One of my favorite fall and winter flavor combos is cranberry and orange. It is actually my favorite anytime of year, but it always seems I crave it around the holidays, and it so happens that is when both are in season. So while I was dreaming about all things cranberry orange the other day, it occurred to me that I should fill a cinnamon roll with cranberry and sweet cream cheese and drizzle them in an orange glaze. And, well, I did just that! Canned cranberry sauce works just fine for this recipe, because sadly it was not quite cranberry season when I made them, so fresh was not even an option. If you are feeling extra, and like to make homemade cranberry sauce when it is season, by all means, knock yourself out! Either way, these sweet rolls are DELICIOUS! Like a cream cheese and fruit danish married a cinnamon roll and had this perfect baby! I would even say I love these more than cinnamon rolls, and I LOVE cinnamon rolls. The tangy cranberry, sweet cream cheese filling, and hint of fresh orange are perfection together. So if you are looking to change up you cinnamon roll or danish game, or just need the perfect holiday breakfast to serve, this is probably the recipe for you!
5 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted vegan butter
2 cups almond or oat milk
1/2 cup sugar
zest from 1/2 a large orange
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1/2 cup sugar
8 oz container vegan cream cheese, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
juice from 1/2 orange
2 cups powdered sugar
zest from 1/2 orange
Juice from 1/2 orange
Heat milk in a microwave safe container to about 100-110 degrees. Any warmer and It will kill the yeast. It should feel warm but not scalding hot.
In a large bowl mix the heated milk, butter and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and let it sit for a few minutes. (don’t stir it in, just sprinkle)
Add 4 cups of the flour to the wet mixture, and mix until well combined. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and allow the dough to double in size. This should take about an hour.
While the dough is is rising prepare the cranberry filling by adding 1 can whole cranberry sauce and 1/2 cup sugar to a medium size pot. Heat the mixture on the stovetop over med/low heat, stirring often, for about 30 minutes. You just want the mixture to reduce. You should be left with a thicker, sticky cranberry “jam.” Set aside and allow to cool.
Once the dough has doubled in size, add the last cup of flour, baking powder, orange zest, and salt. Mix well until a soft dough has formed. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Lightly knead the dough, adding extra flour as needed until the dough is no longer sticky. The dough should be soft, but you should be able to handle it without it sticking to your hands.
Roll the dough out into a rectangle that is about 18 inches by 12 inches, and 1/2 inch thick, give or take.
Mix the cream cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar, and juice from half an orange together. Depending on the brand of cream cheese you may not need as much juice. You are just using it to help thin the cream cheese enough to make it spread easily over the dough. Kite Hill brand for example is already pretty thin and might not need all of the juice, Tofutti brand is very firm and would need more juice. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving 1/2 inch around the edges free from mixture. Next spread the cranberry mixture on top of the cream cheese.
Roll the dough tightly starting at the 18 inch edge, forming a log. Cut log into 12- 14 equal pieces with a nice sharp knife. It helps if you flour the knife to cut through the sticky dough. This filing is more gooey than a cinnamon roll and will want to kinda squish out if you are not carful with the cutting. Place the rolls into 2 buttered pie pans or round cake pans. Cover each pan in plastic wrap and allow the rolls to rise for another half hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Once the rolls have risen, place the pans on the middle oven rack and bake for 30-35 minutes. Let Rolls cool a bit before adding the icing.
To make the icing, mix powdered sugar, zest and orange juice together. Mix just enough juice to thin out the mixture. If you get it too thin, just add a little more powdered sugar. Drizzle the icing over the rolls still in the pan and serve.
Store left over rolls in an airtight container at room temperature.
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