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Orange Cinnamon Rolls

I have such vivid memories of spending the night at my friend Kevin’s house on the weekends when I was a kid, and the next morning waking up to Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls for breakfast. They were a change from the standard cinnamon rolls we made (that I also loved), so they always felt like a special treat. The icing (as always) was the best part.

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After the delicious chocolate raspberry rolls of recent memory, I was feeling inspired to make even more sweet rolls and based this recipe off of them (namely, scaling back the number of rolls I made and using orange juice in the dough to give the dough a subtle orange flavor). Despite these babies not looking quite as decadent, I think they might have been even better. Our neighbor came over for brunch to enjoy them with us before he took us sailing on the Puget Sound, and he declared them the best cinnamon rolls he’d ever had.

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Orange Cinnamon Rolls

yields 11 rolls

Dough

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 packet dry active yeast
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Proof the yeast by stirring it into the warm water along with the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Wait 5-10 minutes until mixture is foamy.
  2. Add in the orange juice, orange zest, butter, egg, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Slowly add in the flour 1/2 cup at a time until mixture comes together and no longer feels sticky. Beat the dough in the stand mixer on medium for 7-8 minutes to knead the dough.
  4. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and allow the dough to double in size (1-2 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is).
  5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 9″x12″ rectangle.
  6. Brush the melted butter on the rolled out dough leaving a 1″ border on the top and bottom of the rectangle.
  7. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and then sprinkle over the melted butter.
  8. Roll the dough into a 12″ log.
  9. Cut the dough into 1 1/2″ rolls and place into a 9″x13″ baking dish lined with parchment paper.
  10. Cover the rolls and allow the rolls to rise for an hour or cover and refrigerate them overnight.
  11. Bake at 400º covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes followed by 5 minutes uncovered. If baking from the refrigerator, allow the rolls to come to room temperature before baking (about an hour on the counter).
  12. While the rolls are baking, whisk together all of the ingredients for the icing in a bowl until smooth.
  13. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before drizzling icing over cooled rolls.

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