we are just days away from christmas. it's truly so weird to say that. time has been so strange this year! normally my family would celebrate Christmas morning with my extended family. our yearly tradition is to make breakfast tacos (that's texas for you!). however, since my little fam will be doing our christmas at home, I wanted to develop a special treat for this special breakfast. one that is easy to throw together and is simply irresistible. there is something about little fingers, sticky from treats that pulls at my heart. with that thought in mind, I am so happy to share these creamy cranberry sweet rolls with you!
these sweet rolls came from a failed attempt at babka. the flavors were incredible together. but, the structure of the pastry completely fell apart. one morning a couple of weeks later, these sweet rolls came to mind. on a whim, I decided to make these (while also homeschooling my kids) just to see if they could in fact be quick, easy and delicious. all in all, they took about 15-20 minutes to assemble, 30 minutes to chill and another 30 to bake. not too bad for decadent sweet rolls that taste like they took hours and hours to make!
if these rolls could talk
they wouldn't stop telling you how delicious they are! in fact they would say they are:
- chewy on the inside
- toasty on the outside
- finger licking delicious!!
side note: after making these sweet rolls, they took exactly one day to eat. now, im not going to say I did this alone. but, I did the heavy lifting. which is saying something since I blog about desserts all day long. long story short- these creamy cranberry sweet rolls are so delicious that I found myself sneaking bites from the fridge all day.
let's talk ingredient list
these sweet rolls are so easy to throw together, but do require some ingredients you may not always keep around. here's what you need:
- brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- oranges (for zest and juice)
- orange juice (if not using the oranges from the zest)
- ground cinnamon
- cream cheese
- (2) 8 oz. cans of refrigerated crescent roll dough
- powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
- orange extract
- maple syrup
from these ingredients you will make the cranberry sweet rolls and the maple orange vanilla glaze.
you don't need many tools, much less specialized tools to make these sweet rolls. but, I found these to be very helpful:
- half baking sheet: to chill the dough on in the fridge
- parchment paper: to prepare the dough and for rolling
- rolling pin: to smooth out the dough
- mini icing spatula: to smooth out the cream cheese and cranberry jam
- zester: makes zesting citrus so easy
- electric juicer: fantastic to extracting all the juice from citrus
- ceramic quiche pan: to bake these sweet rolls in
my tips for the best sweet rolls
- use parchment paper to prepare the rolls
- this helps with transferring the dough to the fridge
- helps with the clean up
- keep the dough cold
- if it gets sticky place the dough back into the fridge
- don't fill the dough to the edges
- leave about ½" around the edges
- start at the short in, rolling up to the top (the other short end)
- the parchment paper helps keep the dough off your hands if it starts to get sticky
- do chill the dough after preparing it
- this helps the filling stay inside the dough
- use a serrated knife or unflavored floss to slice the dough
- spread the glaze on the sweet rolls while still warm
- serve the sweet rolls warm
- feel free to sub in any sweet and tart fruit for the cranberries
- raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or any stone fruit would be delicious
check out these other breakfast treats
creamy cranberry sweet rolls
- medium sauce pan
- parchment paper
- offset spatula or spoon
- medium and small mixing bowls
- 9-10" baking pan (square or round)
creamy cranberry sweet rolls
- 1 c fresh or frozen cranberries
- ⅓ (67g) brown sugar
- ¼ c (59ml) orange juice
- 1 tbsp (14g) unsalted butter
- 1 tsp (2.6g) ground cinnamon
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ¼ c (50g) granulated sugar
- zest of one medium orange, divided
- 2 8oz. cans of cresent roll dough
maple orange vanilla glaze
- 1 c (120g) powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp (28g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
- 1 tsp (5ml) orange extract
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1-2 tbsp (15-30ml) milk as needed to achieve desired consistency
- In a medium sauce pan, combine the orange juice, brown sugar and cranberries. Over medium heat, cook down the mixture for about 10-15 minutes until it thickens. Stir as needed. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, 1 teaspoon of orange zest (about ½ large orange) and cinnamon. Cool to room temperature.
- In a small mixing bowl, cream together the cream, sugar and remaining orange zest until smooth and well combined. Set aside.
- On a piece of parchment paper, roll out the two sections of crescent dough from one 8 oz. can. Gently tear the dough along the perfoated lines. Overlap the triangles of dough by about ¼" along each seam. Press the seams together to make one large 11X7 rectangle of dough. Place a second piece of parchment paper on top of the 11X7 rectangle. Using a rolling pin, gently roll across the rectangle to fully smooth and join the seems. Remove the top parchment paper. Set aside.
- Using a spoon or offset spatula, spread ½ of the sweetened cream cheese across the dough starting on the short side, working up to the top of the long side. Leave about ½" border around the sides unfilled. Spread ½ of the cooled cranberry jam on top of the cream cheese.
- Starting at the bottom (short side), begin to roll up the dough into a log. If at any point the dough sticks or tears, repair the tear (pinch the dough back together) and chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Using the parchment paper to lift and transfer, place the log (rolled up dough) onto a small baking sheet or large plate. Chill in the fridge while you prepare the remaining can of dough, cream cheese and cranberry jam.Repeat steps 3-5.Chill both logs of prepared dough for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease your chosen baking dish with non stick spray or with a light coating of butter. Set aside. Remove the chilled logs of dough from the fridge. Using a sharp serrated knife or piece of unflavored floss, cut each log into 6 equal pieces. Some of the filling may oozde out. Just do your best to keep most of it inside the roll. Arrange the 12 slices of dough into the baking dish. Bake at 350 F for 28-35 minutes or until the sweet rolls have puffed and turned golden brown. Remove the baking dish from the oven to cool slighlty on a heat proof surface while you preapare the glaze.
- In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Sift in the powdered sugar into the melted butter. Pour the extracts and maple syrup on top. Stir well to compine. If needed, add 1-2 tablespoon milk to thin out the glaze.
- While the sweet rolls are still warm, spread the glaze on top. Serve the sweet rolls warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
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