Before we get into the details of this recipe: go add six oranges to your shopping list. Do it right now, so you don’t forget–because you’ll want to make this bread, ASAP.
And yes, you read that right. This recipe uses a whopping six oranges. You’re mostly using the zest, though you’ll throw a bit of juice into your glaze. Don’t worry about wasting the rest of the fruit–zested oranges last a couple days in the fridge, so you can just eat the rest later.
Ok: now onto the details. This bread makes any morning sunnier. It’s like a gooey, soft cinnamon roll, made ten times better by lots of orange zest. It’s definitely sweet and decadent–and the ultimate morning pick-me-up. I compared a few recipes for orange cinnamon rolls before picking this one, and noticed lots of bloggers talking about nostalgia for this flavor combo. I never had Pillsbury’s Sweet Orange Rolls as a kid…but if you did, this bread apparently tastes like that!
Give yourself plenty of time for this one. You need to let the dough rise twice, and you’ll want the bread totally cool before icing it at the end. I promise it’s worth it! This was my first time making a pull apart bread, and I really liked how it turned out. It’s easier than doing rolls, and looks really cool once it’s finished.
This is the perfect recipe for Easter brunch, or your next brunch potluck…or you can be like me, and bring it to work next Monday. Whatever you do, trust me: people will thank you.
Orange Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread
Original recipe: How Sweet Eats. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.
Yield: One 9×5 loaf
Suggested equipment: Mixer, with a dough hook and a beater attachment
Total Time: ~1 hour, 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
- 2 cups and 3/4 cups flour, separated
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup milk (whole or 2% is fine)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp freshly grated orange zest (~2 oranges)
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tbsp freshly grated orange zest (~3 oranges)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tbsp orange zest (~1 orange)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Make your bread
- Put the 2 cups of flour, sugar and yeast in your mixer bowl. Use the beater attachment, and stir until combined.
- Put your milk and butter in a small saucepan. Turn the heat to low, and heat just until the butter melts.
- Remove the pan from the stovetop, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, stir in your water and vanilla.
- Attach a dough hook to your mixer bowl.
- Pour your butter mixture into the flour mixture. Mix until everything is just combined.
- Add your salt and eggs, one at a time. Beat well in between each addition.
- Add your orange zest, and beat the dough again. The dough should be pretty sticky at this point.
- Add your remaining 3/4 cup of flour in small increments, beating another 2-3 minutes. You’ll know you’re done when the dough comes together again. It should still be pretty sticky!
- Oil a bowl, and place your dough inside. Cover the bowl with a towel, then leave it to rise in a warm place. It should take about an hour to rise–check to make sure it’s poofed up before you move onto the next step.
Fill your bread
- Once your dough has risen, prep your workstation for the next step. Flour a flat surface that’s large enough to roll out the bread.
- Punch your dough down, then turn it onto the floured surface.
- Roll the dough into a large rectangle. The original recipe said 12×20 inches, but mine stretched slightly smaller than that.
- Brush your dough with the melted butter.
- Cover that with sugar, cinnamon and orange zest. Try to spread the filling evenly.
- Cut your dough into 5 strips from top to bottom, lengthwise. Then, cut horizontally into 6 sets of squares (See pics below!)
- Stack your dough into six stacks.
- Brush a 9×5 loaf pan with melted butter. Put your dough stacks into the pan, then smush it together. Make sure to press the dough together well, so it sticks together while baking.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap, and let it rise for another hour.
Bake your bread
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and set. I ended up tenting mine with foil near the end so I could keep cooking the insides without burning the top.
- Let the bread cool for 10 minutes before moving onto the glaze.
Add your icing
Note: I only used half the icing. Adjust based on how much glaze you usually like!
- Whisk all icing ingredients together until a glaze forms. It should be pretty smooth–if it seems thick, add more orange juice 1 tsp at a time. If it seems to thin, whisk in a few more tablespoons of sugar until you reach the right consistency.
- Drizzle glaze all over your bread. It’ll end up in some of the bread pockets…mmm.
This definitely is best served warm, but it tasted great after it cooled, too!
Getting our dough ready
After the first rise
Add your filling!
Cutting up our squares
Stack the dough in the pan
Ready to bake!
Cooling the bread
Soft, gooey, cinnamony goodness
I really hate wasting specialty ingredients. Whenever I buy something special for one recipe, I try to find other recipes that’ll use it up. Sometimes that’s easy: leftover rosemary goes into cookies, or leftover molasses becomes Gingerbread Waffles.
But sometimes…it’s a little trickier. Enter wassail. Wassail is a mulling spice blend that’s most commonly used for mulled cider, spiced wines and other wintry drinks. It makes drinks seem extra cozy and special in colder months, and it’s probably responsible for your favorite winter drink.
