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Cinnamon-Orange Pinwheels

Photo: Jennifer Causey
Active time 25 mins
Total time 3 hrs

Serves 18 (serving size: 1 roll)

No need to spend Christmas morning with your mixer; these orange-scented pinwheels freeze beautifully and reheat in just 25 minutes—enough time for the rest of the house to wake to that glorious smell. Recruit little ones to help make the icing and spread over the rolls just before serving. These rolls would make great gifts for other harried hosts; deliver with reheating instructions and a container of the icing. To round out the morning meal, serve the rolls with a simple fruit salad and a frittata or soft-scrambled eggs.


  • 2 pkg. rapid-rise yeast (about 4 1/2 tsp.)
  • 1/3 cup warm water (100°F to 110°F)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. grated orange rind, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 16 ounces white whole-wheat flour (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Nutrition Information

  • calories 232
  • fat 6.8 g
  • satfat 3.7 g
  • monofat 1.8 g
  • polyfat 0.4 g
  • protein 5 g
  • carbohydrate 37 g
  • fiber 3 g
  • cholesterol 55 mg
  • iron 1 mg
  • sodium 145 mg
  • calcium 45 mg
  • sugars 21 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 20 g

How to Make It

  1. Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; let stand 5 minutes or until foamy. Add granulated sugar, milk, butter, 2 tablespoons rind, vanilla, eggs, and egg yolks; beat at low speed 1 minute.

  2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Add half of flour mixture to milk mixture, and beat at low speed until combined, scraping down sides of bowl with spatula as needed. Remove paddle attachment; insert dough hook. Add remaining half of flour mixture; beat at medium-low speed for 5 minutes (dough will be soft and sticky).

  3. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface; knead 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth. Shape dough into a ball. Place in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°F), free from drafts, for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

  4. Coat 2 (8-inch) square baking dishes with cooking spray. Combine 1 tablespoon rind, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Turn dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Gently press dough into an 18- x 8-inch rectangle; sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Gently roll up dough, jelly-roll fashion, starting with a long end. Pinch seam to seal. Cut dough into 18 (1-inch) slices using a serrated knife. Place 9 slices, cut side up, in each of the prepared pans. Cover; let rise 45 minutes.

  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  6. Uncover dough. Bake in preheated oven for 17 minutes. Cool rolls slightly, or follow freezing instructions.

  7. Combine remaining 1 teaspoon rind, powdered sugar, and orange juice in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Spoon icing evenly over both pans.

  8. How to Reheat: Remove plastic wrap. Bake in foil at 350°F for 25 minutes. Remove foil. Prepare icing as directed in step 7, halving the amount if icing just one pan.

Cook's Notes

How to Freeze: Cool unfrosted rolls completely. Remove from baking dish; wrap together in foil. Wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze up to one month.