Friday, January 1, 2016

Greeting the New Year with Citrus Celebration (Leslie's Orange Rolls)

The first day of the year is always a fun one, even the one where I knew that the coming year was bringing doctors appointments, radiation and chemotherapy just a few days after putting away the Christmas decorations.  I really don't know why I feel this kind of joy, but I do and I'm grateful.  In our home, we have only three people so the big treats that were part of Hubby's and my holiday backgrounds often take two weeks to enjoy.  It works out well, because there's always something sweet, but not all in the same few day period where it goes stale, limp, or trashed before it gets eaten.

There are a few things that are really important to Hubby, what he called "Butterballs" (I call them "Mexican Wedding" cookies) that have become a father daughter baking event every Christmas.   This recipe is maybe his second favorite memory from childhood Christmas.  Now perhaps I should give credit to Momma for this recipe, but I got it from her and from my sister, not just in law but in heart, Leslie.  I am incredibly in awe of her baking abilities.  She also has a wonderful pecan roll that I have never been able to make right, although I should try it again at some point.  This recipe has worked out just fine every time I make it.

Thank you for sharing you heart first and your recipes generously, Leslie.  I love you!

Leslie's Orange Rolls

Momma's Sweet Dough Recipe:

3/4 scalded milk (Does anyone still scald milk?  I get mine hot in the microwave but not to boiling.)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter, melted
2 packages of yeast (I use mine from a jar and measure it out to just under 5 Tablespoons.)
1/3 cup warm water
3 eggs, room temp 
5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups flour

Proof yeast by sprinkling it over the warm water, add a pinch of the sugar and stir lightly.  Set it aside.  In my whole life of baking I think I have seen yeast fail once, but preparing it this way gets it all in liquid form and easy to combine with the other ingredients.  It always makes me smile to see it begin to foam and I do love the smell of it.  

In a large bowl, whisk eggs to combine them, add in milk, sugar, salt and butter, continuing to whisk to combine.  Switching to a wooden spoon add 3 cups of flour and make a dough.  At this point, you can probably add a fourth cup with a spoon, but after that, you should scatter a cup of flour on the counter or table and pour the dough out on top of it.  Combine the flour and dough together by folding the very soft dough repeatedly, letting it suck up the flour.  You can add another cup and a half if you need to, but what you want is a mass you can knead.  It will take about 10 minutes of kneading.  Now, let me say you can use a mixer and beat it all from the beginning and you know, if you read my recipes that I love using a mixer for a lot of things but believe me when I tell you, this dough will treat you best if you treat it as gently as possible.  Let it rest on the counter while you wash your hands and get a bowl prepared with a light coat of oil.  Pick up the dough and plop it into the bowl.  If you need it to rise quickly, leave it someplace warm.  I'm a big believer in giving a night to develop flavor and what I think of as "love".  Last night's recipe got made at 9:00 and put out on the outside table (it was a chilly night but not freezing) in the summer I would use my fridge.  

This morning I brought the bowl in and turned the dough out onto a lightly floured counter.  I just left it alone for 15 minutes and then begin using my finger to gently poke it from the center out, making a rectangle shape.  It was still cool to the touch and easy to manipulate.  I turned it off, brushed off all the flour I could and covered it with a towel, letting it come to room temp which took about 30 minutes.  At that point, I used a roller to get the dough to a larger rectangle, about 16 x 10, and sliced it in half.  

Orange Filling

4 oranges, zests grated, should measure 1/4 cup or so
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Combine all and divide in half, spreading it over each of the rectangles.  I am not particular about this.  I use a rubber scraper and plop it down on each, by the time I'm finished spreading it around I can see if one needs more from the other.  I use my fingers to do the spreading, it's not hard work, just a little orange scented heaven working it's way across the dough and into your hands.  I try to avoid one long edge of the dough (maybe 3/4"?) so that you can seal the dough up neatly.  

Roll the dough and cut into 1" slices.  Now, let me say when I make this for Hubby I make it into 1 1/2" pieces.  If I'm making it for a crowd I do it more like 3/4".  Place these in a buttered pan, I used my large casserole dish for a dozen and then a large round cake pan for another dozen.  Leave room between each, cover the pans with clean dish towels and let dough rise, 1-2 hours.  Now, you can do all of this the day before and put the rolls in the fridge or other cold place overnight, bring them to room temperature before putting them in the oven.  

Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes.  

Orange Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons orange juice

Make this when your pans come out of the oven.  While still warm, put a spoonful of glaze over each roll, or if you prefer use a spoon to draw a plaid pattern over the whole pan.  (Hubby likes it one way, I like it another... I'll leave you guessing which is which.  They both work.)

I hope you enjoy your New Year!

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