Orange Cinnamon Rolls
You’ll love waking up to these orange cinnamon rolls. These fluffy sweet rolls are filled with lots of cinnamon and orange zest and topped with an orange cream cheese frosting. They are heavenly and make the best breakfast, brunch or dessert. The best part is that they can easily be made ahead and even frozen. I made these with my favorite Greek sweet bread in mind - tsoureki. The citrus infused rolls remind me of the flavours in a tsoureki so I had to spice these up with mahlepi and mastic - these are optional add ins but if you would like a Greek take on these tasty orange cinnamon rolls then definitely add them in.
I was shooting cinnamon rolls infused with orange juice for Grand Baby Cakes and while I was making them I kept getting a familiar flavour and scent off of them. It finally hit me the yeasted dough infused with orange juice and zest had me thinking of tsoureki. Tsoureki is a Greek egg and butter enriched sweet bread or brioche flavoured with mastic/mastica/mastiha and mahlab/mahlepi, orange zest and often times cardamom. Those flavours make it fragrant and are classic to the Greek version of this style bread. Ofcourse I needed to make a small batch version of Jocelyn’s version adding these extra flavours to them. That is how these came about. Whether you add the extra spice or not these orange cinnamon rolls are fluffy, soft and downright addictive!!!
I made these In partnership with Bob’s Red Mill their Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour a product that is always stocked in my pantry. This month’s feature is brunch foods and what says brunch better than cinnamon rolls?!? Warm, slathered with cream cheese frosting - totally irresistible! Bobs flours are always made from quality ingredients- this all purpose flour is a premium baking flour freshly milled from certified organic, hard red wheat. Bob’s offers the largest line of organic whole grains - you can find Bob’s Red Mill products online or in store at Whole Foods and more.
Tips for Making fluffy perfect cinnamon rolls everytime:
- Make sure that all your ingredients are room temperature -except for the milk which is suppose to be warm.
- Don’t Overheat Your Milk - Most cinnamon roll recipes call for warm milk in the dough, and a common mistake is overheating your milk for this step. Warm your milk only to between 100 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything over that will kill the yeast, and anything lower can increase the time it takes the dough to rise.If you don’t have a thermometer, test the milk by dipping your finger in it. It should feel warm, but not scalding. If needed, quickly cool it down by placing it in the fridge for a few minutes or stirring with a spoon.
- Make sure your yeast is active- if you find it’s not bubbling or showing any sign of life after you cover and let it sit for up to 10 min - it is dead. Discard and start with a new package.
- Use Room Temperature – Not Melted – Butter for the Filling - Room temperature butter is essential for every part of this cinnamon roll recipe- in fact it’s the very opposite of pie - there shouldn’t be anything cold in this recipe. A lot of cinnamon roll recipes call for pouring melted butter over the dough right before sprinkling on the cinnamon sugar and rolling it up. It works, but it’s messy, and the filling oozes out the sides of the dough when rolling it up.
- Don’t skimp or cheat on dough rise time. Be patient and give the dough time to rise - for tips on how to get a good dough rise is included in my tsoureki post in the Recipe Notes along with some troubleshooting of you are having issues.
- Don’t dry out your dough before that first rise. Add it a bit at a time. Knead it enough and reduce flour a bit if needed. The dough will be tacky and soft. It shouldn’t completely stick all over your hands, but if you touch it should feel tacky and not dry and floury. Don’t be tempted to keep adding flour!
- Don’t roll the dough too thin. You want a happy medium.
How to make tasty orange cinnamon rolls:
You can make the cinnamon rolls within a few hours or get started the night before using the overnight preparation option in recipe notes. They are quite easy to make once you have all your ingredients ready. Here are the basic steps:
- Activate yeast by whisking it with the warm milk and sugar, covering it and letting it do its thing for 5-10 min. Once activate remove cover and mix in the rest of the wet ingredients to combine.
- Add flour and spices - add about ⅓ of the dry ingredients at a time, mixing after each addition, to avoid making a floury mess - once combined knead 8-10 min until dough is smooth and elastic, but still a little sticky.
- Let the Dough rise for the first time. Place it in a lightly greased bowl to rise. I recommend covering it with plastic wrap or a warm damp towel.
- Make the cinnamon sugar butter filling. Toss together the sugar, cinnamon and orange zest and make sure the butter is room temperature and spreadable.
