Christina Verrelli shared some tips for baking success:
Take a photo of the unrisen dough for comparison, so you can tell when it’s doubled in size.
Create a warm, humid environment to help the dough rise by placing it in a cold oven (turned off) with a dish of hot water underneath.
Use a sharp knife or unflavored dental floss to cut the dough.
Warm up your house and your guests’ hearts this holiday season with rich, buttery rolls — ranging from savory dill to sweet cinnamon.
“We’re all so busy. It’s hard to find the time to do these kinds of things on a regular basis,” said Christina Verrelli of Devon, a Pillsbury Bake-Off winner, food blogger and Kitchen Aid on-air guest for QVC. “Slow down, spend time with your family over the holidays and make this part of your tradition.”
Her fluffy overnight cinnamon rolls are “worth every bit of effort,” she added. “This dough, honestly, is just a dream to work with. It’s really, really beautiful dough.”
Top the rolls with cream cheese icing.
“They just make the whole house smell delicious,” Verrelli said. “What a great recipe for Christmas morning.”
For a twist, celebrate the season with cranberry-orange cinnamon rolls.
“That’s just a good combination,” described chef Janice Wiley of The Seasoned Artisans, a personal chef and catering service, and Too Busy Cooks in Collegeville.
Another favorite: caramel pecan rolls, which take “30 to 35 minutes from beginning to end.”
“They’re easy, and they just come out warm and gooey,” she said. “They’re a nice comfort,”
Finally, forgo plain dinner rolls in favor of chef Art Roman’s dill version with cottage cheese.
“It’s a recipe that my mom started years ago,” explained the owner of The Kitchen Workshop, a hands-on cooking school in Paoli. “They’re feathery. They’re light. They have a lot of dill taste.”
“Bring back the bread basket!” he urged. “That’s what I say.”
Fluffy Overnight Cinnamon Rolls
½ cup whole milk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup very warm water (about 105 degrees)
1 envelope instant yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
5 cups all-purpose flour, divided (4 cups, 1 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Oil for greasing bowl
Extra butter for greasing pan
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Cream cheese icing:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1½ cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
Melt butter and warm milk in small pan over low heat and allow to cool slightly. In stand mixer bowl with flat beater attached, add warm water, yeast, sugar, egg, yolks and vanilla and mix on low until combined. Add 4 cups flour and salt; mix on low until flour is mostly combined, then shift to speed 3 and drizzle in milk mixture. Mix until dough starts to pull together – will still be quite wet. Switch from flat beater to dough hook. Begin to knead on speed 2 and add ¼ cup more of the remaining flour. After that, add 1 tablespoon at a time until dough is smooth and pulls away from bowl. (I used ¾ cup of remaining cup of flour for my last batch.) Knead about 5 minutes. Note: This dough is softer and will cling to/ride up the dough hook more than some other doughs. I stopped and scraped the dough off the dough hook a few times during the kneading process.
Lightly oil the inside of a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning dough over so oiled side of dough is facing up. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place (see note) until dough has doubled in size, about 2 hours. While dough is rising: Mix together filling ingredients until soft and spreadable. Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking dish.
Sprinkle a little flour on a flat surface for rolling. Roll the dough into a 12-by-18-inch rectangle. (This dough is very soft, you can actually pat it out with your hands rather than rolling if you like.) With the long-side facing you, spread the filling mixture evenly over the surface leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Starting with the long side facing you, roll with both hands. Roll so the seam-side is facing down and use your hands to even out the roll. Then, cut with a very sharp knife, serrated knife or unflavored dental floss into 12 equal pieces. Place the rolls, evenly-spaced, in the prepared baking dish and cover with greased plastic wrap. (Greased side down, so dough doesn’t rise and stick to plastic wrap.) Refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, place in a warm place (see note) or leave out on counter covered until they come to room temperature and start getting puffy. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. While the rolls are baking, make the icing: Beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add vanilla and mix in the powdered sugar. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach a texture you like. Spread icing over warm rolls. Makes 12 cinnamon rolls.
Note: If you don’t have a great warm place for your dough to rise, create one by heating some water, then place the dough in oven (not turned on) on an upper oven rack. Place an empty heat-safe dish on a lower oven rack. Pour a few cups of hot water into the empty dish and close oven door. Creates a warm steamy dough-rising environment. (Don’t turn on oven while rising dough.)
RECIPE COURTESY OF CHRISTINA VERRELLI, WWW.EPICURICLOUD.COM
Cranberry-Orange Cinnamon Rolls
For the dough:
2 cups milk
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
5½ cups all-purpose flour
2¼ teaspoons dry active yeast
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ tablespoon salt
For the filling:
1 cup cranberries, roughly chopped
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
Zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
To make the dough, combine the milk, butter and sugar in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir occasionally. When the mixture begins to steam and bubbles appear around the edges (do not boil), remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Sprinkle the yeast over the cooled mixture and let sit for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine 5 cups of the flour with the milk and yeast mixture and stir until the dough comes together. Cover; let rise for 1 hour. Punch down the dough and add remaining ½ cup flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir adding an additional ½ cup of flour if needed to work the dough into a ball. Knead a few times on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth. Roll the dough into a large rectangle — 25 inches by 12 inches. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with chopped cranberries, brown sugar, orange zest and cinnamon. Starting on the long side of the dough rectangle, gently roll the dough toward you, being sure to keep the dough tight. Pinch the edges together with the roll. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1½-inch sectioned rolls. Place the rolls in a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Let rise for an additional 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rolls are lightly brown. To make the icing, combine the powdered sugar and orange juice and stir until smooth. Pour over the cinnamon roll and serve immediately.
RECIPE COURTESY OF PEGGY GREENFIELD, TOO BUSY COOKS
Caramel Pecan Rolls
1/3 cup caramel ice-cream topping
2 tablespoons melted butter
½ cup chopped pecans
1 package (8) refrigerated breadsticks
In a 9-inch round baking pan, stir together the topping and butter; sprinkle pecans evenly over top. Separate, but do not uncoil the breadsticks. Arrange coils atop caramel mixture. Bake in a 350-degree oven to 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes and loosen sides. Invert onto a serving plate. Serve warm. Serves 8.
RECIPE COURTESY OF JANICE WILEY, TOO BUSY COOKS
2½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 packages of yeast (4½ teaspoons)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon instant minced onions
2 teaspoons dill seed
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup small-curd cottage cheese, drained
½ cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped, but not too fine
3 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing finished rolls
In a large mixer bowl, combine 1¼ cups flour, yeast, sugar, onion, dill seed and salt; mix well and set aside. In a saucepan, heat cottage cheese, water and butter to 120 to 130 degrees. Add to flour mixture. Add egg. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minutes at medium speed. By hand, gradually stir in remaining flour to make a stiff batter and then add dill to batter. Cover; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes. Stir down batter. Spoon into greased muffin pan cups, filling ½ full. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 2 to 30 minutes. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans. Brush with softened butter and cool on rack. Makes 18 rolls.
RECIPE COURTESY OF THE KITCHEN WORKSHOP
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