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Killer (Orange) Cinnamon Rolls

Note: Although you can bake these the same day, within about 3-4 hours…I recommend you follow the 16-24 hour timetable for true killer rolls.

4 cups flour, plus more at hand for dusting
4 large eggs, room temp.
1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 package instant dry yeast (approx. 2 1/4 tsp.)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp. salt
Optional: 1 tbsp. finely grated zest of one large orange
buttered glass bowl

Filling (to taste):
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup packed (light or dark) brown sugar
2-4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 tsp. salt
Optional: 1/2 cup raisins

Icing (to taste):
1/2 cup milk
1 cup powdered sugar

For the dough: add yeast to warm milk and sugar, stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Whisk eggs, orange gratings, salt and butter in large bowl, then add and whisk milk. Add approximately 2 cups of flour; stir until moistened and combined.  Add 1 cup of remaining flour and incorporate before adding final cup of flour and mixing well. Turn out on board and knead for 8-10 minutes; dust with flour as needed while kneading. (Dough should feel soft and moist, but not sticky.) Lightly butter a large bowl. Transfer dough to the bowl and turn over, buttered side up. Cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove cover, punch dough down a few times to release air; let rest for 5 minutes. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, chopped nuts and salt; set aside. Be as stingy or generous with filling ingredients as suits your taste.

Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board. Gently shape into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into 24 x 18 inch rectangle. Brush dough with melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle filling over dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press filling into dough. Begin with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the seam side down. Gently shape to create even thickness. Slice into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12-18 rolls. Arrange rolls in buttered baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator overnight; 16-24 hours highly recommended.

Remove rolls from refrigerator and place in warmed microwave/oven. Let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes, then remove. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  (I like to brush with melted butter then…) bake until golden brown, approximately 25-30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes; top with icing.

Storing: I recommend keeping them in the baking pan covered with plastic wrap and store at room temperature, not in the fridge. When you want to eat some, mop the bottoms of the rolls around in the pan to pick up extra icing, place on a plate bottom side up and lightly warm in microwave.

One final note: the flavor from the orange zest gets stronger over time, hitting a nice peak around day three; if they last that long!


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