Last week I got some dates in my LOVE Delivery box. I don’t really like dates plain very much, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them. Then, over the weekend, I started thumbing through the bread recipes in How to Cook Everything and came across a recipe for orange date rolls — a variation on sweet rolls and cinnamon rolls.
I’ve never made them from scratch before, but the recipe didn’t seem too difficult. The dough came together easily — a mix of flour, sugar, salt, butter, milk and yeast. I let it rise for about 2 hours before rolling it out into a square. I then brushed on butter, and covered it with a half a cup of brown sugar, 6 or 6 chopped up dates and the the chopped up zest of a large orange. I rolled up the rectangle, then cut it into slices about an inch and a half wide.
I was worried that they were a bit small and loose, and the recipe said to put the rolls in individual muffin tins — and I don’t have a muffin tin — so I just put them in a cake pan and hoped they would rise.
Thankfully, after an hour they did, and I made a glaze with orange juice and sugar to pour over the rolls before I put them in the oven. After baking for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees, they smelled incredible and puffed up even more. They were slightly shiny from the glaze, and when I started pulling them apart, they came out easily and were soft and fluffy and sweet, but not overly so.
I’m not normally a big fan of cinnamon rolls and the only time I ever tried Pillsbury orange rolls I didn’t like them very much, but these were incredible. I guess I’d just never had something like this fresh out of the oven. The orange and date flavors weren’t overpowering, and they blended together well. They also looked quite good. They weren’t the same at all after they had cooled. Though I ate one for breakfast the next morning, it wasn’t anywhere near as soft or tasty as it was straight from the oven.
I don’t typically make a lot of sweets, but there were totally worth it — and even though they take 3 to 4 hours to make, I would definitely try to make them for a breakfast/brunch (though I think I’d let the dough do its first rise in the fridge overnight so it would take a bit less time).