Some traditions just have to be passed down, and these easy cinnamon rolls with orange icing are a regular fixture in my mother-in-law's (Granny's) home at special occasions. They are very easy to prepare the night before, and will be risen and ready to bake when you wake up in the morning. The aroma of them baking while the coffee is brewing is the start of a perfect lazy weekend morning, and if you have children, they will be eager to assist in the eating. My husband is usually the one who makes them, so when the opportunity arose last week, I got out the camera.
Granny's Easy Cinnamon Rolls with Orange Icing
For the rolls:
- 2 loaves frozen bread (e.g. Bridgford Ready-Dough)
- 1 stick (8oz) butter
- 1c granulated sugar
- 2tbsp cinnamon
For the icing:
- 2c confectioner's (powdered) sugar
- 1-2tbsp milk
- 1 orange (zest and juice)
The "easy" in the recipe comes from the use of already made frozen bread dough. Bridgford Ready-Dough is available at many grocery stores, and works very well in this recipe. Each pack has three loaves of bread, but the recipe uses only two. I buy two packs at a time and keep them in the freezer, which allows for three batches of cinnamon rolls.
Prep (the night before you want to eat them) - total active prep is 15-20 minutes
Begin by removing two loaves of Ready-Dough and allowing to thaw. Watch an episode of your favorite TV show, and by the time it is over, the dough should be thawed and ready to work with. Flour your work surface and rolling pin, and roll out the dough until it is roughly rectangular, and about 1/2 inch (or 1cm) thick.
Next, spread the butter (you had the butter out softening, right?) over the dough, or, cut into small cubes and sprinkle over your rolled dough.
Sprinkle the granulated sugar and cinnamon over your buttered, rolled dough. If you feel inclined to touch things (as my husband is), you can ensure even spreading manually.
Starting from one end, roll the dough into a cylinder shape.
Slice the finished cylinder into 1.5 inch (4cm) sections. They don't have to be perfect, and the finished rolls will be slightly different sizes.
Butter a 13 inch Pyrex or metal baking dish, and place the sectioned rolls loosely inside, as they will expand as they rise.
Finally, cover the dish with a towel, and place on the counter to rise in a reasonably warm area free from drafts. With your dish covered, you may go to bed.
In the morning when you awake, your rolls will be risen and ready to bake. Start by pre-heating your oven to 375°.
Once the oven is ready, put the rolls in and set the timer for 18 minutes. It is now time to make the orange icing.
In a bowl, add the confectioner's sugar and 1tbsp of milk. Stir or whisk together, adding very small amounts of milk until a very thick, paste-like consistency. Zest your orange, and squeeze in the orange juice 1tbsp at a time until the desired consistency and taste is achieved.
Check the rolls after 18 minutes. You want them to be evenly browned on top, which may take a couple of minutes longer depending upon your oven. They should look similar to the picture below when done.
While the rolls are still hot, pour the orange icing over them, and start eating.