1-Hour Hazelnut Cranberry Sticky/Sweet Rolls

When I’m making a very special breakfast, I often choose my Overnight Cinnamon Rolls because they get rave reviews.  Any kind of yeast-risen roll for breakfast is a winner…but sometimes you can’t prep the night before, or don’t have HOURS to prep that morning.  So I’ve been developing a series of 1-Hour yeast risen recipes to help in those cases when you SUDDENLY need to pull together an impressive breakfast, and biscuits or pancakes just won’t cut it.  This particular recipe is nice because you end up with an incredibly rich, yeasty flavor and a moist, soft, sticky texture…but it only takes an hour.  Ultimately, this recipe takes a bit LESS time than muffins or quick breads…which is pretty darn cool.

This recipe calls for buttermilk.  If you haven’t yet figured it out by reading my other recipes, I use buttermilk ALL THE TIME.  And you should, too.  It lasts forever in the fridge…far past its expiration date.  (It’s already “spoiled” by a bacterial culture, so it’s very difficult for buttermilk to actually go bad.)  When you get down to the last cup of buttermilk in the container, just fill the container up with regular milk and let it sit out on your countertop for 12-18 hours.  It will thicken slightly as the new milk turns into cultured buttermilk…then put it back in the fridge.  I only BUY buttermilk 3-4 times a year, because the culture will perpetuate itself the way I just described.  If you don’t have buttermilk…SHAME ON YOU!  In that case, combine half a cup or sour cream or yogurt with half a cup of milk…or, worst case scenario, add a Tablespoon of vinegar or a teaspoon of lemon juice to a cup of milk, whisk it and let it sit for a minute or two.  It’s not an appropriate substitute, but it’ll work.

In a large glass measuring cup, pour:

1 cup buttermilk

Microwave for 45 seconds to warm it up.  Stir it with your finger to distribute the heat.  The buttermilk shouldn’t be so hot that it’s uncomfortable to touch it.  But it shouldn’t be cool to the touch, either.  About 100F is perfect.  Then stir in:

1 Tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 2 packages)

Let it sit on the countertop to proof while you continue.  In another bowl, add:

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (or pecans or almonds or walnuts)

Toast them in the microwave in 60 second intervals for a total of 3 minutes, or until they are fragrant and the white meat begins to take on a toasted color.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Add the foamy yeasty buttermilk.  (If your buttermilk isn’t foamy and yeasty, your yeast was dead.  Either it was dead because it was expired, or the buttermilk was too hot when you added it.)  Mix with the dough hook attachment.  If the dough is too sticky, you may need to add a bit more flour.  The dough should clear the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl.  You can knead this dough by hand, but it’s very sticky, so a mixer is definitely recommended.  Once the dough has a smooth texture and is clearing the bowl, stop the mixer.  Prepare a large microwave safe bowl by spraying it with cooking spray (or rubbing oil inside).  Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in your microwave and nuke it for 10 seconds.  Wait 5 seconds.  Nuke it for 10 more seconds.  Repeat this procedure several times.  You want the dough to become warm, but you don’t want to cook it!  If you haven’t proofed in the microwave before, you might lift the plastic wrap between each increment and touch the dough.  It should be warm to the touch and have increased in size a bit.  (But not doubled.)  My microwave does this in four 10-second increments, sometimes five.

Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a rectangle about 14″ wide and about 1/4″ thin.  Then smear all over the dough:

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened

(You can soften hard butter in the microwave by putting the stick onto a small plate and microwaving at LOW power…I use power setting 2 out of a max of 10…in 30 second intervals until it is soft.)

After the butter is pretty evenly smeared over the dough, sprinkle on:

1 cup loosely-packed brown sugar (dark or light)

Then sprinkle the toasted nuts, then follow with:

1/2 cup dried cranberries (or 1 cup fresh cranberries…both optional but recommended)

Finally, lightly drizzle on:

1/4 cup maple syrup (REAL maple syrup, folks, not artificial “pancake syrup!”)

Roll the dough up into a long cylinder and pinch the edge good to seal it.  Cut the dough into about twelve 1″ thick rolls.  Dental floss or kitchen twine is the best way to cut rolls like this.  Move the twine under the cylinder of dough and place it so that you’ll be cutting out out a 1″ round.  Then cross the ends of the twine and pull the ends, which slices the dough perfectly.  Trying to cut rolls with a knife is a nightmare!

Place the rolls into a large baking pan (I use glass or pyrex, which is definitely best for this recipe…a metal pan can cause the sugar to burn) that has been sprayed or buttered.  Then bake on the center rack of a preheated 350F oven for 30 minutes, or until the rolls are lightly browned on top, and the bottom of the pan is filled with bubbling caramel.

Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.  The caramel will soak back up into the rolls.  At this time I usually drizzle a bit more maple syrup over the top of the rolls…it will soak right in.  Serve them while they’re still warm, and your guests will moan and groan and beg for more!

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