Perfect for a lazy Saturday morning or Christmas brunch, these cranberry filled rolls are festive and taste delicious.
What you will need:
For the dough:
1 ½ cups warm water
5 teaspoons yeast (or two packages)
¼ cup sugar
4-5 cups of flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup butter, softened
For the filling:
1 1/2-2 cups cranberries
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
zest of half an orange
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
For the glaze:
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
What you will do:
In the bowl of a stand mixer add the water and sugar. Sprinkle yeast over top and let stand for 5 minutes.
Next, add about 2 ½ cups of the flour and all the salt.
Mix on low for 2 minutes. Add butter and egg. Mix another couple minutes, scraping bowl as needed.
Next add remaining two cups of flour and mix for about 4-5 minutes.
You want the dough to be slightly sticky. If it sticks to your finger when you poke the dough then add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. A little bit of sticky is ok. If your finger comes away covered then it's too sticky.
Next, roll dough into a ball and return to a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
In the meantime, preheat oven 400F.
Rinse cranberries and let drain. Place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and set aside to cool and use later.
Turn heat down to 375F.
To make the filling, combine the butter, brown sugar, orange zest, flour and ginger in a small sauce pan. Cook on low to medium heat until smooth and the sugar and flour are melted and combined. Remove from heat and mix in roasted cranberries.
Once your dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a lightly floured counter. Knead for a minute or two with your hands then roll out with a rolling pin. I typically roll mine about a ½ inch thick. You are looking for a rectangular shape somewhere around 9x13 inches. If you don't have a rolling pin, no problem. I sometimes just use my hands.
Spread the cranberry filling onto the dough with a spatula, going all the way to the edge.
Now you roll. I go for the longest side and roll from there. very carefully.
Once you've got it rolled into a nice log, take a large, serrated knife and start slicing. I slice each roll about 2 inches thick, making sure to have 14-16 rolls.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and carefully arrange the rolls into a tree shape, starting with the bottom row. Do not place the rolls too close together, but you want them to slightly touch. Once you have them all in place set in a warm place to rise again for twenty minutes.
Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
To make the glaze, place the powdered sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl and add two tablespoons of orange juice. Stir with a fork until smooth. If the consistency is too thick add more orange juice, a teaspoon at a time.
Remove rolls from oven and allow to cool for ten minutes then drizzle with glaze. If you want to "decorate" your Cranberry Christmas Tree Rolls, sprinkle with orange zest and throw some sugared cranberries on top. You can find the simple recipe for sugared cranberries here.