Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Orange Sweet Rolls

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Ever since our crazy heat wave in March, I've been just waiting for the warm weather to return. It's not that it's even been that cold, but those couple weeks of summer-ish heat ruined my tolerance for a normal cool and rainy April. I want to wear dresses (without tights!), ride my bike, have a picnic, walk around in the sunshine during my lunch break, and shop at the farmers market! Speaking of which, the Green City Market comes out to play again starting this Saturday, May 5! I can barely contain my excitement.

That first trip to the market tends to be a little disappointing, though. I'm trying to manage my expectations. Green onions and garlic scapes, probably. Maybe asparagus. Is it too much to hope for a few shimmering pink stalks of rhubarb?! Rhubarb makes my heart go pitter-pat.

The warm weather seems to be creeping back, too! This morning, my walk to work was cool and pleasant. The forecast this week is in the 70's and 80's with a chance of thunderstorms every day. I'll take it!

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My mom has made these orange rolls every Easter since I can remember. When I moved out and wasn't able to come home for Easter, I learned to make them for my friends. The rolls are a rich yeasted sweet dough, brushed with butter and sprinkled with a mixture of sweetened, flaked coconut, sugar, and orange zest. They are then rolled into crescents and baked, and then doused in a bubbling sauce of butter, sour cream, sugar, and orange juice which seeps into each one, making it sticky and irresistible. I highly recommend that you make them for your mama for Mother's Day (May 13! Don't forget!).

If you're scared of baking with yeast, go read this post first.

Put the dough together (details in the recipe below), and let it rise once, then divide in half and roll them into a 10- to 12-inch circle. Brush with melted butter:

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This is my sister. She was visiting for Easter. She's good at sprinkling coconut. Isn't she pretty?

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Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut into 12 wedges, and roll up.

Roll em up!

Line 'em up in the pan, cover and allow to rise about an hour, or until you feel that you cannot wait any longer...

Nestled snug in their pan

While they're baking, make the glaze, and as soon as they come out, pour it over and sprinkle with more coconut. Make some coffee, too, while you're at it. Start with two rolls on your plate. I dare you to eat only two. This Easter, I think I ate six. At least.

My favorite breakfast of the year

Sticky, sweet, buttery, citrusy BLISS!

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Orange Sweet Rolls

For the rolls:
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) dry active yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
scant 3 cups flour

For the filling:
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
2 tablespoons grated orange zest

For the glaze:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Dissolve yeast in water and allow to sit until foamy. In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, salt, butter, eggs, and sour cream. Mix in yeast mixture. Add flour, starting with about 2 1/2 cups, and mixing in more as needed. The dough should be smooth and not sticky. Cover and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free area for two hours.

Coat a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. Knead dough 15 times and divide in half. Combine sugar, coconut, and orange zest in a small bowl and toss together. Roll one half into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle with half of coconut mixture. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into 12 wedges. Roll up like croissants, starting at the wide edge, and line up in 3 rows in prepared pan. Repeat with other half of dough and filling. Cover rolls and allow to rise about an hour.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until rolls are puffed and golden. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, sour cream, orange juice, and butter over medium heat. Stir until melted and smooth, bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Pour glaze evenly over hot rolls, and sprinkle with coconut. Serve hot or at room temperature.


  1. Truly, these are a wonderful, yummy treat that originated from Bajee!! Love the tradition lives on! <3

  2. I have been making these orange rolls for 40 plus years. It was a winner in a Pillsbury bake off recipe book, from a lady in Milwaukee, Wisc. We toast the coconut. And I keep them special by only making them for holidays, maybe 3 times a year.