Thursday, March 11, 2010

Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls

For years I had a problem—more of a fear, really.  A fear I refused to acknowledge, but a fear that would regularly freeze me in my tracks.  A fear of…yeast!  Every time I got a new baking cookbook, I would flip through it, skipping over the yeast bread section with trembling hands.  I would move straight to the quick bread section.  I felt at home with quick breads.  I knew how to treat them.  How mix the ingredients, but not to over mix the quick bread batter.  I was in my comfort zone.  Despite my fear, yeast breads called to me.   I was drawn to the cranberry cinnamon rolls in a home-style baking book so heavy with yeast breads recipes I had to get rid of it. 

Then one day, my dad gave me a bread machine for my birthday.  With this gift I began to conquer my fear of yeast bread.  I started with an actual loaf of bread baked in the bread machine itself.  It wasn’t so hard to make, but it wasn’t very good either.  I didn’t like the crust, and what was the big hole in the bottom of the bread? We didn’t normally eat bread with dinner, so the bread was just contributing extra calories we didn’t need.  I gave up making yeast bread again. 

The bread machine sat lonely and sad, until I came across a bread machine pizza dough recipe.  Now, pizza is something we ate often, and creating pizza from scratch was something we enjoyed.  So I began making pizza dough with my bread machine.  Pizza night was fun and exciting, and slowly I began to see yeast not as something to fear, but simply as an ingredient!

The cranberry cinnamon rolls still haunted me.  Why did I get rid of that cookbook?  Could I try the recipe on my own?  Did the recipe use fresh cranberries or dried.  Should I use bread flour or all-purpose?  I needed answers!  Lucky for me, has a recipe for cranberry cinnamon rolls.  I could finely satisfy my craving!  And, I didn’t even use my bread machine!

If you have a fear of yeast, these rolls are a great way to conquer your fear.  Rolls fresh from the oven are worth the effort.  These delicate, tart and sweet rolls are a new family favorite.  The kids have requested them for Easter, and since I don’t fear yeast, I will make them.

Cranberry Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from


½ cup warm water (105°-115°F)
2 (¼-oz) packages active dry yeast (5 teaspoons)
½ cup granulated sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup warm milk
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), softened

¼ cup water
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, separated
2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1 stick unsalted butter, very soft
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 ¼ cups powered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

To make the dough:
  In a small bowl, stir together warm water, yeast and a pinch of sugar, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over)

Put 5 cups of flour, salt, and remaining sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix the dough with the dough hook at low speed until combined.  In a small bowl, mix together the eggs and milk.  Add the egg mixture and the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients.  Beat on low until the flour is incorporated.  Change the speed to medium and beat until a very soft dough forms, about 7 minutes.  Add the butter and continue beating at medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes.  The dough will be sticky.

Rinse a large bowl with hot water, and add the dough to the wet bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place until it doubles in bulk, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. (I use my microwave.  It is the warmest place in my kitchen)

To make the filling:
  Bring water and 1 cup of granulated sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Add the cranberries and simmer until they begin to burst, about 2 minutes.  Pour though a large strainer.  Reserve the juice for another use, and cool the berries.

To form and bake buns:  Turn out dough out onto a well-floured surface.  Dust with flour and roll out into a 16-inch square.  Brush off excess flour, then spread the softened butter evenly over the dough.  Stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar.  Sprinkle evenly over dough, and dot with the cooled and drained cranberries.

Roll the dough, starting with the side nearest you, firmly but not tightly.  Once you have a log, pinch together the seam.  Trim off about 1 inch of each end, discard.  Cut the log crosswise into 12 slices.

Butter two 9-inch cake pans, and place 6 slices into each pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F while the buns are rising.  Bake buns in the lower third of the oven until golden brown and puffed, 30 to 35 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans.

To make the glaze:
  Stir together the powdered sugar, milk, orange juice, and zest with a fork until smooth.  Drizzle over the rolls while they are still hot.


  1. I love the idea of adding cranberries in the filling and orange juice and zest in the icing! Your rolls look fantastic!

  2. You're killing me!!! Beautiful.

    I have a teeny dilemma. I had a cake last summer - it was like a butter cake/pound cake and it had holes poked in the top into which some mixture was poured - it was buttery and sugary and amazingly delicious. Are you familiar with anything like it?

  3. Hi Memoria, The cranberries were a nice tart addition to the rolls. Thanks! Janice

    Hi Nutsy,

    The only cake I've made similar to that was a lemon cake I hope it helps. Janice



Related Posts with Thumbnails