November 5, 2009

Orange Rolls (quick and light... you can do it!)

{printable recipe}

Okay maybe "light" isn't the best word for these rolls, but compared to some I've made and eaten (and certainly enjoyed) these are pretty light. I started with my new favorite cinnamon roll dough and instead of using lemon zest in the dough, I used orange zest. Then after I rolled the dough out I covered it with sugar rubbed with the zest of an orange, a fragrant, delicious mixture. Roll it up, slice, rise, bake. The if you want to go along with the "light" idea top with a thin powdered sugar glaze. Or go for the good stuff with a nice orange cream cheese frosting.

Halloween is over, my friends, and the holidays are here. Are you ready? Soon it will be Christmas and the citrus trees will be heavy with ripe oranges. I'm going to pretend like its already here and make another batch of these. You should too! And really, if my little man can do this, I know you can... your family will thank you!

Orange Rolls
adapted from the Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart

{printable recipe}

Yields one big baking sheet worth of rolls (about 12-18 depending on how you slice them- I like a little variation so people can choose a big or small roll- use a bench cutter for neat slices or dental floss in a pinch)

6 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 1/2 tablespoons shortening or butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, slightly beaten
grated zest of two oranges, divided use
3 1/2 cups bread or all purpose flour (I used King Arthur's bread flour)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (for filling)

Cream together sugar, salt, and shortening on medium high speed in mixer with paddle attachment. Whip in the egg and one teaspoon of the orange zest until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and mix for about 10 minutes on medium, or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. Add a little flour or water if necessary to attain this texture.

Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough into it, cover, and let rise for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Rub together remaining orange zest with 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl until fragrant.

Lightly flour or oil a counter and roll the dough into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick, or 18 by 9 inches wide. Sprinkle the orange sugar over the dough and roll it up into a log, with the seam down. Slice the log, making the pieces about an inch thick. Place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and let rise until nearly doubled (about an hour in my lovely desert home).

Bake at 350 on the middle rack for 20 to 30 minutes, or until gold brown. Remove from oven, let cool, and glaze with powdered sugar icing or cream cheese icing.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
1 block Neufchatel (reduced fat) cream cheese, softened
1 stick of butter, softened
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 bag (1 pound) powdered sugar
Fresh squeezed orange juice (from the zested oranges), as needed (about 1 tablespoon)

Cream the cream cheese, butter, and orange zest until smooth and well combined. With the mixer off, add the powdered sugar. Cover with a clean dish towel and combine on low speed until the sugar is incorporated. Remove towel and increase speed to make a smooth frosting, adding orange juice until desired consistency is reached.

Spread on slightly cooled orange rolls and enjoy!


  1. I like the orange cream cheese frosting you used! Love that pic of your son rolling the dough.

  2. I LOVE YOU. Seriously. My husband loves those orange cinnamon rolls, you know, the ones in the can? I've been meaning to adapt a recipe one of these days and you did it for me! Thank you thank you!

  3. I love this recipe! I haven't made these for a while but ow I'm going to have to try your version with the orange cream cheese!

  4. Great variation. Love the orange zest addition.

  5. Cute dough roller! Yum to orange rolls!

  6. Thank you for this recipe!

  7. YUM!!! I haven't had orange rolls in forever and I keep thinking taht I so need to!!