One of my favorite combinations is cranberry and orange. Let’s face it, these two just belong together, whether it’s scones, muffins, cranberry sauce or cranberry relish. Cranberries are in season now so if you love this tarty fruit you might want to pick up a bag or two and put in the freezer. I started freezing them so that I had some to cook with all year long. I prefer fresh or frozen berries to dried cranberries plus they don’t have the added sugar that dried cranberries do. Along with antioxidants, they provide many vitamins and minerals that we all need in our daily diet. I must confess, sweet rolls probably negate all the positives of eating cranberries but after the year we’ve had I’m going to give myself a break and indulge in a few rolls. The rest can be frozen for up to a couple month’s. I like to freeze 2 rolls per package and that way I can have a sweet roll now and then. These rolls are messy and don’t look as perfect as some of my other sweet rolls but the taste is among the best. For me it always starts with brioche dough, I never waver with any other dough, it’s just that good. The cranberry orange jam was adapted from “Plated Cravings”. I had an idea of what the filling should be and this recipe was about as perfect as I could have imagined. And if that’s not enough I made an orange glaze that soaked into every crack and crevice of these rolls. I hope you’ll keep these in mind next time you are craving sweet rolls. They have a festive feel for the holidays but I think they would be perfect any time of year.
Start with the cranberry orange jam filling first. It needs to be cooked and completely cool before you can spread it on the brioche dough. You’ll need a bag of cranberries which equals 4 cups, some sugar, orange juice and orange zest.
Once all the flour has been incorporated the dough will be sticky and wet.
Remove the dough to a work surface and generously sprinkle with flour. Knead the dough with just enough flour to form the dough into a round ball. Place dough in a large bowl and place in a warm place to rise. Cover the dough with a cup towel and allow to rise for 2 – 3 hours.
Begin to roll the long side of the dough from the bottom up until you have a long roll. Gently tuck the ends underneath to seal. Slice the rolls with a sharp knife or with dental floss approximately 3/4 inch thick. Do the same steps with the other piece of dough, spread jam, roll into a log and cut into slices.
Place the rolls into prepared pans that have been buttered around the bottom and sides. Give a little bit of space around each roll to expand and rise. Once the rolls have doubled in bulk, place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Cranberry Orange Sweet Rolls
3/4 cup Lukewarm Water
3/4 tablespoons Yeast
3/4 tablespoons Kosher Salt
4 Eggs, beaten
1/4 cup Honey
1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter, softened
3 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
Cranberry Orange Jam (adapted from Plated Cravings)
1 (12 ounce bag) Cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Orange Juice, (I used “Cuties” Mandarin Oranges)
2 teaspoons Orange Zest
1 cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons Orange Juice, (I used “Cuties” Mandarin Oranges)
2 teaspoons Orange Zest
To make Cranberry Orange Jam: Combine cranberries, sugar, orange juice and zest in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir the pot until all the sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes. The cranberries should burst and the jam slightly thickened. Pour into a bowl and let cool completely. Set aside.
To make Brioche Dough: Add the water, yeast and salt in a mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Let the yeast sit for a few minutes to activate and begin to bubble and foam. Add the honey, eggs and softened butter. Stir with a wooden spatula.
Begin to add the flour a little at a time. Stir the flour into the liquid ingredients until it begins to form into a dough. Use your dough hook and mix on low to incorporate all the flour into the dough. Scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary. The dough will be sticky and wet. Prepare a work space and generously sprinkle with flour. Knead the dough with enough flour to form a round ball. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with a cup towel and place in a warm area to rise (approximately 2 – 3 hours).
To assemble rolls: When dough has doubled in bulk, punch down the dough and using your previous works space knead the dough until it is easy to work with. Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 rectangles. Take one rectangle and roll out to approximately 1/4 inch thickness. Spread the cranberry orange jam evenly over the top leaving a 1 inch border around the edges. Gently begin to roll the long side of the dough from the bottom up until you have a long roll. Tuck the ends underneath to seal. Slice the rolls with a sharp knife or use dental floss to slice through the dough approximately 3/4 inch thick. Prepare the reserved dough and cranberry orange jam as instructed above to make another pan of rolls.
Prepare (2) 9 inch round or square baking pans by rubbing a pat of butter on the bottom and around the sides of the pan. Place the cut rolls in the pan leaving a little bit of space around each roll to rise and expand. Prepare the other half of the dough as instructed above. When you have both pans filled with the sweet rolls, place in a warm space and cover with a cup towel. Allow to rise and double in bulk. Bake rolls for 30-35 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.
Combine sifted confectioners sugar, orange juice and zest. Whisk until all the contents are mixed together and forms a glaze. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls.