Sweet morning rolls with a soft interior and a hint of orange.
As I was writing this post, a poetic urge struck me. I hope you enjoy the first poem I’ve written in many years. 🙂 (Recipe and recipe thoughts are posted below.)
“An Ode to Orange Sweet Rolls”
Morning rolls, ah morning rolls.
Sweet yeasty dough baked into rolls.
My love for you is deep and sound.
But baking time does not abound
In early morning light, I fear.
The children wake and soon appear.
Their hungry wails are piercing so
I cannot wait to start the dough.
For you take hours to mix and rise.
At night I must begin! It’s wise!
The bread machine I reach and take
off of its shelf so I can bake.
In goes the butter, egg, and zest.
And sugar too. You are so blessed!
Some buttermilk and flour, too.
A dash of salt and yeast for you.
Dumped into the machine they go.
Then you come out a sticky dough.
In evening light I roll and fill
that dough which in the morning will
be baked up into hot sweet buns
the sweet orange glaze over you runs
And sliding over little lips
Your sweetness enters leaving drips
Some evidence of you, dear rolls.
We say goodbye to oatmeal bowls.
For orange sweet rolls we love the best.
Homemade with sugar, yeast, and zest.
-by Katie, blog author of quirky and wonderful
I’m not a fan of bread-y texture in sweet rolls. They should be tender and easy to pull apart. No amount or quality of filling covers up a dry roll, so I like to start with a great dough. After perusing many recipes for cinnamon rolls and orange rolls, I put together this recipe for dough.
It turned out splendidly soft and lightly sweet.
Most orange roll recipes call for zest in the filling or the icing, but I threw some in the dough, too. That touch of citrus does wonders for sweet breads.
Once I started the dough, I had to decide on filling. Every recipe I looked at did it differently.
Marmalade and butter?
Marmalade, butter and sugar?
Marmalade, butter and brown sugar?
Butter, zest, sugar and juice?
Sugar, cinnamon, and butter? (A little too regular cinnamon roll for me…)
In the end I opted for butter, zest, and brown sugar.
Remember to spread your zest with a spatula… get that good zesty flavor in every bite!
The brown sugar really darkens the flavor. It was pleasing and subtle. But I might go with regular granulated sugar next time. Just to see if it perks up the rolls a bit and highlights the orange flavor.
I like to mark my rolls before cutting. You can cut them with dental floss if you like (unflavored), but I prefer using a knife. Since I don’t chill the dough before forming, they don’t come out perfectly shaped anyway. But who cares when they taste this good?
I glazed the rolls with a simple mix of powdered sugar, butter, orange juice, and a pinch of salt. It was a very light glaze that added just a hint of sweetness and orange flavor to the rolls. Not overpowering or sickly sweet. And the dough with the filling was sweet enough that these didn’t need a load of frosting on top.
We were almost finished with the pan before I remembered to take a picture. Soft and sticky and gooey and yummy… I love the zest flecks…
Orange Sweet Rolls
- 1 c. buttermilk (or 1 TBSP lemon juice with enough milk to make 1 cup)
- 1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c. sugar
- zest of 1 orange (about 1 TBSP)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 c. all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 2 tsp yeast
- 6 TBSP butter, softened
- zest of 1 orange (about 1 TBSP)
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 TBSP butter, softened
- 2-3 TBSP orange juice, or more as needed
- pinch of salt
- Add all dough ingredients to your bread machine in the order specified by your manufacturer. Start the dough cycle. *Tips: Warm the buttermilk and cut the butter into small pieces for better incorporation and yeast activity. After the machine has been on for about five minutes, check the consistency of the dough. It should have formed a smooth ball of dough. If it is too runny and isn’t coming together in a ball, add a small spoon of flour at a time (about a tablespoon) until it comes together. If it is too dry or shaggy-looking and has trouble picking up all the flour because it is dry, add water (about a tablespoon at a time) until the dough comes together in a smooth ball. If you add extra flour or water, allow the dough to incorporate another minute or so before checking the consistency again and adjusting more if needed.
- While the dough is rising, set out butter for the filling to soften. Then butter a 9×13 baking dish.
- When the dough is done, roll it out on a lightly floured counter into a large rectangle. (like a large cookie sheet, about 11×17 inches or bigger)
- Spread the softened butter over the surface leaving a little space around the long edges so it is easier to seal after rolling.
- Sprinkle the zest over the top of the butter. Spread out the zesty goodness with a spatula, smearing it into the butter.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Spread it gently with your hands to make and even layer and press it slightly into the dough.
- Starting on the long edge, roll up the dough and pinch at the seam to seal.
- Mark your cuts for 20 rolls, about an inch each. Slice off the rolls, and place in your prepared baking dish (4 rolls across and 5 rolls long).
- Cover the rolls and place them in the fridge overnight.
- Set them out to rise the next morning. Give them at least an hour to warm up before you bake them. *Mine never seem to rise much here, but they still taste good and have a beautifully soft texture.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are a deep golden brown. Sweet rolls are more forgiving slightly overdone than slightly raw, so err on the side of a minute or two too long.
- While the rolls are baking, stir the glaze ingredients together. Start with just 1 tablespoon of orange juice, and increase the amount until you reach your desired consistency. (I went with a thinner consistency this time because I wanted more orange flavor without adding zest. Less orange juice will produce more of a frosting consistency while more juice will yield a glaze. If you opt for a frosting consistency, you might want to double it so you have plenty to frost the orange rolls.)
- After the rolls come out of the oven, use a spoon to distribute the glaze evenly over the rolls. Serve warm.
I wish you all a delightful Wednesday!