Once you’re done making drinks, though, it’s not really clear how to use up the rest of your mulling spices. I spent a good amount of time looking for a recipe that used wassail as an ingredient. I literally only found this one recipe, for the cookies you see here today. I didn’t know what to expect…but man, are these good cookies! Melanie of Melanie Makes definitely cracked the wassail baking situation. She figured out that wassail would be a great flavor complement to orange, chocolate and even Blue Moon beer. These cookies may sound complicated, but the final flavor profile is pretty incredible. The cookies have a slightly malted taste, generous bites of chocolate, and a fruity, fresh finish from the glaze.
So after you go caroling this year and sip up your cider…why not use leftover wassail for some cookies? I promise you’ll be glad you tried it. I left some cookies unglazed out of curiosity, but definitely recommend adding the glaze if you can snag some oranges. It adds a nice layer of flavor!
Wassail Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Orange Glaze
Original recipe: Melanie Makes. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.
Yield: ~36 cookies
Suggested equipment: Mixer
Total Time: ~1.5 hours
Cook Time: 12 minutes
For the cookies
- 12 oz Blue Moon beer
- 1 cup shortening
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp wassail (I used this blend from Rodelle but you can sub in another brand)
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
For the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons orange juice
Make your cookies
- Pre-heat your oven to 375F
- Put your beer in a small saucepan, and turn it up to medium-high heat. Cook the beer until it’s reduced–you want 1/4 of a cup left. It might be sort of hard to tell the quantities, so you can always pour in more beer than the recipe calls for and just measure out 1/4 cup when it’s reduced a bit
- Use your mixer to cream the shortening, brown sugar and granulated sugar
- Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until fluffy
- Pour in the beer, and mix until the ingredients are combined
- Add your wassail, flour, salt and baking soda. Mix to combine, but don’t overmix
- Stir in your chocolate
- Scoop balls of dough onto lined baking sheets
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. They should start to firm up a bit, but still be a bit soft in the centers
- Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a few minutes, then move them to a rack to finish cooling
Glaze your cookies
- Once the cookies are totally cool, whip up your glaze!
- Whisk your powdered sugar and orange juice until they’re combined and smooth. The glaze will be white and a bit sticky looking when it’s ready
- Drizzle glaze over the cooled cookies. Let the glaze set before you package up or transport the cookies
Cooking down the beer
Cookie dough comes together
Add your spices!
Stir in chocolate
Dough balls ready to go
Fresh out of the oven
Cookies are cooled and ready to glaze
Unglazed and glazed, side by side
Sometimes you have extra rosemary sitting around from a recipe you made for dinner the night before. And while you could go look up ideas for another dinner recipe that uses rosemary…why not just make pancakes instead?
That’s how these pancakes came into my life. I happened to have extra rosemary, oranges and milk. None of those things are typically in my kitchen so really: these pancakes had to happen. Right then, right there.
These pancakes are a scrumptious brunch treat that’s great for a slow Sunday, Easter brunch or any other time you have a hankering for pancakes. Which, at least in my world, is a pretty regular occurrence. The ricotta gives the pancakes a fabulous, pillowy texture and the orange/rosemary combo is a really nice pairing of fruit with a more herbal flavor.
These require a few steps to get breakfast on the table, but it’s worth it. You need a bit of lead time, because step one is infusing your milk with the rosemary. Steeping the rosemary in milk gives your pancakes a subtler rosemary flavor than if you folded bits of rosemary into the batter itself. This recipe also requires you to whip egg whites to medium peaks. That doesn’t take very long, but you do need to pay close attention to get your peaks justtt right. Thanks to this wonderful internet thing, I’ve found some great egg white tutorials, like this visual guide from The Kitchn.
The original recipe calls for a lavender whipped cream topping. We didn’t do that part (a.k.a. I didn’t have any lavender sitting around) but it sure sounds delicious!
Orange Rosemary Pancakes
Original recipe: This is a Sweet Blog. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.
Yield: We got 8 pancakes out of this, but your yield obviously depends on how big you make your pancakes!
Suggested equipment: Mixer
Total Time: ~45 minutes
Cook Time: ~4 minutes per pancake, but will depend on your stove
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup ricotta
- 2 large eggs, with the yolks and whites separated into separate bowls
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 tbsp orange zest
Prep your milk
- Pour your milk into a saucepan and throw the rosemary sprigs on top
- Heat the pan until it starts to simmer, then remove from heat
- Let your milk cool for 15 minutes. Then, remove the rosemary sprigs. You can strain the milk if needed to get out extra bits of rosemary
Make your batter
Whisk your flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl
- In a separate bowl, whisk your milk, ricotta, egg yolks, orange juice and zest
- Fold your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until it’s all just incorporated. You should still see small lumps in the batter
- Now, whip your egg whites with a hand mixer or stand mixer, until they form medium peaks
- Whisk the egg whites into the bowl of batter. When you’re done whisking, there should still be slight traces of egg white whips visible
Cook your pancakes
- Butter a pan, and heat it up to medium heat
- Pour your batter into the pan and let it fry until small bubbles appear on the top. Then, flip it over and fry for one more minute on the other side