The Wisconsin cranberry harvest is well underway. We finished up with our Hyreds and tomorrow we'll get our boots wet again and start the regular harvest.
I love this time of year. I love opening the windows, letting in the crisp, cool, autumn air. I love cooking, especially with fresh cranberries.
I have a delicious sweet roll recipe to share with you all. It definitely takes some time, but it's well worth it in the end. I based this Cranberry Pecan sweet roll recipe off my basic cinnamon roll recipe which uses the bread machine dough cycle. Letting the bread machine do the kneading frees me up for 1 hour, 40 minutes. Time I put to good use homeschooling the youngest kids while the older ones are working harvest.
First up, I start the dough in the bread machine. It's basic. Place all ingredients in pan according to the instructions that came with the bread machine.
1 c. milk
1/4 c. warm water
1/4 c. softened butter
1 tsp. salt
4 c. BREAD flour
1/4 c. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. yeast
Set on dough cycle, press start.
*I do not warm up the milk; I just use pretty hot water - when mixed, the liquids are the right temp.
*Be sure to use bread flour. It doesn't matter what brand, but the extra gluten in the bread flour is what makes these pillow-soft.
While the dough is mixing, I make up the filling. For the purpose of this post, I'll give general amounts, but IRL I usually wing it.
Place a couple handfuls (2 cups) of fresh (or frozen) cranberries in food processor; pulse until finely chopped.
Add pecans (1/2 - 1 cup); pulse a couple times.
Transfer cranberries and pecans to bowl.
Add 1/2 - 3/4 c. brown sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Stir. Set aside.
When dough cycle is complete, place dough on lightly floured surface. Roll out to a 17x10 inch rectangle.
Spread with about 3-4 Tbsp. softened butter.
Grab your bowl of cranberry, pecan yumminess and spread over buttered dough, almost to the edges, but not quite.
Starting on the long side, roll up jelly roll style.
Pinch to seal. Don't worry if the pinching doesn't work so well. Mine never wants to hold real well. I've wetted my fingers with water, and that worked OK, but not great.
My favorite way to slice the dough is to use my Rada bread knife. I'm not sure if you can tell by the picture, but I'm pinching the dough as I slice so it doesn't unroll. See, I told you my pinching doesn't always hold real well.
Then lift the sweet roll with the knife blade and place on greased, half sheet pan. I love my Nordic Ware pans.
I place them quite close, that way when they rise they touch. Once baked they look so pretty and professional.
Let rise for 45 minutes, until lightly puffed.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.
Now it's time for the frosting. You have two options. Frost while warm, or cool, then frost. It depends on what you're into. Frosting the sweet rolls while still warm will allow the frosting to melt and run into all the nooks and crannies. The frosting will be more like a glaze.
Or you can let the sweet rolls cool (my choice). The frosting just hangs out on top of the sweet roll waiting to cling to your upper lip when you bite into it. I have to make these again....SOON!
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 brick cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Beat all ingredients until smooth.
Stay tuned for more cranberry recipes, products, and harvest pictures to come.
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