Orange Dinner Rolls

 - by Elizabeth

Thanksgiving Day at our house this year was a quiet affair with all the children scattered to different places, my husband and I decided to have a quiet meal at home.  So that allows me to try a couple of new things, without the pressure of deadlines and wondering if the company will like it.

I have already written about the cranberry sauce, but here’s the other new thing I tried: orange dinner rolls.  I’d heard a couple of people say they were having them for their turkey-dinner, and then when I was cleaning out looking for that cranberry sauce recipe I thought I’d lost, I found a clipping of one of those “restaurant request” columns and it featured this recipe.  The restaurant was the Morrison Lodge in Oregon on the Rogue River, and the SOS columnist for the LATimes noted that the recipe “originated with Elaine Hanton, who, with her husband B. A., purchased the lodge in 1964.”

I’d nearly forgotten to make these, in the rush of side dishes and turkey. So with an hour to go, I zipped through the mixing of the dough, rolled them out and shaped them and let them rise on the stove, next to the warm air.  Since it only makes 24, it’s a quick mix, quick shape into muffin tins and they came out of the oven just as the turkey was being sliced.  Good timing.  Good rolls!

Total time: About 1 hour, plus rising time for the dough
Servings: Makes 2 dozen rolls
Note: Adapted from Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge

Ingredients for Dough
1 cup lukewarm water
1 packet active-dry yeast (2-1/4 teaspoon yeast)
3 1/4 cups (13.8 ounces) flour, divided, plus additional for kneading
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons shortening, at room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt

In each cup of a 12-muffin tin pan, place about 1/2 teaspoon melted butter, then swish up around the sides with a pastry brush.

1. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast and one-half cup flour, stirring to dissolve. Set aside just until the yeast is activated (the mixture will begin to bubble), 5 minutes.

2. While the yeast is activating, combine the remaining flour, salt, and 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar in a separate bowl.

3. With a fork (if working by hand), or using a dough hook, work half of the flour/sugar mixture into the activated yeast, then add the shortening and egg until combined. Slowly add in the remaining flour/sugar mixture (the mixture will at first be stringy, then very sticky as the flour is absorbed). Stir in the salt.

4. Move the dough to a floured surface. With floured hands, gently knead the dough (it will be sticky at first) about 5 minutes, adding flour as needed just to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers or the kneading surface. The finished dough will be tender, soft and slightly tacky. [Cook’s Note: I added a bit more flour and just used my mixer for another minute or two, remembering to keep the mixing brief.]

Ingredients and Process for Shaping the Rolls

4-5 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (1 orange)

5. In a small bowl, combine the remaining one-third cup sugar with the orange zest. Using 1-2 Tablespoons of melted butter and a pastry brush, stroke the butter liberally inside 2 muffin tins, coating the wells thoroughly.  There should not be puddles of butter–just coverage.

6. On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle measuring 24 inches by 10 inches.

7. Brush the dough with 3  Tablespoons of melted butter, then sprinkle over the orange-sugar mixture.

8. Roll the rectangle lengthwise into a tight tube (as when rolling cinnamon rolls). Cut the tube into 24 (1-inch) slices, using thread if possible (the thread will slice more easily and cleanly than a knife). If you use a knife to cut the slices, roll the tube one-quarter turn after each slice to keep the tube round; otherwise, it will flatten from all the slicing.

9. Place each of the slices into the prepared muffin tin (the tins must be well-greased or the finished rolls will stick to the bottom). Cover loosely and set aside until the rolls double in size.

10. Bake the muffin trays one at a time, until the rolls are puffed and golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate the trays halfway through for even baking.

11. Cool the rolls slightly, then unmold. Serve warm.  I always tip up the rolls in their tins even if I’m not going to use them immediately as this allows the steam to escape and you won’t have soggy rolls.

Each roll: 126 calories; 2 grams protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 3 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 13 mg. cholesterol; 10 grams sugar; 101 mg. sodium.

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