Orange Sweet Rolls
Updated: Apr 12
There's nothing better than freshly-baked sweet rolls and these are so fresh and bright - the perfect combination of orange, fresh ginger and brown sugar. These rolls are a light and not-too-sweet made from scratch treat that everyone loves. Fresh ginger adds a great element to the flavor and freshly squeezed orange juice makes a big difference too. I've included an option for freezing the dough so you can enjoy fresh from the oven rolls with breakfast or any time. Believe me, these are wonderful.
Orange Sweet Rolls
By: Melinda Keckler, CrinkledCookbook.com
1/3 cup orange juice
2/3 cup milk
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or one 3/4 oz envelope)
3 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp orange zest (about 2 oranges)
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
3 cups flour
2 tsp butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp softened butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp orange juice, freshly squeezed
pinch of salt
Heat orange juice and milk to 120° and combine with yeast, allow to sit for a few minutes before adding the remaining sweet roll ingredients in a stand mixer (or large bowl with a sturdy spoon for stirring). Using the bread hook, stir until combined and the dough is smooth and elastic. (If using a bowl and spoon, you'll want to knead the dough for a few minutes on a floured surface.)
Place dough in a greased bowl and turn to grease top. Cover and let rise for about an hour. While the dough rises, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and set aside. In another small bowl, whisk the glaze ingredients and set aside.
After the dough has doubled in size, turn onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 18"x 8" rectangle. (I highly recommend using a silicone pastry mat. It helps gauge the size of the dough when you roll it out and how large each roll is when you are dividing them. I bought my pastry mat a few years ago, but this one looks very similar.) Spread melted butter on top, followed by the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg mixture. Starting with a long side, roll up tightly. Slice the dough into 1" sections and place in greased muffin cups.* Allow to rise for about an hour.
Bake in preheated 375° oven for about 9-11 minutes. Place rolls on a cooling rack and allow to cool for a few minutes, but drizzle with icing while still warm.
Servings: 18 sweet rolls
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*For fresh baked sweet rolls any time, after rolling and slicing the rolls, place the rolls in the muffin cups, then place in the freezer until frozen solid. Remove the rolls from the muffin cups and place the frozen rolls in a zip bag. On the night before you plan to enjoy fresh baked rolls in the morning, remove them from the freezer and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to defrost overnight on your kitchen counter. In the morning, bake as usual and enjoy fresh sweet rolls with your morning coffee or tea.
This is one of my favorite recipes. The icing for these rolls is what really sets them apart from other cinnamon rolls. Be sure to use freshly squeezed orange juice - it does make a big difference. This recipe was inspired by a bread recipe I found in a little cookbook my Auntie Maureen sent me a few months ago. I'm so tickled with how it turned out, this is now my go-to recipe for sweet rolls. Thank you Auntie Maureen for the inspiration!