My grandmother used to make cinnamon rolls for all her grandkids every Christmas morning. She would wake up early to make them and then drive them around to all the kids’ homes to share her rolls and see what the kids had received from Santa that year. As a kid, I grew to love Grandma’s cinnamon rolls and was so excited to see her and show her what I got for Christmas. So naturally, hot rolls are a part of Christmas morning to me. This year I wanted to try something different but still remember my grandmother in the process. Then I went to a church activity where someone made orange rolls that were slightly less sweet to eat with dinner and I had to make some again because they were so addicting!
Hot Orange Rolls from Christmas Recipes from the Lion House by Gloria W. Rytting
1 tablespoon yeast
Pinch of sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
4 cups flour
1/2 cup softened butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
Grated rind from 1 large orange
Dissolve yeast and pinch of sugar in 1/4 cup water. Heat milk, butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt till butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm and beat in yeast mixture, eggs, and 1 cup of the flour. Let rise until bubbly. Gradually add remaining flour and beat well with spoon or mixer – not necessary to knead. Cover and let rise till double in bulk. Mix 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and grated orange rind. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface into rectangle and spread with sugar-orange mixture. (Save a little sugar mixture to sprinkle over rolls when done.) Roll up as for cinnamon rolls. Cut into slices and place in greased muffin tins. Let rise till double. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved sugar mixture. Makes 18 rolls. (p.107 in “Christmas Recipes from the Lion House”)
I chose to halve the filling so that I could use them as dinner rolls and it worked out just right as a side dish to dinner. I also melted the butter to brush on the dough and then sprinkled the sugar and orange rind over the top and spread them out with a pastry brush because I thought it would be too difficult to spread the softened butter mixture over the dough. I baked them for 15 minutes and they were too done. I would recommend baking them for 12 minutes to have them be just right. These rolls smell heavenly and taste fabulous right from the oven! My family loved them and kept asking for them. For Christmas morning, I think these will be amazing right out of the oven with some orange icing on them (2 cups powdered sugar with the grated rind from another large orange and a little milk to make it the consistency you want). To make things easy for Christmas morning, you could even leave the dough in the fridge overnight for the first rise and then just roll them out in the morning and do the second rise before baking. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. I can’t wait to make more!