Monday, December 8

Make-Ahead Christmas Morning Cherry & Almond Sweet Rolls

While Christmas morning's main event is usually under the tree, a big holiday family breakfast around the table can add to the magic of the morning as well. And I don't know about the rest of America, but waking up to a yummy breakfast on Christmas morning is a tradition all across the South. However, the last thing most of us want to think about is spending hours in the kitchen on the most anticipated morning of the year! So what's a Texas gal to do? Serve breakfast dishes you can prepare on Christmas Eve and simply pop'em in the oven come Christmas Morning! These sweet rolls can be found on our table along with an ample-sized bowl of fresh fruit, scrambled eggs and some sort of breakfast meat — and I'm a happy girl.

I have been making these sweet rolls for our family for 12 years now and they never get old. Always requested, and the first to be eaten, everyone loves them. I've tried all of our favorite flavor combos — like dried pineapple and macadamia nuts, dried currants and black walnuts, dried cranberries or raisins and good old Texas pecans. That's one of the great things about this easy sweet roll recipe, the dough can back up any flavor combination you might want to throw at it. 

Get the kids, or grand kids, involved. On Christmas Eve, just before sending them off to bed, give each of them a disk of dough and let them top it with their hearts desire, even if it's Gummi Bears! After all, it's Christmas! Make this recipe your own, for your family and loved ones. What a lovely surprise to wake up to on Christmas morning! Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

Make-Ahead Christmas Morning Cherry & Almond Sweet Rolls
Using dried cherries, sliced almonds and orange zest is my favorite way to make these quick and easy Christmas sweet rolls. Personally, I leave the marshmallow out of my roll and add a small cube of cream cheese in it's place. That's how I like them best, not too sweet but just right!
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  • 2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes rapid-rise yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasting optional
  • 12 large marshmallows
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Orange zest

  • Combine yeast and 3/4 cup water in a glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.
  • Beat yeast mixture, 1/4 cup sugar, and next 4 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer until blended.
  • Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes). Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
  • Punch dough down, and divide into 12 portions. Roll each into a 3-inch circle.
  • Brush circles lightly with butter, reserving remaining butter.
  • Combine remaining 3/4 cup sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over circles. Place cranberries, sliced almonds evenly over each circle, and top with a marshmallow.
  • Pull edges of circle to center, and pinch to seal; shape into a ball. Place, seam side down, in lightly greased muffin pans. Brush tops with reserved butter. Cover and chill 8 hours. I cover my rolls with a thin flour sack dish towel and plastic wrap,
  • Preheat oven to 400°. Remove rolls from refrigerator, and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk. (I take off my plastic wrap and loosen my dish towel before letting them rise, ensuring nothing sticks to my rolls.)
  • Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned; cool slightly. Remove from muffin pan and place on a cooling rack.
  • Stir together powdered sugar, milk, and ginger; drizzle over rolls. Sprinkle with orange zest and any cranberries or sliced almonds you have leftover. (I put wax paper under my cooling rack to catch all of the icing that falls off of my rolls.)
  • Prep: 40 min.; Rise: 1 hr., 15 min.; Chill: 8 hrs.; Bake: 12 min EAT!



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