular jam, slather a layer of that in there. Any mixed berry sauce will work too, or real raspberries (or another frozen berry) tossed with cornstarch, like in these Raspberry Sweet Rolls. The possibilities are literally endless when it comes to sweet rolls – I want to try a lemon/coconut/white chocolate combo next! And don’t skip the glaze…after all, what’s a sweet roll without a bunch of glaze?
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ Tbsp active dry yeast (or 2 standard packages)
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4½ cups all purpose flour, plus some for rolling dough
- 1 cup cranberry sauce
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 cup icing sugar/confectioner's sugar
- 2-3 Tablespoons orange juice
- DOUGH: In a small saucepan or in the microwave, warm the milk over until lukewarm (about 95 degrees F/still comfortable to the touch). Pour the warm milk into the bowl of an electric stand mixer and stir in the sugar and yeast. Let stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
- With the dough hook attachment, blend the butter, eggs, and salt into the yeast. Scrape down the sides if needed and don't worry if it's not totally mixed. Gradually add the flour and beat at medium speed until a soft dough forms that just pulls away from the sides of the bowl, then beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 10 minutes longer. (If you do not have a stand mixer with a hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.)
- Gather the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl, turning dough once to grease all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving overhangs on the sides. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into an even 10x24 inch rectangle.
- Spread cranberry sauce evenly on rolled dough, then sprinkle on chocolate chips and orange zest. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 24-inch-long log. Cut into 15 even rolls (about 1.5 inches each). Arrange them in the prepared baking pan, cut sides up. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap sprayed lightly with cooking spray and let them rise in a warm place until they are puffy, 1.5 - 2 hours.
- When done rising, preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Bake for 25 minutes, until they are golden and the tops are firm to the touch. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for about 15 minutes before glazing, or let cool completely before freezing.
- GLAZE: In a small bowl, whisk the icing sugar and orange juice until smooth, starting with 2 Tbsp and adding more if necessary to reach desired drizzling consistency. Pour glaze over the rolls and serve warm (either fresh or microwaved - both amazing :)).
- To make ahead: During the second rise, cover the sliced rolls with plastic wrap sprayed lightly with cooking spray and let sit overnight before baking. Baked rolls can be frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months and warmed up to enjoy at a later date. Glaze right before serving.
Adapted from Food & Wine.