Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sticky Caramel Rolls

Is there anything better than made-from-scratch caramel rolls? The satisfaction I get from mixing yeast and a couple of basic pantry ingredients together to get homemade bread dough is almost as great as the sweet reward of the finished product. I know making your own dough can seem a little intimidating, but I challenge you to give it a try this week. The secret to yeast success is to use a digital thermometer to test your water or milk temperature. The magic number you are looking for is between 105-115 degrees Fahrenheit. My other tip is to use "rapid rise" yeast since it does cut the time needed for the dough to rise almost in half. This recipe is from my favorite cookbook and I have been perfecting it over the past year. Enjoy them on a Sunday morning - they are perfect to serve to overnight guests!
(2) pkg. rapid rise yeast
1 c. milk (heated 105-115 F)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
3 lg. eggs
5 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 c. butter (at room temperature)

In stand mixer dissolve yeast in warm milk and let stand until foamy (about 5 minutes) - add remaining ingredients. Attach dough hook to mixer and knead on low speed. Add a little more flour as needed for the dough to come away from the sides of the bowl - knead until dough is smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Form the dough into a ball and transfer into a lightly oiled bowl - cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm spot until it doubles in size, 1 - 1.5 hours.

5 Tbls. granulated sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Combine sugar and cinnamon

1/4 c. softened butter

Punch down dough and turn over onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut the dough in half with a sharp knife. Roll out one-half of the dough into a 10 x 16 inch rectangle. Spread dough with butter and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll the rectangle up along the long side. Slice into approx. 10 rolls. Repeat with the remaining half of dough.

Caramel Sauce
1/2 stick butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. half-n-half or cream
Combine ingredients in sauce pan until melted. Pour into 9x13 pan and place rolls on top of sauce.

Cover the rolls loosely with a kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm place until they have doubled in size, 30-40 minutes.
(Alternatively, place rolls in the refrigerator and let them rise overnight.)
Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Let the rolls cool slightly in the pan and then flip over.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma "Essentials of Baking"


  1. Wow. This looks like how my mother used to make her caramel rolls and I looked around half of the day online for a recipe just like yours! I sure hope they turn out, but think the 5 1/2 c of flour was way too much! It was so dry and extremely difficult to knead from the get-go. I had to add extra evaporated milk (out of regular)a little at a time, but still my dough was tearing and difficult to knead. The surface was tearing only 3 minutes into kneading so I know it wasn't over-worked. I kneaded as best I could and now have it proofing in the oven (heated @170F for 1 min.) over a pan of hot water. Though it is rising, I'm no so sure it will rise well since tearing allows the gasses to escape. I will definitely try again.
    Thanks for sharing!
    PS How do you prevent the yeast from clumping up in the milk?

  2. I did it!!
    I was so convinced I messed these up and boy am I ever glad I was wrong!! After I placed the rolls on top of the topping in each pan I then lightly covered with plastic wrap and placed them on top of the pre-heating stove to 400F. The rolls perfectly had risen within 45 minutes to 1 hours time...YEAH! Just about 3 minutes before putting the rolls in the oven, I turned the temp down to 350F and baked them for 25 minutes; topped both pans with a large sheet of foil and then let them go another 10 minutes to make sure they were thoroughly done. They came out so soft and yummy...and gooey with caramel!
    Also I could in no way fit 20 rolls in a 9" x 13" pan, but got in 12 evenly spaced and placed the other 8 in a 9" square pan. Speaking of which the 9" had just the right amount of caramel sauce using the same amt. intended for the bigger pan. It's almost as if I never poured any topping in the other pan at all. Next time I will have to double the amount for the 9"x13" for even coverage and gooey'ness :)

    I read on another blog that these are best stored on the counter, however if I were to do that my large dogs would surely gobble them up and then I'd have to kill them LOL! Would it be ok to store them in the fridge and/or freeze some? I should have thought about freezing half before baking (opps).

    Thanks again for the great recipe,


  3. Vera -
    Sorry for the delayed response. Glad to hear everything turned out! To answer your questions, I give my yeast and milk a quick wisk right away and then I let it stand until foamy. The yeast does clump a little in the milk but it doesn't seem to be a problem in letting the dough raise(it may dissolve better in skim milk). For storing, I think you could freeze them easily. I have never put caramel rolls in the freezer after baking but I have stored cinnamon rolls in the freezer and then thawed on a wire rack.

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