Homemade Caramel Rolls

It’s brunch season. The time of year when people come together to try to outdo each other with rolls, egg bakes, and artfully designed fruit platters. Okay, I could be the only one who tries to transform herself into a verifiable Martha Stewart clone, but I’m guessing there are others.

Now, I’m not too bad in the kitchen. I’m able to whip up most recipes without too much difficulty. My problem comes when I try to take on too many things at once. Recently I tried to make two types of rolls at once and was quite disappointed when I realized I had baked my dough rather than letting it rise!

So with a brunch coming up this week, I decided I would try again. However, this time I would make one thing at a time. What am I making? Caramel rolls. Sticky, gooey goodness in the form of a roll.

It all starts with the dough. Here’s what you’ll need:

1 packet active yeast
¼ cup water at 110 degrees
¼ cup butter
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup scalded milk (180 degrees)
3½ cups flour
1 egg

  1. In a small bowl combine the yeast and water. Let it sit.
  2. In a separate, large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, salt, and milk. Add one cup of the flour and mix thoroughly. Add in the yeast mixture and egg and mix until incorporated. Slowly add in the rest of the flour until you get a soft ball. (A stand mixer is really best for this, but I use a hand mixer. Toward the end, my mixer struggles and I finish by kneading the dough into a ball.)
  3. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm (85 degree) area for 1½ -2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Once the dough is finished, it is time to start assembling the rolls. Here’s what you’ll need:

½ cup melted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

  1. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12” x 18” rectangle.
  2. Brush the melted butter over the entire surface of the dough.
  3. Evenly spread the brown sugar over the butter.
  4. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the brown sugar.
  5. Roll the dough from the short end so that you end up with a 12” log. With a serrated knife, cut the log into 1” pieces. I find that if you let the log sit for a couple of minutes the butter will have cooled and will make cutting easier.

Now it’s time to prepare the pan. In an 8” x 8” x 2” pan, here’s what you’ll need:

¼ cup melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup, simple syrup, or maple syrup

  1. Combine the butter, brown sugar and syrup in the pan.
  2. Place the cut rolls cut side up.
  3. Cover the pan and let it rise again in a warm (85 degrees) area for another 35 to 45 minutes or until the rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. When the rolls have risen, bake them for 20 minutes.

After baking, cool them in the pan for two minutes and then invert them onto your serving platter. They should release immediately, but you may have to help them out a little.

Hopefully these homemade rolls will be the buzz of the buffet and earn you some bragging rights around the brunch table!

Esther Aspling

Author Esther Aspling

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