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Cranberry Orange Spice Rolls by Baking The Goods

Cranberry Orange Spice Rolls

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These soft and tender Cranberry Orange Spice Rolls are rolled up with a spiced orange, cardamom and cranberry filling then topped with a creamy dreamy, pink mascarpone icing.



Yeasted Roll Dough

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (- divided)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone (- softened)
  • 2 large eggs (- at room temperature)
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoons neutral oil for bowl

Spiced Cranberry Filling

  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries (- about 3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 med - large orange (- zested and juiced)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 sticks cinnamon (- or 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon)

Mascarpone Icing

  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 1 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry juice (- reserved from filling)


Yeasted Roll Dough

  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Remove 2 tablespoons of melted butter and set aside for greasing pan. Whisk in the milk and honey, warm to 100° - 110°F.
  2. Add the yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer and stir in warmed butter and milk mixture. Allow to stand until it begins to bloom and become foamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the mascarpone, eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Attach the dough hook and knead the dough on medium speed for 5-8 minutes. The dough will be very sticky and soft (thanks to all that buttery goodness). Once the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and cling to the hook, gently remove it (a bowl scraper or spatula comes in handy here). Transfer the dough to a very lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a round-ish boule (ball) shape with your hands.
  4. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl then place the dough boule (ball) into the oiled bowl. Loosely cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and store in a warm area for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is, until the dough ball doubles in size.
  5. Using the reserved melted butter, generously butter a 9" x 13" ceramic or glass casserole dish or metal cake pan and set aside for later.

Orange Spiced Cranberry Filling

  1. Combine cranberries, brown sugar, water, 1/4 cup juice from the orange, cardamom and cinnamon sticks in a small pot and bring to an aggressive simmer over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring often, until the cranberries burst. Reduce heat to a low and allow to simmer until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat, remove cinnamon sticks and stir in the orange zest.
  2. Place a strainer over a small mixing bowl and pour the cranberry sauce into the strainer. Some juice should strain through naturally but if the sauce is really thick, you may need to to encourage some juice to strain by gently pressing the cranberries with a spatula until you've squeezed about 2 tablespoons of juice through the sieve. Set aside the sauce and the juice aside to cool separately.

Assemble & Bake

  1. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and use your hands to gently shape it into a rectangle with the long side nearest to you. Using a rolling pin, gently roll out to an 18" x 12" rectangle with an even thickness somewhere in the 1/4" range. Try and roll out the dough as evenly as possible, avoiding any super thin spots.
  2. Spread the cooled cranberry filling evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving 1/2" border at the top and a 1/4" border on the other 3 sides. Starting at the long side, nearest you, slowly start rolling the dough up towards the top border in a tight log.
  3. Pinch the ends of the dough together to create a seam all the way down the length of the log. Then roll the seam to the bottom.
  4. Using a bench knife or bread knife, divide the dough directly in half. Then cut each log in half again so you have 4 logs. Divide each of the 4 logs into 3 even slices for 12 total rolls.
  5. Transfer the cut buns to the prepared baking dish. Arrange the buns, cut side up in a 4x3 grid, relatively close to each other with the seams facing inward towards each other.
  6. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and allow the buns to rise in a warm area of your kitchen until almost doubled in volume, between 30 - 45 minutes depending on how warm your kitchen is.
  7. Preaheat oven 350°F. Place the risen rolls in the oven and bake for 25-30-ish minutes. They should puff up in the pan and have a light golden color.Set aside to cool down while you prepare the Mascarpone Icing.

Mascarpone Icing

  1. Whisk together mascarpone, milk and reserved cranberry sauce. Add sifted powdered sugar. Whisk until smooth. You want the icing to be almost runny but thick and spoonable. If it's too runny, add more powdered sugar.
  2. While the Cranberry Spice Buns are still warm, pour on the Mascarpone Icing and use an offset spatula to spread it in an even layer across the surface of the buns. Enjoy while still warm with a hit cup of coffee!


*Store rolls, covered, in the refrigerator up to 4 days.

*To rewarm, cover with foil and warm in a 300° F oven for a few minutes.

*You can sub jam instead of the cranberry sauce, you will need 1 1/2 cups of jam.

  • Prep Time: 24 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes