Walnut Cinnamon Rolls with Orange Glaze

The second baked item to thank the guys who helped me move.

Cinnamon rolls had always been on my bucket list (they’re so pretty looking!), but I didn’t want to eat a whole tray of them so this was the perfect opportunity to test it out without giving myself cardiovascular disease or diabetes (ok, med school is not conducive to baking).

Honestly, although I do like sugar and cinnamon combinations a LOT, the cinnamon rolls I pictured came from Cinnabon, Costco, or grocery bakeries – oozing with icing and sugar and butter.

Well, this homemade version from Allrecipes is ten times better. Oh my goodness, and they don’t even taste unhealthy – not overly sweet and buttery at all.

After we had baked them, I felt like they needed an additional kick and tried to find glaze recipes. Well, I didn’t have powdered sugar, but tested out using a blender to grind normal sugar — and holy moly, it actually worked! The orange juice gives plenty of sweetness already, so the powdered sugar merely thickens it.

Cinnamon Rolls:
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 package instant yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened

Oranges or fresh orange juice
powdered sugar
vanilla extract

Cinnamon Rolls: Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in butter; stir until melted. Cool until lukewarm.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well. Add water, egg and the milk mixture; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, softened butter. Roll out dough into a 12×9 inch rectangle. Spread butter/sugar mixture on dough and add walnuts. Roll up dough and pinch seam to seal. Cut your log into rolls with a sharp knife and place cut side up in a 9 x13 casserole tray. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hr (dough should expand to fill the tray).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake in the preheated oven for ~35 minutes, or until browned.

If you use muffin tins, it should take a little less time to bake. Squishing all the rolls together keeps them moist. I let mine bake a little longer til slightly crunchy. 

Glaze: Combine powered sugar, vanilla extract, and orange juice to taste – adjust the ratio so that the orange juice is just thickened. Drizzle on top of the cinnamon rolls.

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