- Once dough is double in size, remove from bowl and place on floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle
- Spread butter all over it and then sprinkle sugar mixture over evenly
- Roll rightly and cut into equal pieces
- Place in a well greased pan, cover and place in a warm spot to rise again
- Once risen uncover and bake until lightly golden 20-25 min - do not over bake.
- Make frosting and slather it on heavy and enjoy!
If you like this recipe you will love these ones too:
I have partnered up with Bob’s Red Mill to bring you this fabulous recipe, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Olive & Mango.
For the dough
- 2¾ cups Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All Purpose Flour
- ½ Tablespoon Mahlepi (optional)
- ⅛ Tsp Mastic (optional )
- 2 tablespoons sugar divided
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ⅓ cup milk warmed but not hot (approx 105-115°F)*
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted and cooled or softened
- ¼ cup orange juice, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
For the filling
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
For the glaze/frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon orange zest
- 1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice
- Whisk flour with salt, mastic and mahlepi if using
- In a mixing bowl whisk together the yeast, 1 Tsp of the sugar and the milk and then cover with plastic wrap and let stand 5 min to activate yeast.
- Once yeast is activated and bubbly whisk or mix in the remaining sugar, eggs, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla and butter
- Use dough hook and mix in 2 cups of flour mixture a bit at a time and mix on low until combined, then gradually add rest of the flour until thick dough forms. Continue to knead on low for 8-10 min until dough is smooth and pulling from the side of bowl
- Remove dough and shape into ball and place in a clean greased bowl turning ball around to coat with grease them cover with plastic wrap and place in warm spot to proof 1 hour or until doubled in size
- Once done transfer dough to floured surface and roll it out to approx 14x10 inch rectangle (doesn’t have to be exact. I like to trim the edges to make them even but that is not necessary. Add the filling - spread butter over the entire surface then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar zest mixture evenly.
- Starting with one of the long sides, roll it up tightly. Slice the roll into 1-1½ inch cinnamon rolls. Place them in a lightly greased baking dish or skillet - either a 10-inch round or a 9x9-inch square. I usually end up with approx 10-13 rolls. Cover and Let the rolls sit in warm spot for 45min-1 hours until they are double in size and fill the pan.
- Preheat oven to 350°F then Unwrap rolls and place in oven and bake 20 -25 min or unlit puffy and just slightly golden brown on the edges. You want to underbake them a little so they stay soft in the middle.
- While the orange rolls are baking, make the cream cheese frosting/glaze by using a hand mixer to mix together cream cheese and butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add in powdered sugar and orange zest . Add enough orange juice to achieve a soft, easily spreadable consistency. If it’s too thick, add more orange juice 1 teaspoon at a time. If it’s too thin, whisk in more sugar
- Once done remove rolls from oven and slather on the frosting and garnish with orange zest if desired.
- Serve immediately or cool and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Stays good chilled for 4 to 5 days.
- Don’t overheat your milk. It should be between 105-115°F. Anything hotter is likely to kill the yeast, which means the cinnamon rolls will not rise. A simple tip is to dip your finger in the milk — it should feel warm similar to warm bath water but not HOT. If you warmed it up too much, simply wait a few minutes until it cools down enough to touch.
- MAKE-AHEAD OVERNIGHT INSTRUCTIONS: The first 45 minute proof cannot be refrigerated overnight BUT you can place them in the fridge after they’ve been rolled out and placed in the baking dish. After you’ve rolled and cut your cinnamon rolls and placed them into your lightly greased baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and place in your refrigerator. The next day, remove them from the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature (about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature of your house) before baking.
- FREEZER INSTRUCTIONS: Roll and cut your cinnamon rolls and place several inches apart on a baking sheet to freeze rolls individually. Once frozen, transfer to a resealable plastic freezer bag. When ready to bake, place in a lightly greased baking dish and allow to come to room temperature before baking.
- You can also freeze the rolls, baked but unfrosted. Later, you can thaw them out, warm them for just a few minutes in the oven, and ice them while warm. OR you can freeze the rolls completely iced and finished. Just allow them to cool, then cover with plastic wrap and foil.
- Kneading By Hand: If you do not own a mixer, you can do this in a large mixing bowl, mix the dough together with a large wooden spoon/rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle and some extra time. A hand mixer works, but the sticky dough repeatedly gets stuck in the beaters.