Cranberry-Walnut Rolls

These are phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal. I was cleaning out my stack of Bon Appetit magazines from last year and came across this recipe. I have no idea how I missed it the first time around. As soon as I saw the combination of cranberries and walnuts in large-sized dinner rolls, I made it my business to make them immediately. And they were absolutely everything that I imagined they would be. The rolls are soft, have an incredibly light and tender interior, and are packed with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts. Totally festive for the holidays, or really any time of year.

This dough comes together really easily and was great to work with. It rose nicely, held the roll shape beautifully and puffed up and browned like  a dream in the oven. The recipe calls for sprinkling the rolls with some raw sugar (also called turbinado or demerara), but I didn’t have any so I just skipped it. My sister ate one of these with apple butter and raved; I personally think they would be fabulous served with an orange-infused butter. These are perfect for a holiday table (they are huge, so figuring one per person is plenty) or even for a breakfast treat.

One year ago: Cheddar and Chiles Bread

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Cranberry and Walnut Rolls

Ingredients:

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

3½ cups (or more) bread flour

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1½ teaspoons quick-rising dry yeast

1½ teaspoons salt

1½ cups whole milk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for coating bowl

1 large egg

1 cup dried cranberries

Nonstick cooking spray

1 large egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)

Raw (turbinado or demerara) sugar


Directions:

1. Stir the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until toasted, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.


2. Mix 3½ cups bread flour with the brown sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Warm the milk in a small saucepan over low heat until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the milk registers 95 degrees F. Add the oil; remove from the heat. Add the milk mixture and 1 egg to the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until a wet coarse ball forms, about 1 minute. Add the nuts and the cranberries. Replace the paddle attachment on the mixer with a dough hook. Mix dough on low speed until smooth, elastic, and slightly tacky, adding more flour by the tablespoonfuls as needed, about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 2 minutes.


3. Lightly oil a large bowl. Shape the dough into a ball; place in the prepared bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until almost doubled in volume, 1¾ to 2 hours.


4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the dough to an unfloured surfaced; divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a smooth round ball. Transfer the rolls to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them apart. Spray the rolls with nonstick spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise at room temperature until 1½ times original size, about 1½ hours. Brush rolls with egg glaze; sprinkle with raw sugar. Let rise 15 minutes longer.


5. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.


6. Place rolls in oven; reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F and bake 7 minutes. Rotate baking sheet; continue to bake rolls until golden and slightly firm to the touch, about 8 minutes longer. Cool completely on a cooling rack.


*Note: You can wrap these in foil and place in an airtight bag and freeze for up to 2 weeks. Thaw the rolls at room temperature. If desired, you can rewarm the rolls wrapped in foil in a 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes.


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(Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2009)


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