Did you know it was National Marmalade Week? Neither did I yet there it was, an email informing me of this momentous occasion right in my inbox. It was a strange coincidence too because I made two recipes containing orange marmalade just that morning. Serendipitous? I think so. Had I known such an event was upon us, I would have posted sooner but I don’t need a so-called “National” occasion to celebrate marmalade. It’s one of my favorite things so I guess you could say every week is Marmalade Week in my house. Yes, things just as exciting as you always suspected.
This mindset also explains why I was sitting on a kitchen stool eating it off a spoon and trying to recall why I had three open jars in the fridge. At least, I reasoned, each was slightly different – one, a last ditch attempt to use up clementines that seemed to be multiplying in the produce drawer, another a crazy beautiful crimson shade from a score of blood oranges and the final one, a chunky version dotted with apricots in a delicious yet unsuccessful attempt to recreate Sarabeth’s Orange-Apricot Marmalade. Too many half filled jars. Something needed to be done, I thought licking the spoon.
When the Saveur 100 issue came out earlier this year, I slowly thumbed through making mental notes I would likely soon forget. Ochazuke? Interesting. I learned my cherished cast iron lamb cake mold was from Griswold Cast Iron. Hot damn. A new list of places to visit and meals to enjoy was taking shape as well. Toward the end, at #91, a photo of some sweet rolls had me completely mesmerized. Sweet Orange Buns. How delightful. I filed the thought away and moved onto more pressing matters. Weeks later, as I sat on that stool in the center of my sunny little kitchen, I remembered those orange rolls. No time like the present.
Still perched on the stool, I pulled my laptop on my knees and took a look at Saveur’s recipe. It seemed like a good one but I’m rather fond of my cinnamon roll dough and thought with a few tweaks it would work well. I added a good dose of fresh orange zest and worked a nice schmear of that marmalade into the filling before rolling the dough into a spiraled log. For the icing, always the most important part in my opinion, a powdered sugar/OJ combo was perfect and I slathered it thickly on the cooled rolls.
Right out of the gate, on the first try, they were a hit. I love when that happens. Soft, pillowy and not overly sweet, they packed a delicate citrus punch with bits of chewy marmalade pieces strewn randomly through the coils. I rather liked them, ate two in quick succession and called it dinner. Will they replace my favorite cinnamon or sticky pecan rolls? Probably not replace per se, but they’re a welcome addition and one I’ll make with great frequency. With spring on the horizon (or maybe it’s here – who knows anymore), these rolls are perfect for the grey days that are sure to come in these parts. Sweet Rolls that bring their own kind of sunshine.
Funny thing … when I went back to drop in the links on this post I took a closer look at the Saveur photo. Didn’t realize how closely I mirrored it in my opening shot until after the fact. I think that recipe tester and I are kindred spirits as it appears we both ate two rolls before shooting. Feed the cook has always been my personal mantra.
STRESS BAKING THERAPY FACTOR: MORE, MORE, MORE! That might be a little abstract but picture Patti LaBelle singing and it completely fits. These are fantastic. Make them now and then again next week. The dough itself is beautiful – moist and a little sweet, the chunks of marmalade are a wonderful surprise and the orange-y glaze just seals the deal. Trust me, they’ll become a house favorite.
On this blog one year ago: Fresh Pazcki (for Pazcki Day of course, which was later last year)
On this blog two years ago: Wedding Cake Stories
SWEET ORANGE ROLLS
Makes about 12 rolls
for the dough:
1 package active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
¼ cup warm water (105º – 115º F)
1 ½ cups buttermilk
3 Tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup vegetable oil
zest of 1 orange
4 ½ unbleached all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
for the filling:
1-2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (for greasing the pans)
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup orange marmalade
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (½ stick)
for the icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
zest of 1 orange
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- for the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer, sprinkle yeast over the warm water, stirring until dissolved. Let sit 5 minutes until foamy.
- In a medium saucepan (or in the microwave) heat the buttermilk until just warm to the touch (105º – 115º F).
- To the yeast, on medium speed with the dough hook attachment add the buttermilk, sugar, baking soda, vegetable oil and orange zest. Mix on medium then add the flour.
- Start on medium and increase the speed as needed until dough comes together and a ball forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing until a smooth dough is formed.
- On medium speed, add the butter 1 Tablespoon at a time until smooth and incorporated. The dough might break up, look clumpy or greasy – give it a little time and it will smooth out. Mix until the butter has been worked into the dough, scraping the bowl as needed.
- Turn dough out to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 1-2 minutes to make sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
- First rise: Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 – 1 ½ hours in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
- For the filling: Combine the sugar and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- Assemble: Grease the sides and bottoms a 9”x13” cake pan with the softened butter and set aside.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently roll into a 10” x 18” rectangle.
- Brush the entire dough rectangle with the beaten egg.
- Spread the orange marmalade evenly on the dough, leaving ½” clean border along the long side nearest you.
- Sprinkle the surface evenly with the sugar and dot with the 4 Tablespoons of softened butter, leaving that ½” border clean.
- Roll up the rectangle starting with the long side furthest from you (the clean edge will make sealing the roll easier); lightly pinch the edge to seal.
- With a serrated knife, cut the dough log into twelve 1 ½”-2” pieces and place cut side up into prepared pan. Be sure not to crowd the rolls so there’s room for expansion.
- Second rise: Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 30-60 minutes in a warm place until doubled.
- While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 375ºF.
- Bake: Bake the rolls in the bottom rack of the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool on a wire rack until completely cooled, at least 30 minutes.
- For the icing: In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla and salt until smooth.
- Smear about 1 Tablespoon of icing on each roll with a spoon. The rolls are best served shortly after baking but will keep pretty well for a day or two if tightly wrapped.