This Cranberry Orange Roll Pull Apart Bread is absolutely delectable. Easier to make than it looks and even easier to eat!
This Cranberry Orange Roll Pull Apart Bread is amazing. It isn’t necessarily difficult, but I’ll tell you up front that it does require a time commitment, like all recipes in the yeast bread genre.
That being said, I should also state for the record, lest any misunderstandings arise, that I don’t really have time to be making elaborate, albeit delicious, dessert breads. I spend a great chunk of time every single day in my minivan – the one that is always demanding gas, desperately needs an oil change, and has recently developed a very nagging squeaky brake problem – shuttling kids around town. Hours, every single day, no exaggeration.
I have an infant, a perfect blond haired blue eyed sweetheart that quit napping in his own bed a month ago (why? WHY? Please tell me why? And if you point me to some wise baby book, I might cry because I tried it already and, well, baby books are stupid). When he gets tired, as babies inevitably do, he settles into the crook of my arm and I muddle through the day one-handed. Turns out there are a lot of things I can actually do with one hand tied behind my back, or holding a 15 pound baby to be precise, but it’s more Mr. Bean than Justice League in action.
And, my house is a mess. Not like “Oh, I haven’t dusted the bookshelves this week” kind of messy. More like, “Oh, there’s a couch buried under that pile of clothes?” Yeah, that kind of messy. I’m not very type A and I don’t profess to be a neat-freak even under the best of circumstances, but I really do enjoy a tidied house. So, the problem that arises is that I don’t want to do anything else until the house is cleaned. But as soon as one corner is cleaned another mess takes its place and I inevitably find that I’ve joined sysiphus on the hill . . . but with only one hand.
This is life right now. I’m not complaining, really I’m not. But I can’t say I’m accepting these harried, unproductive days right now with complete zen-like patience, or patience at all if I’m being honest. I am, however, trying to remind myself daily (hourly) that this too shall pass.
Schedules will change, babies will grow, and I have to believe that someday the house will be clean again. Knowing this, of course, doesn’t make it any easier in the moment. Not at all. I remind myself that all things change not because it makes right now easier, it just makes it possible. I can do this right now because I don’t have to do it forever.
“This too shall pass,” my mantra these days, is also how I managed to make this Cranberry Orange Roll Pull Apart Bread that I absolutely didn’t have time to make. At one point, I was attempting to hold a nursing baby with one hand while pulling the sticky dough out of the mixing bowl with the other hand, which resulted in dough all over the back of the baby, flour all over the floor, and spilled milk when the baby’s leg kicked a cup off the counter top. (Comical in the re-telling, but mostly just frustrating in the moment.)
It’s hard to make pull apart bread with one hand. But I made it anyway because if the years are going to be short and time is going to pass and all the days come to a close in the end, I want some of them to include Cranberry Orange Rolls.
I delivered these tender, sweet, citrus spiked Cranberry Orange Rolls to my mother on her birthday, and they were the perfect dessert. I didn’t really have time, and they weren’t easy to make in my current circumstances, but they were completely and totally worth it.
So, for right now, during these magical weeks of December I’m doing my best to ignore the mountain of laundry, push through the driving routine with episodes of Serial on my ipod to keep me company, and cherish the baby in my arms as we focus on the fun items on the to-do list. Cinnamon Rolls and The Nutcracker and Christmas Cookie Deliveries – you know, the important stuff.
I adapted this Cranberry Orange Roll Pull Apart Bread from Pinch of Yum’s Homemade Cinnamon Roll Pull Apart Bread, which I’ve been dying to make ever since I saw it. The recipe makes TWO loaves, which is perfect this time of year for gift giving or holiday parties. And this stuff really couldn’t be better!
For as long as I can remember, we’ve been making Orange Rolls on Christmas morning and I think they are the best variety of cinnamon rolls out there. The cranberries were an afterthought – I used them because I had them in the fridge, but I realized after tasting the first batch of this Cranberry Orange Bread, that it was nothing short of an inspired stroke of genius. The tart cranberries level out the sweetness in the rolls and pair perfectly with the citrus zing. Best of all, the cranberry juices cook down in the oven with the brown sugar and form a layer of delicious, caramelly glaze along the bottom of the bread that is so impossibly good!
Make some time for these Cranberry Orange Rolls – they’re worth it.
- 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 2 cups milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons orange zest
- 8 cups sifted white flour
- ½ cup melted butter
- 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature
- 1½ cups light brown sugar
- zest of one medium orange
- 1½ cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped in a food processor
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2½ tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yeast and warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until yeast has dissolved. Add the milk, sugar, salt, eggs, orange zest, and 2 cups of flour. Mix on a low speed with the paddle attachment until the dough is smooth. Slowly add 3 more cups of flour, increasing the mixing speed until the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and glossy. Add the melted butter and mix well. Mix in the remaining flour until a stiff dough forms and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Dough should be firm and smooth, but still a little sticky - don't over flour.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Toss the dough to lightly coat with flour. Place it back in standing mixer, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Using the dough hook on the standing mixer, knead until the dough is smooth and pliable - about four minutes on speed 2 in a KitchenAid mixer. Place kneaded dough in a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into 2 equal parts. For each loaf, take one part of the dough at a time and roll it into a large rectangle - about 11x14. Using a spatula, spread 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter on each loaf. Sprinkle each loaf evenly with ¾ cup brown sugar then top with ¾ cup chopped cranberries and half of the orange zest.
- Roll the prepared dough into a log starting on the long side. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut diagonal slices, about 1½ to 2 inches apart (approximately 12 rolls) cutting almost to the bottom of the log, but leaving the dough attached. Arrange cut sections so they lean to alternating sides (as pictured above). Let rise for 15 to 20 minutes while the oven preheats to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Beat one egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush egg mixture over the dough. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. You will want to check the bread often between 20 and 30 minutes to prevent over baking. Check the inner rolls to make sure they aren't still doughy. Remove from oven when the outside is golden brown and all the inner layers are cooked. Let cool slightly.
- To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and orange juice. Drizzle over the slightly cooled loaves.