central theme: orange-cinnamon rolls

I profess to a deep and profound love of what a very funny friend from Purdue calls the "epicenter" of a batch of cinnamon rolls.  You know, those in the very middle of the pan where heat can't circulate well and so they lack all crustiness and instead bake/steam into lovely pillows of soft, sweet warm dough.  As the name of my blog attests, I also treasure all things citrus.  So when I decided to go full-on breakfast casserole goodness for our Homecoming tailgate I had to bake some breakfast treat and thought why not combine the  cinnamon rolls with orange rolls and voila, the orange-cinnamon rolls experiment began in my busy kitchen.  I can not tell you how many of these rolls I ate over the weekend, not because it's embarrassing (it would be if I was that kind of girl, but sorry I rarely apologize for eating) but more because I just lost track. I can tell you the door to my microwave is a wee-bit sticky still (pet peeve) it was that much of a feeding frenzy.

I'll also admit to having a fairly well-equipped kitchen.  Dough-making generally employs the dough cycle of my bread machine.  If you don't have a bread machine use the dough hook on your stand mixer.  And if you don't have that luxury, get in there and knead by hand.  It's good therapy.  Word to the wise:  bread making and black Luon should be mutually exclusive if you will be seen in public after kneading and rolling.
my beloved lululemon wonder unders in all their flour-y glory
I think this picture clearly illustrates why I love my lululemon workday "uniform".  This was midway through a marathon day of cooking with a yoga break in the afternoon.  Somehow I am not uncomfortable.  The sweat's been wicked away and nothing's rubbing me the wrong way.  And if my silverescent top is working, I'm stink-free.  You'd never know anyway since my kitchen was highly aromatic.  Covers all sins.

I am cranking out some posts this evening with a continuous loop of Colplay's "Mylo Xyloto".  Every time through I decide on a new favorite.  "Princess of China (featuring Rihanna)" is the current front-runner.  I love her voice.  You should know by now that Chris Martin and pals can do no wrong in my world.

Coldplay, Verizon Amphitheater, Indianapolis, 2009
7th row=favorite concert of all-time so far
This is the state of my mind:  where else will you find photos of flour-covered leggings, Chris Martin, proofing yeast and members of my little family all in one writing with supposedly one central theme and intent.  No wonder when I wake up at 5 a.m. I can't go back to sleep.  A swirling, twirling beautiful chaotic place on top of my shoulders.

Okay, let's get baking, shall we?

Orange-Cinnamon Rolls

2 1/4 tsp dry yeast (or one package)
1/4 C sugar, divided
1 2/3 C warm skim milk (warm, but not hot to the touch 100-110 degrees)
1/4 C unsalted butter, melted
zest of one large orange
juice of one large orange
4 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
3 to 3 1/2 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt

3/4 C packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 T unsalted butter, melted

cream cheese icing
4 oz.  reduced fat cream cheese
1 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 T softened unsalted butter
2 T milk

Dough by hand:  Dissolve yeast and 1 T sugar in the warm milk in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 C melted butter, orange zest, orange juice (if it's not freshly squeezed by you make sure it's at room temperature or lukewarm), 4 tsp vanilla and egg yolks.  Add whole wheat flour and 3 cups of the all-purpose flour along with the remaining sugar and the salt to the yeast mixture.  Stir to form a soft dough.  Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes).  Add remaining 1/2 C flour a few tablespoons at a time until dough is no longer sticky (you may even need another 1/2 C of flour after that, you'll know when you can knead it and it isn't sticking to your hands).  By dough hook:  add wet ingredients as above to bowl of stand mixer, whisk together dry ingredients and pour into mixer bowl.  Blend and then knead with dough hook, adding flour as necessary for about 5-7 minutes.  Spray a large bowl (the one you just mixed it in is fine) with cooking spray and turn ball of dough over to coat.  Cover bowl with a tea towel and let rise in a warm draft-free place for about and hour or until double in size.  By bread machine:  add all ingredients to bread pan and complete dough cycle (mixing, kneading and rising) before shaping and baking.

Punch down dough and let sit for 10 minutes.  Spray two 9-inch round or square baking pans with cooking spray.  Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Have melted butter and a pastry brush ready.  Divide dough in quarters (use a big knife or a bench tool). Roll dough into a rectangle about 16 x 12 inches (my dough was super elastic so I just stretched and pulled as best I could).  Lightly brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Roll long edge up to form a long roll.  Use bench tool or sharp knife to cut roll into 6 pieces.  Place cinnamon roll pieces cut-side down in your baking pan.  Leave about an inch between the rolls so they have room to rise.  Repeat with remaining dough and cinnamon sugar to fill two pans with rolls.  Cover with tea towels and let rise in a warm draft-free place for about an hour or until double in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned.  

Make cream cheese icing blending cream cheese, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar together in a mixer until smooth.  Add more powdered sugar if too thin.  Add a little milk if too thick.  Spread icing on top of warm rolls.  

yeast proofing in warm milk with a little sugar

bread machine

nice dough ball

kind of a rectangle
all rolled up

filling pan one
pan one full
under their tea towels and out of any draft in my lower oven

pan two all risen and ready to bake


ready to bake


my parents and Kelly, three happy Boilermakers on Homecoming


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