Festive with a perfect balance of sweet and tart, these cranberry-orange buns are begging to be a part of a holiday brunch or become a Christmas morning tradition. But be warned—if you want to keep making these all winter (which I think you will), buy fresh cranberries now and freeze them—soon they’ll disappear from the stores until next fall!
Lightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 12 rolls
2 large egg yolks
2 large whole eggs
¼ cup sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted
¾ cup buttermilk
Zest from 1 orange, finely grated
3 ¾ cup flour
2 ¼ tsp. instant dry yeast
1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
1 ½ tbsp. butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup fresh cranberries
¼ cup softened cream cheese
1 tbsp room temperature butter
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp orange juice (save the orange that you zested for the dough)
To make the dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the wet ingredients. Add in 2 cups of flour, yeast, and salt, and stir together until combined. Switch to the dough hook, add the last 1 ¾ cup flour, and let the machine knead the dough for 5-7 minutes, until the dough is soft but not too sticky. (If you aren’t using a stand mixer, stir the ingredients together in a bowl until the dough comes together, and then knead it on a lightly-floured counter for about 5 minutes. It will be sticky, but don’t add too much extra flour.) Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise at room temp until doubled, between 2 and 2 ½ hours.
Melt the butter and set aside. Use a food processor to chop the cranberries to a coarse texture (not completely pureed) and set aside.
Butter a 9×13 glass pan. Turn out the risen dough and roll out in to a rectangle about 18 inches wide by 12 inches long. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar and spread the cranberry rubble evenly over top.
Roll the dough into an 18-inch log. Gently use a serrated knife to slice the log into 12 buns. Place the buns in the buttered pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, remove the buns from the fridge 30-ish minutes before baking. There will be juices pooled at the bottom of the pan—don’t worry, they’ll be delicious! Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. When the buns have lost their chill and started to rise a bit, bake them in the oven between 25 and 30 minutes, until they are puffy and golden, delicious brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before spreading icing over top and digging in.