Can you think of a more perfect spring pastry? The bright, citrusy sweetness is kind of like the blinding, neon, rising sun in those old Folgers commercials; and yes, these rolls really are the best part of waking up. Naturally, I don't think I've ever said no to a solid cinnamon roll, but if you only ever listened to your favorite album from middle school, well, think about how the next (fill in the blank) years would have played out.
Fluff is no misnomer here. This is my all-time favorite (both middle school me and adult-like me) icing/frosting/fluffy cloud of my dreams. It is not, perhaps, what you expect with a sweet roll. It isn't cloyingly sweet or granular with sugar; it's light, balanced, sophisticated, and exotic. Flavors of rich vanilla, bright orange, floral orange blossom, and tangy breezes of cream cheese. Textures of feathery yet chewy pastry, fluffy cream that melts upon first bite, and, if you're lucky enough to get an edge, crispy, caramel-y burnt sugar.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer
3 3/4 cups (450g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (285g) of warm water
2 tablespoons (20g) dry milk powder
4 tablespoons (50g) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons (43g) butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons (11g) instant yeast
In a medium bowl
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (85g) orange marmalade
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of orange zest
In a medium bowl
3 ounces (84g) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (113g) heavy cream
3/4 cup (175) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons orange blossom water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, combine all the dough ingredients: from the flour to the yeast. Knead for a few minutes to develop a soft, cohesive dough. Small heads up- this is a pretty high hydration dough, so don't expect the dough to come together in a perfectly elastic and smooth ball like you see in pictures. When we roll it out, more flour will incorporate into the dough, and the dough will "mature" as it rises, so don't fret.
Lightly spray a large bowl with nonstick spray and scrape the dough into the middle. Cover and let rise for two hours or until doubled in volume and puffy.
Lightly flour your countertop and dump out the dough. Roll the dough into a large rectangle about 12 inches wide and 18 inches long.
In a small bowl, mix the filling ingredients from the sugar to the orange zest. Spread the filling evenly, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around.
Starting with the long side closest to you, tightly roll the dough. Once finished, pinch the seam together to seal. I like to give the ends of the log a good pat to help create a more uniform shape from end to end.
Let me say- you're going to hate cutting this dough. It will be messy when you want it to be clean-cut. Accept this and know that it will all work out in the end with the saving graces of puffy yeast and rise time. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. I cut the dough in half and then cut those halves in half. With four equal pieces, cut each piece into thirds, et voila.
Lightly spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray. Place the cut dough in the pan- 3 rows of 4 or 4 rows of 3, depending on where you're standing. Cover and let rise for two hours.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. When your oven is preheated, place the pan on the center rack of the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes or until nicely golden brown.
Remove and let cool in the pan while you make the fluff.
Whisk together the orange blossom fluff ingredients: from the cream cheese to the salt.
Dollop big, luscious heaps of fluff on top of each bun.