Friday, June 1, 2012

Pioneer Woman: Orange Sweet Rolls

Hmm ... my friend Kristin picked this recipe and I was honestly (but secretly) dreading it.  I'm just not a "sweet rolls" kind of person usually, and "orange"?  Orange scared me.  (On the other hand, I do love, love, love me some cinnamon rolls, and so do the kids, so I was good with trying this, even if I expected to not really care for it.)

Not to fear, these rolls were AWESOME and such a treat!  Even Mick liked them, and he was on the same page I was about them.  What a pleasant surprise.  Hooray!

PW Orange Sweet Rolls

Verdict:  Pleasantly surprised by how easy and delicious these are.
Cook it again: Yes, on a day when we have time.
Cost Factor:  You need fresh oranges and a jar of orange marmalade, but otherwise it's stuff we already always have:  flour, yeast, butter, brown sugar.  Maybe $5 on "special" purchases.

As I already said, I wasn't sure what I was going to get with this recipe, and really expected to politely try them and pitch them.  And I took the entire month to even get around to making them, but yesterday ended up being a great day to make them for a lot of reasons, so in a sense, it worked out quite well.

The first thing you have to do is mix your sugar and milk -- warm them on the stove, but don't get them hot.  Then add the yeast, and flour, etc.  Then let it proof for a few hours.  This is not the kind of recipe you want to make when you roll out of bed on a lazy weekend, unless you're not in any hurry to eat the rolls!  I got started on this when the kids were still asleep yesterday morning (it helped that they'd gone to bed at midnight Wednesday night -- yes, midnight -- so they slept 'til nearly 10:30 yesterday!).  We had no agenda yesterday -- or, more specifically, no set time frame for our to-do list -- so it was a perfect day to come downstairs and work on the sweet rolls in the background of the other puttering I had to do.

Dough proofing.  Rising.  Whatever it's called.

Dough done doing its thing.
 After getting the dough ready, you roll it out and then spread melted butter on it, followed by orange marmalade and a sprinkling of brown sugar.  (The recipe said to be generous with the brown sugar, and I was, and that was helpful.)  It so happened that Kristin stopped by yesterday while the dough was proofing (Kristin and I live ten minutes apart and NEVER "stop by," so yesterday really was a treat of a day!) and since she'd already made these, she warned me to go a little easy on the marmalade.  

Looks gross, doesn't it?  I promise no animals were involved.  This is just butter.
 Now, once you spread all the delicious stuff on the dough, you roll the dough up.  I had a hard-ish time with this because of the way I had the rolls positioned on my limited counter space, and consequently my "log" was not very tight.  That meant in turn that when I sliced it to make the individual rolls for my baking pan, they were oblong and started to fall apart a little, getting orange/butter/sugar goo everywhere and unrolling from their pretty shapes.

Starting the cutting process.
What I quickly discovered to do about this (instead of trying to repair the mess mid-slice) was to cut straight down in the roll, effectively pinching it into a football shape (as opposed to trying to cut gently and preserving the circular shape of the roll), let the slices fall to the slide, and then gently slide my knife under them to scoop them, in one piece, from the counter-top to the pan.  Note that I was using a chef's knife, so it was wide enough to do this.  Once in the pan, the rolls looked a little oblong, but they were otherwise intact.  And as I filled the pan and compressed the rolls a little, they resembled perfect round sweet rolls (or from my frame of reference, cinnamon rolls) more and more.

Ready for the oven!
 (Point of fact:  My experience with making cinnamon rolls up to this point in my life had been cracking open the cans of Pillsbury rolls and baking them.  And I was perfectly fine with that.  Why mess with a good thing?)

When I filled my baking pan I had about twelve rolls in it, and six inches of the log left in an imperfectly-rolled mess on the counter.  Although I could have broken out another small baking dish and kept at it, I decided to waste that little bit and just threw it away.  So I baked the dozen rolls.

Here they are, fresh out of the oven.
 They cooked up well, but I will be honest:  even at this point, I was nervous.  They smelled "floury," if that makes sense, and I was fearful they would be dry and yeasty, more like bread than sweet rolls.

The recipe calls for a sauce that's essentially some milk, the juice of two oranges, the zest of those oranges, a bunch of melted butter, and a bunch of confectioner's sugar.  I had two humongous oranges the size of grapefruits, so I only juiced and zested one, and I skipped the butter.  I also didn't measure anything, but just mixed the ingredients 'til I had a texture I liked, and then I poured the entire mixture over the rolls.  It was viscous, but it was still pourable -- by no means an "icing."

Here, with the orange-sugar-milk sauce.  This photo just doesn't do it justice. 
That, my friends, was the dealmaker.  The rolls were amazing once I added the sauce.  Uh-Maze-Ing.  CAM loved hers and devoured it.  WHM was angry that they were not cinnamon rolls, so he told me he wouldn't eat them and he didn't like them.  He then said they were terrible, but I got him to eat "one tiny bite," after which he kept asking for more bites, and eventually ate an entire roll.  CAM said, "well, they are a little terrible but I still love them."  I'm thinking we need to discuss what terrible means.

CAM's sweet roll.  Most of the oozy deliciousness had soaked in, and it was warm, tender, and perfect!
Mick came home later in the day and saw the rolls on the stovetop in their baking pan, and didn't even want to try them.  But then he ate at least two, plus part of another.

I'd say these were a success.  Time-consuming because of all the waiting for dough to rise (two hours in the beginning, then another half hour later on), but totally worth it.


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