Recipe: Cranberry Nut Breakfast Rolls From the Kitchen Window column
NPR logo Cranberry Nut Breakfast Rolls

Cranberry Nut Breakfast Rolls

This recipe is adapted from an entire book of overnight recipes written by a B&B owner, Carol Gordon. It's called Sleep On It (Hyperion 2006).

T. Susan Chang for NPR
Cranberry Nut Breakfast Rolls
T. Susan Chang for NPR

Makes 24 rolls

For The Rolls

1/4 cup orange juice

1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled, plus 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, softened

1 cup buttermilk

2 large eggs

3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

3 to 4 cups bread flour

1/3 cup coarsely chopped roasted pecans or walnuts

Vegetable oil or nonstick vegetable oil spray

Zest of 1 orange, removed in strips and finely diced

1/2 cup heavy cream

For The Icing

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1/4 teaspoon pure orange extract

1/4 cup strained fresh orange juice, or enough to thin the icing to desired consistency

The Night Before

For the rolls, bring the orange juice to a boil in a small saucepan and place it in a bowl with the dried cranberries. Let stand for 10 minutes, then strain, reserving the liquid.

Gently heat the 4 tablespoons melted butter with the buttermilk until warm (not more than 115 degrees).

Place in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, salt and yeast and mix together. Add the flour and knead until the dough is cohesive. Add the strained cranberries and nuts and distribute evenly throughout the dough, then continue to knead until dough is smooth and elastic.

Oil or spray a large mixing bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and place in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until double, about 1 hour.

Oil or spray two 9-inch cake pans and set aside.

Divide the dough in half. Roll one half into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Smooth 3 tablespoons of the softened butter on the dough.

Sprinkle the dough with half the orange zest and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar. Roll up from the long side. Dampen the edge with water and seal the seam. Cut 12 even slices. Place the rolls, cut side down, into a cake pan.

Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover the pans and refrigerate overnight.

For the icing, in a small bowl combine the confectioners' sugar, orange extract and orange juice. Whisk until smooth, cover and store in the fridge. Pour the cream into a measuring cup, cover, and set it as well in the fridge.

The Next Day (rolls can be refrigerated up to 4 days)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place in a warm place to rise until the rolls have increased slightly in size, about 1 hour. Don't worry if they haven't doubled — just make sure they're soft to the touch, slightly risen and at a warm room temperature before you put them in the oven. Just before you bake, remove the cream and icing from the fridge, too.

Drizzle the measured 1/2 cup of heavy cream over the two pans of rolls. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack.

To ice the rolls, place the cooling rack over a tray or foil to catch any drips. Re-whisk the icing briefly and use a brush or spoon to spread a thin coat of icing over the tops of the rolls. Transfer the rolls to a plate and serve warm.