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“There’s no war between blondes and brunettes. It’s a war between girls who can eat cinnamon rolls without gaining weight and me!” ~Annonymous

I remember when I was young, my mama used to buy Merita cinnamon rolls in those foil tray, plastic wrapped packages. Do you remember those? I think they should have officially been listed as the fifth food group.

Merita Store

The icing was almost gummy-like and so sweet it would put a diabetic in a coma. They weren’t bad if you heated them for a few minutes. This was before we had a microwave so we heated everything in the oven. What an amazing aroma. (Insert deep inhale here).

Next came the Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in the can and from there came the Orange Cream Rolls. HOT sweet rolls y’all! I was in heaven. I made those canned rolls for years until I discovered you could make them from scratch! Really! I was totally blown away. I decided to try my hand at it. Several pounds of flour and sugar, hundreds of yeast packages and 40 pounds later, this is my most favorite sweet roll recipe. Ever. Believe it. The additional poundage on my backside proves it.

This is perfect for Christmas morning, or anytime you want a sweet treat! Or just when you want your kitchen to smell heavenly. Toss your refrigerated rolls people! …you won’t go back. You deserve this.

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Orange Glazed Cranberry Sweet Rolls

Ingredients:

For the rolls:

  • 2 packages of yeast, dissolved in 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 6 tablespoons Crisco
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 7 cups all purpose flour plus some for the work surface and your hands
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted softened butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • Zest of 2 oranges

For the Orange Cream Glaze:

  • Zest of a large orange
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

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Directions:

Add yeast to 1 cup of lukewarm water. Stir, cover and set aside for about five minutes. Mix shortening, sugar, and salt to hot water and beat for 30 seconds. Stir in 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture and mix until well combined. Mix in the eggs. Gradually stir in the remaining flour and knead with the dough hook for about 2 minutes. Remove dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured counter.  Knead until dough feels satiny and smooth. Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise for 30 minutes or until dough doubles in size.

Remove dough from bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. Divide dough in half. With a rolling pin, roll one half of the dough into a rectangular shape. Spread dough evenly with 4 tablespoons of softened butter. Sprinkle dough with  brown sugar, dried cranberries, orange zest and cinnamon.

Gently roll up dough into one long roll. Cut rolls, using a small serrated knife, piece of dental floss or thread. Place rolls in greased 9X13 baking pans. You can either freeze the remaining dough, or follow the same steps with the second half. Place rolls in a warm spot and cover with a towel. Let rolls rise until double in bulk, about an hour. Bake rolls at 425 for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for 5-7 more minutes or until golden brown.

To make the glaze, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Top rolls with glaze and additional orange zest.

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I like sweet rolls. Bon appetit’ y’all!