experiments in cooking

Archive for the ‘Breakfast Foods’ Category

Night of the Sweet Rolls

Two Fridays ago, I set out to bake one batch of sweet rolls for a Saturday women’s breakfast I’d planned for my church and wound up making three batches instead.

I started at 4:30 p.m., mixing up the dough for an overnight cinnamon rolls recipe I first tried in December, although this time I planned to make caramel pecan rolls instead of orange rolls. I prepared the dough, put it in the refrigerator, mixed up the topping, and left the house for a couple of hours.

When I got home, the dough hadn’t risen at all. I set it out to rise for another hour, and it still hadn’t risen. So I got worried, and I mixed up a second batch. When it too didn’t rise, I panicked and mixed up a third batch using a second recipe for “everyday cinnamon rolls” and a new jar of yeast. This recipe was one I’d used before that doesn’t require proofing the dough. image

Just as I was forming the third batch into rolls, I realized the first batch had finally risen.

Which meant the second was going to rise as well.

So, faced with an intimidating amount of cinnamon roll dough, I turned the third batch into caramel pecan rolls that I baked before I went to bed around midnight. I made the first batch into two pans of cinnamon rolls, which I refrigerated overnight,  mixed up a quick orange icing (adding food coloring to get it to the right color of yellow) to ice that batch after baking it the next  morning, and froze the dough from the second batch.

What I had envisioned as a couple of hours spent making an easy pan of sweet rolls had turned into seven hours of work. I spilled, broke, and lost things, and I used almost every dish in the kitchen twice. 

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The next morning, after baking  the orange rolls, I took all the rolls to the breakfast–to which, as it turned out, almost everyone brought sweet rolls. Apparently they did this because I had suggested in an email that they bring “comfort food.”

I was ready to regret the time I’d spent the night before, battling all that dough and getting sticky and dropping powdered sugar on the dogs and missing out on watching a movie with my husband.

But then I remembered–cinnamon rolls are one of the best foods on earth.

So, I ate one of each of my own rolls plus some of what the other ladies brought.And you know what? They were really, really yummy! And I had enough rolls left over to freeze them individually for Sunday breakfast for the next couple of months.

Yes, I did think that night was torture. Yes, I did accidentally spill a new bag of flour over my pajamas and slippers after I thought I’d already finished cleaning up the giant mess I’d made. And yes, I did scream “I hate my life!” several times, which seems a bit melodramatic in retrospect.

But these rolls were so good, so comforting, that I would go through it again.

Overnight Orange Rolls

For Christmas morning 2010, I decided to bake some homemade orange rolls. I chose an overnight cinnamon rolls recipe I got from Chickens in the Road.

This recipes starts with the same dough I used to make pumpkin spice swirl bread in November, the loaf of bread that was only half-cooked and which I had to throw away after arriving at the church women’s breakfast.

I prepared the rolls on Dec. 24 after getting home from our German Mennonite Christmas Eve dinner at Chris’s mom’s house. They didn’t take long—I mixed the dough, let it rise, rolled the dough into a long, and cut it into 12 pinwheel rolls that I lay in my metal 9 x 13 pan, the one that has a lid. Then I shoved the pan in the fridge, where Christmas Day’s ham already waited.

On Christmas morning, the rolls weren’t raised as high as I expected. I wasn’t quite sure how they ought to look. So I let them sit out for about 45 minutes before baking them. It took about 35 minutes in the oven for them to reach the shade of golden brown I wanted. Once they were done, I let them cool a couple of minutes and then I spread an orange glaze over the top.

Unfortunately, as yummy as the rolls themselves tasted, I didn’t like the orange glaze. I might have liked it better as a thicker icing. The thing is, I make the Pillsbury orange rolls in a can every Saturday, and I’m used to the taste of the orange icing that’s included with those. My boys love the Pillsbury orange icing too—I mean absolutely LOVE it—and they were upset that these new orange rolls were merely glazed and not thickly iced.

“Where’s the icing?” Jonah complained.

“It’s on there,” I said.

“I don’t see it!” he said.

“I promise you, I put icing on the rolls,” I said.

“No, you didn’t,” he said, inspecting the roll carefully. Then he wailed, “I want my icing!”

“Tough,” I said. “You get what’s on there.”

Yes, it was a peaceful Christmas morning breakfast in the Nichols family.

At any rate, the next time I make these rolls I think I’ll use a powdered sugar white icing and spread it on thick. Preschoolers expect icing that they can see.

One-Pan Recipe (makes 12-15 rolls)

1 ½ cups warm water
1 tsp yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar*
(Optional add-ins: 1/3 cup oil, 1 egg)**
3 ½ cups flour

*If you have a sweet tooth, add up to 1/3 cup sugar to the dough instead of 2 tablespoons.

**If using oil and egg, you’ll need about 1/2 cup more flour.

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt, along with oil and egg, if using. Let sit five minutes. Stir in first cup and a half cup of flour with a heavy spoon. Add more flour a little at a time as needed, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. The amount of flour is approximate–your mileage may vary! Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled. (Usually, about an hour.) Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again. Roll out onto a floured surface into an approximately 15 x 8 rectangle.

Orange Filling:
2 tbsp plus 2 tsp butter (softened)

4 tbsp sugar (or brown sugar)

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp orange juice

1 tsp orange zest or extract

Brush dough with melted butter, orange juice, and orange zest. Combine sugar and cinnamon; generously spoon onto dough, taking care to get right up to the edges.

Roll dough up and seal seams. How many rolls you get will depend on how you cut the slices.

Place rolls in a large greased pan. To bake right away, let rise 30 minutes to an hour, until doubled, or for overnight rolls, stick the pan (covered) in the fridge. They’ll be risen and ready the next morning.

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for approximately 30 minutes.

Orange Glaze
For an orange glaze on top, stir together 1 cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons orange juice, and 1/4 teaspoon orange extract or orange peel.

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