These are the orange rolls that almost weren’t. Sometime on Sunday morning I got hit with a bad bug. I hesitate to even say “flu” because that seems to throw people into a panic. I had a fever and the worst sore throat of my life. Randy had to leave town Monday morning so the timing was truly awful. Fortunately our preschool is very flexible and we were able to get some extra hours so I could sleep. I figured there was no way I could stick to my Holly B’s challenge this week.
I woke up this morning still not feeling well but also just so bored. I’m tired of laying down, I’m tired of all the terrible TV options and I don’t have the attention span to read when I’m sick. I figured I might as well bake. Besides, I have been excited about baking these rolls for the past week. Over the many years of eating Holly B’s treats, I have tasted just about everything and I do have my favorites. If they have just been pulled out of the oven, I will always choose a cinnamon roll. But every so often, an Orange Swirl will call my name.
Here is where one of those weird food tics come to light. I like oranges (especially clementines) but I don’t like anything orange flavored. Orange popsicles and lollipops are a last resort for me. I don’t even like the color orange and I certainly would never choose to eat orange cheesecake or pound cake, even one I have made. (OK, just for fun, here is another tic. I like fresh cherries and cherry flavored things, but I can’t stand cherry desserts. Like cherry pie, cobbler, etc. Yuck. Yes I know it’s weird.)
So why do I like these rolls? I don’t know. Because they are delicious? Because the orange is subtle and the glaze is lemon (which I love)? Because that Holly B can really work some magic? Why ask why? Sometimes in life, I have found it is better to not ask, especially when it comes to baked goods. Just trust and enjoy.
One Year Ago: Moroccan Harira Soup
Adapted from With Love & Butter
Makes 10 rolls
In her book, Holly directs you back to her Basic Bread recipe (with the Orange Bread variation) for the dough. For the sake of clarity, I am combining the recipes here. I found this dough to be exceptionally sticky, so please heed the advice to keep flouring your board and the dough well. Also my dough measured about 16 inches by 28 inches and it all turned out fine.
For the dough:
3/4 of a fresh orange, unpeeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp. honey
1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) quick-rise yeast
2 tbsp. mild tasting oil
5 cups flour, plus more for dusting
3 tbsp. milk powder
1 3/4 tsp. salt
For the Swirls:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
1 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp. nutmeg
For the glaze:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, purée the orange. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add 1 1/2 cups warm water and process to a fairly lumpless liquid. Transfer the mixture to a measuring cup and add enough warm water to bring the level to 2 1/3 cups. Pour this mixture into a large bowl. Add the honey, yeast, and oil. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, milk powder, and the salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet.
Using a wooden spoon or a stand mixer, mix the dough vigorously until it is too stiff to continue. Coat your hands with a little flour and knead the dough inside the bowl (this really minimizes the mess on your work table). Knead until the dough is smooth, or use a dough hook. (DT: I used a spoon and then the dough hook.) If it feels too stiff, sprinkle with warm water and continue to knead; if too wet or sticky, add a little more flour. Two to five minutes of kneading should be enough. Dust the ball of dough with a little flour. Lightly oil the bowl and place the dough back inside. Drape with a dishtowel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size. (DT: Mine took about an hour.)
Once dough has doubled, do not punch down, but gently turn onto a well-floured surface, taking care not to deflate. Flour the top of the dough and pat it into a rough rectangle. Now take a rolling pin and finish rolling the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches wide by 28 inches long and 1/4-inch thick. Check the underside of the dough frequently for sticking, sprinkling with flour as required.
Place the rectangle of dough in front of you with the short sides top and bottom. Brush the dough with the melted butter. Drizzle on the honey and distribute the almonds and nutmeg evenly over the surface.
Starting with the short side, roll up the dough, tugging gently as you go, to create a snug log. Turn the log seam side down and slice into 10 even tolls with a serrated knife. Space the rolls out evenly on a large parchment paper covered cookie sheet and let them rise for 30 minutes, or until puffy and nearly doubled in size.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the center position. Bake the Swirls 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake 8 to 10 minutes more, or until slightly browned. Check the bottoms: The tops can look pale while the bottoms get too dark. Allow the Swirls to cool slightly while you make the lemon glaze.
Heat the lemon juice and honey in a saucepan or in the microwave. Brush on the warm Swirls. Serve with butter.