Food by the Howells for the Howells...

Food by the Howells for the Howells...and anybody remotely related to a Howell, or who may have met a Howell at one point in their life, or...yeah, pretty-much anybody.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Perfect Orange Rolls

The following recipe for dough can be used to make lots of things, like dinner rolls, breadsticks, cinnamon rolls, and orange rolls. It is light and fluffy and so, so yummy.

Basic Sweet Dough
2 Tbsp. fast-rising yeast
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water

1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup cold water

1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 tsp. salt
7-7 1/2 cups flour

Put butter and milk in a pan and scald milk. While milk is heating, mix yeast, 2 tsp. sugar and warm water. Let proof for about 10 minutes. When milk has scalded, remove from heat and add cold water. Test to make sure it's not too hot, then pour into yeast mixture. Mix in eggs, sugar and salt. Add 3 1/2 cups of flour and mix well. Add remainder of flour and knead until smooth and elastic. (You can do all this in a Kitchen Aid mixer if you have one. When you add the first batch of flour, use the whisk attachment. When you add in the remaining flour, switch to the dough hook). Set in greased bowl and let rise until double (1-1 1/2 hours). Punch down and let rest for 15 minutes.

At this point, you can either divide the dough in half and use one half to make orange/cinnamon rolls and the other half to make dinner rolls or breadsticks, or you can make two batches of orange/cinnamon rolls. Just don't roll out all the dough at once because there is a ton and your counter probably isn't big enough.

Filling for orange rolls:
1 Tbsp. freshly grated orange rind
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup softened or melted butter

To continue making the orange rolls, roll dough 1/4 inch thick into a long rectangle. Spread with butter and sprinkle the sugar and orange rind over the top. (I find if you mix the orange rind and the sugar in a bowl beforehand, you get more even distribution of the orange). I also don't put any filling about 2 inches from the edge, because as you roll, the filling will get pushed outward.

Roll the dough up as tightly as possible. Get a piece of sewing thread and cut it about 12 inches long. Holding onto both ends, slide the thread under the roll of dough about 2 inches. Cross the threads on the top of the dough and pull them tightly. This will make perfect cuts of your orange rolls. Place them in a greased pan, cover loosely, and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Cream Cheese Orange Frosting:
3 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. grated orange rind.
1-2 Tbsp. orange juice
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together and spread over warm rolls. If I have made a ton of rolls, I will often leave them unfrosted and keep the frosting in the refrigerator. Then when I am ready to eat the rolls, I will frost them. (This way you don't have to refrigerate the rolls in order to keep the frosting from going bad). Or, just have a lot of people eat all the rolls right away, and you won't have a storage problem!

You can also freeze these for later. Once you have cut the rolls out, place them uncovered on a slightly greased pan in the freezer for about an hour (or until firm enough not to stick to each other). Then place in a plastic bag together and return to the freezer. Take them out the night before you want to bake them, let them rise in a greased baking pan overnight, and bake as instructed above. (Note: I have not actually tried this, so if you do, let me know how it turns out!)

Alternative Pie Crusts (For People Who Hate to Make Pies)

I've decided there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who like to make pies, and those who don't. I fall in the latter category. I make pies twice a year--for Thanksgiving and for Christmas. And I only do it then because I feel obligated out of tradtion. Also because my pumpkin and pecan pies are to-die-for. But otherwise, you can forget it.

The whole crux of the matter is the crust. I hate making pie crusts. Mostly because I think they take too much work and make too much mess and are too temperamental. Therefore, if I'm going to make a pie when it's not Thanksgiving or Christmas, I will opt for one of the two following "crust substitutes," if you will.

Actually, this first one I just barely discovered. It's wonderful if you're a coconut lover. I think it would work with any kind of pudding or custard-type pie. I made it with lemon pudding, and the whole thing just tasted like Spring to me.
I got this recipe from an All You magazine and altered it slightly.

Coconut Crust
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup sugar cookie crumbs (about 12 cookies). I didn't have sugar cookies, so I just used vanilla sandwich cookies with the centers scraped out.
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled (I just used regular salted butter).

Stir coconut, crumbs and butter until blended. Firmly press onto bottom and up sides of pie plate. Chill 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake crust until golden, 15-20 minutes. Let cool on rack. Spread filling in crust and chill until ready to serve.

My second crust goes well with every kind of pie. I prefer it over regular crust, not just for ease of preparation, but also for taste and texture.

Crumble Crust
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans work well)

Mix until crumbly (can do this in a food processor--just make sure not to over-mix) and press onto the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. This makes enough to cover the bottom of a 9x13 glass dish.

There you have it! No rolling, no flipping, no peeling off waxed paper, no ripping crust. Easy and yummy!