Here in Los Angeles we are having weather! For those of you who live in parts of the country that aren't Southern California, it's quite a novelty for us to hear raindrops on the window, wind in the trees, and the boom of thunder that I thought was going to put my dog into cardiac arrest.
On a night like tonight, cozy and indoors, and not braving said elements, there is nothing better in the world to do than to bake. And if you're going to bake, you might as well bake these raspberry rolls. World famous mega-blogger Ree Drummond of ThePioneerWoman.com has a cinnamon roll recipe that is, in a word, perfection. And while I make no claim to be improving on her classic timeless rolls, I just had a birthday and I'm feeling sassy, so I thought I'd put a different spin on things.
I added raspberry jam, toasted pecans, and a touch of cream cheese to Ree's dough, which results in rolls that are soft, chewy, and comforting as all get out. Imagine the baby of a PBJ and a raspberry danish, and you have these tasty buns (Tasty Buns is my Jersey Shore nickname).
Let's make some dough...
Vegetable oil, whole milk, sugar. Measure 'em out, toss 'em in a pot.
Heat them until they're nearly boiling, but not quite. You want to heat the mixture enough to incorporate all the liquids, but not so hot that you burn your milk. Then, take the pot off the heat and walk away for about an hour.
When the milk mixture is lukewarm, add some yeast. Raise your hand if you're afraid to cook with yeast. I was too for a long time, but it's really no different than any other dry ingredient. You just have more time to surf the internet and not do dishes while it rises.
Measure out some flour...
And add the yeast/milk mixture to the flour.
Stir gently until the flour is completely mixed in.
Like this! Now cover with a dish cloth and let the yeast rise for at least an hour. It will nearly double in size over the hour. It will also be warm, and smell delicious. Why is it that we're all scared to use yeast again?
Now add some baking soda, baking powder, salt, and one more cup of flour.
And mix it in. At this point, I mix by hand because I think it's easier than using a spoon. And easy rules in my kitchen. You can either proceed in making your raspberry rolls, or you can put the dough in the refrigerator overnight. I opted for the fridge, since let's face it, a girl needs her zzz's.
Retrieve your ball of dough, and generously flour your counter or another large flat surface.
And then just roll, roll, roll... Keep rolling... It took me about 10 minutes to get my dough to look like this...
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, let's chop some pecans. I toasted mine in a 375 oven for about 5 minutes because I think it makes them smell good and gives a nice texture.
I also whipped some cream cheese in the mixer, along with a bit of powdered sugar.
And finally, melt a stick of butter. A whole stick, because butter = love.
Butter your dough. Do it! Don't be afraid, buttery dough is golden dough, and it also gives moisture and softness.
On top of the butter, some raspberry jam. I picked seedless, but I'm a wuss.
And on top of that, the cream cheese and pecans (I pronounce it "pea-can" like Paula Deen).
Then we let the rolling begin! Start at the back, and gently roll the dough toward you like so...
You'll end up with a log of scrumptious, which you simply cut with a pastry cutter. Place individual raspberry rolls in pie dishes with space between them (they will grow in the oven).
Now let the rolls sit and rise for another 20 minutes.
Remember "mis en place", and "clean as you go"?
I should really do those things.
Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes. You'll want them to be golden and cooked through, but not too brown.
Now get your favorite blanket and a cup of tea, you have plenty of sustenance to last until the storm passes!
Raspberry Pecan Rolls
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
Note: This makes enough to feed an army, and I don't know that many people, so I'm giving the measurements for half the recipe. This yields 1 dozen jumbo rolls, or 2 dozen regular sized rolls (the ones pictured are jumbo).
For the dough:
2 cups Whole Milk
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Sugar
1 package Active Dry Yeast
4 cups (Plus 1/2 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
1/2 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt
For the filling:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup raspberry jam
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup cream cheese
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour.
When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in the Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 4 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.
After rising for at least an hour, add the last 1/2 cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).
When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle melted butter over the dough. Spread jam over the butter, then add the cream cheese in dollops. Don't worry about spreading your cream cheese, it will melt and incorporate quite nicely into your rolls. Top with the pecans.
Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.
Grease two cake pans or pie pans with melted butter (or cooking spray). Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.
Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 minutes.