Hey Snugbugs! Happy holidays to you, and you, and you. Jeff and I had a marvelous holiday, hanging around the house, cooking and Christmas Day with family.

One of our major projects was a big ‘ole mess of sweet rolls. Jeff loves orange rolls, and that was the initial plan, but after some research, I decided to use the Sweet Roll recipe 101 from The Pioneer Woman. This recipe makes a lot of sweet rolls so I thought I’d take the chance to experiment and make half using the orange roll recipe, and half using the regular cinnamon rolls.

And boy, folks…. a mess was made.

The biggest problem of the recipe was the reason I went with the Pioneer Woman’s recipe to begin with. I really wanted to have fresh rolls ready for Jeff Christmas morning, but it takes so long to make from start to finish, I wanted to find something with instructions for refrigerating halfway through. The Pioneer woman fit the bill!

Unfortunately, I didn’t bother to follow the recipe and stuck the dough in the fridge without half the ingredients… it worked out, but I suspect would have been better had I, you know. Made them correctly.

Here’s a visual rundown with some key lessons learned. Jump all the way down for the recipe, which I really DO recommend. Especially if you actually follow it as opposed to what I did….

First… mix up the dough and stick it in the fridge

The recipe is enough for 50 rolls that’s a lot. It’s a cool method where you scald milk, oil and sugar then let it sit ’till it cools down enough to not kill the yeast. Dump in the yeast, let it get foamy and then dump in a bunch of flour.

I used a stock pot for this whole process, and that’s what I stuck in the fridge overnight.

Very important once you mix in the flour you’ll let it rise for about an hour. Then (here’s something I didn’t do) mix in another cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then stick it in the fridge overnight. 

But don’t worry! If you forget to mix in the flour, baking powder and company until the next morning, just dump the dough out, knead in the missing ingredients and let rise for 20-30 minutes. The resulting dough won’t be as fluffy as if you do it right but it will work.

Second… Split the dough in half and roll out nice and flat

See this picture (below)? Yeah. That dough is way too flat. I was overcompensating for forgetting the baking powder and went to town with my rolling pin. Your goal is to get 25 one-inch rounds from this dough log, once it’s all rolled out. My first attempt was about 35″ wide – WAY too much!! I got 34 rolls but they had thin dough layers and the filling to dough ratio was not my favorite. 

Lesson learned.

sweet rolls

Third… the filling….

The filling didn’t go too poorly. The recipe calls for melted butter, which I used on the orange rolls. It was a giant mess. For the second half of the dough (the cinnamon) I used room temperature butter and smeared it on with my nice, clean hands. Not only was it cleaner, but it was strangely sensual. Try it. You’ll like it. 

Also… I’m willing to give it another try, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the brown sugar in the orange rolls. It was more caramel-like and got stuck in my teeth. Next time I might cut the brown sugar with regular white sugar. Also… the orange filling wasn’t orange enough for us. We might try more marmalade and/or orange zest on the next round!

sweet roll filling

sweet roll

Orange maralade filling

sweet rolls

Cinnamon and sugar filling

Fourth… form your log

The picture below is of the cinnamon rolls, which were the second half of the batch. I already knew what I was about. Notice how the ends are more ‘squared up’, so the log is a big uniform? I spent some time after rolling everything up trying to get the roll a more uniform width from one end to the next. I just patted it around with my hands, keeping in mind I wanted to get 25 rolls sliced out of the dough log. 

sweet rolls

Fifth… some slicing tips. And note the pans.

Note the pans – we got the aluminum cake pans with the straight sides. We used some glass dishes as well, the main reason we used the aluminum cake pans was so we could give away our plethora of rolls without having to worry about getting our baking pans back! 

Don’t forget to put some melted butter in the bottom of the pans before putting the rolls in. I did. They didn’t stick that badly. It’s more of a matter of principle.

When slicing… slice everything THEN place in the pans. The rolls will support each other and be less likely to fall apart. Yes, I speak from experience. Again, this is the 2nd half of the dough. With the first half, I sliced one, then placed in the pan, sliced one, placed in pan. Everything fell apart. It was a giant mess.

Be thoughtful when filling up the pans. No matter how perfectly formed your log, the rounds in the middle will be bigger. Put those in the middle of the pans. It won’t really affect the cooking, I just think it’s best when all is symmetrical.

And don’t forget you’re aiming for 25 rolls from each half-batch of rolls. I cut in half, then cut each half in half, etc., in order to get the right number….

Sweet rolls

And here’s the whole kit-n-kaboodle, ready to get baked up! 

sweet rolls

All in all, the rolls were good. We preferred the cinnamon to the orange rolls. Both because the dough was thicker/hadn’t been rolled as flat and thin and because of the flavors. The icing, with the maple and coffee, just is sweet and rich tasting. It doesn’t really taste like coffee or maple flavoring! I’m looking forward to making the orange rolls again with the dough rolled out the right thickness, but think the filling and icing just weren’t quite… right. But still a tasty Christmas morning treat!!

So what are your sweet roll secrets??

[yumprint-recipe id=’1′]

Get Your VIP Pass

Get in on behind-the-scenes stories, member-only access to special offers and stories from the road. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!