Orange Rolls

I hosted a Soup Party at my house this past weekend — everyone who came brought a different kind of soup, and I provided crusty bread and dessert.

For dessert, I decided a nice contrast to soup would be tasty orange rolls.  For some reason, my brain had forgotten that everyone would be filled up with the aforementioned crusty bread, and then we’d be following that up with more bread.

But nobody seemed to care.  In fact, they all requested the recipe, so here it is.  It’s adapted from a (badly written) recipe I clipped out of Cooking Light years ago.  The dough is rich but tender, enriched with a little butter and sour cream, and the glaze is unusual — a orange-flavored sugar syrup that is tempered with more sour cream.  It’s advised that you consume these sticky treats with a fork.

Orange Rolls

For the dough:

  • 1 3/4 tsp. instant yeast*
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream (do not use fat-free)
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups flour, plus more for dusting while kneading

For the filling:

  • grated zest from one orange
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted and cooled (this is for brushing on the dough before sprinkling on the filling)

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • squeezed juice from half of one orange (the one you just zested for the filling)
  • 1/4  cup reduced-fat sour cream (again, do not use fat-free, it tastes like plastic)

To make the dough, combine yeast, water, sugar, sour cream, butter, salt, egg, and ONE cup of the flour in a mixer and beat until smooth.  Add remaining 2 cups of flour and mix until a soft dough forms, about 5 minutes.  Turn out onto a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, adding extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.  Place dough in a greased bowl and cover, then let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour 15 minutes).  While the dough rises, combine the sugar and orange zest for the filling (do not add the butter!). 

When dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a board (I like to use a clean cutting board coated with cooking spray to prevent sticking).  Spray a 9″x13″ baking pan with cooking spray.

Divide dough in half; roll out one half into a rectangle, approx. 8″x10″ (I actually have no idea what size the dough was, I’m just estimating).  Brush the rectangle with 1 Tbs. of the melted butter, and sprinkle half of the zest/sugar mixture on top.  Beginning at the short end, roll up the dough into a big log, pinching the seam to seal it.  Cut the log into about eight rolls and place spiral-side up into the baking pan.  Repeat with the other half of the dough, using remaining butter and filling.  You may have to cut the second log of dough into only 7 rolls; I’ve never been able to fit more than 15 rolls in a pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot for 25 minutes or until doubled in size.  When ready, bake the rolls for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

While the rolls bake, prepare the glaze: Combine sugar, butter, and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook for 3 minutes, or until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat, let cool slightly, and stir in sour cream.  Drizzle glaze over warm rolls; let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

*Note: You can substitute the instant yeast with 2 1/4 teaspoons dry-active yeast.  Just proof it in the warm water with a pinch of sugar before combining it with the other ingredients.

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