It’s November 16? What the heck? Where did autumn go?
I don’t know if it’s the new weather scheme, or the new crazed schedule, or the longer commute, or what … but ever since I moved here for grad school 14 months ago, time has been whizzing past me like a caffeinated peregrine falcon.
My default source for life allusions is Betty MacDonald’s The Egg and I, and here, as at many times, I will step back and let it explain how I feel.
Our spring and summer had been strenuous to the point of exhaustion and I, at least, having read many books about farms and farmers, had looked forward to winter as a sort of hibernation period. A time to repair machinery, hook rugs, patch quilts, mend harness and perform other leisurely tasks. Obviously something was wrong with my planning, for it took me sixteen hours a day to keep the stove going and three meals cooked. I leaped out of bed at 4 A.M., took two sips of coffee and it was eleven and time for lunch. I washed the lunch dishes and pulled a dead leaf off my kitchen geranium and it was five o’clock and time for dinner.
If you’re in a similar predicament, maybe you’re gulping down dried fruit and instant mac-and-cheese in the ten free minutes you have per day. But at some point in the near future, I hope you have the time to make something slowly — maybe a bean soup, maybe a pan of roasted vegetables, maybe these yummy rolls. Whatever it is, don’t feel guilty about taking the time to make it. Savour every minute it takes to prepare … and then savour every bite when it’s finished.
Orange–coconut sweet rolls
(using the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll dough as a base)
- 2 c. milk
- 1/2 c. vegetable oil
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 2-1/2 tsp. (or 1 packet) yeast
- 4 + 1/2 c. flour (divided)
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 T. salt
- 1/2 c. butter
- 3/4 c. coconut
- 2 oranges
- splash of orange juice
- about 1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- Combine milk, oil, and sugar in a large pot. Heat and stir until comfortably warm (but not too warm to stick your finger in).
- Sprinkle yeast on top. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Mix in 4 c. flour. Cover pot with tea towel and set aside to rise for 1 hour.
- Stir in 1/2 c. flour, along with baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Transfer dough to fridge while making filling.
- In small saucepan, brown butter. In toaster oven or conventional oven set to 375°F, toast coconut until golden-brown. Zest oranges and set zest aside, then peel, seed, and dice orange pulp.
- Turn dough out onto floured surface and shape into flat rectangle, roughly 12″ x 24″. Pour browned butter over dough, then sprinkle liberally with coconut, 3/4 of the orange chunks, and 1/2 of the orange zest.
- Starting from nearest long edge, roll dough and filling into a log. Cut into 1-1/2″ sections and place in casserole dish.
- Let rise 20 minutes, then bake at 375°F for 15–18 minutes.
- In small bowl, combine remaining orange zest and pulp with powdered sugar, splash of orange juice, and pinch of salt. Adjust powdered sugar:liquid ratio until you have a reasonably thin glaze.
- Remove rolls from oven. Top with glaze. Best right after baking, or keep covered at room temperature for 2–3 days.