You can thank me because I've got your Christmas morning covered. First of all, I think I've perfected the caramel roll. These babies are soft, pillowy, and as large as a small child's head (see attached photo). I told Louisa what type of roll they were and she declared them to be too spicy for her taste without even trying them. Hiro, on the the other hand, immediately stuffed one in his face and said, mmmmmm, good. I agree with the latter opinion.
I have been experimenting with this Strawberry-Jalapeño Butter that I fell in love with a few months back and thought I would try it in my favorite sweet roll recipe. I will preface this by saying that I get a tiny bit excited about the thought of any sweet rolls. SWEET ROLLS!!!! But these are mighty tasty. They have some kick, but it is more like a 'is there something spicy in here?' kind of kick not a mouth-on-fire situation, and the strawberry adds a fruity note that makes them irresistibly delightful.
Secondly, thanks to my friends at Zoobean I have a fantastic children's book to recommend for all my fellow last minute Christmas shoppers. It is called Black Dog by Levi Pinfold.
It is an enchanting story about the Hope family who spot a strange black dog outside their home. Everyone in the house is afraid of this suspicious creature except the youngest Hope named Small (for short). Its imagery and text encompass the idea that fear only grows unless confronted and whatever it is usually isn't worth being frightened over in the first place.
If you are looking for a more substantial gift, sign up for a Zoobean subscription. Each month Zoobean will send a handpicked picked book customized to your child's age, interests, and reading level. If you have a child on your Christmas List and are unsure what to give them you really can't go wrong with the gift of books.
So now that I've covered your Christmas morning bases I will leave you dear friends. Have a very Merry Christmas. I wish each and every one of you a joy-filled, peaceful holiday.
Strawberry-Jalapeño Caramel Rolls
Makes 12 rolls
For the butter:
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons strawberry jam
1 large jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
For the dough:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup water
1 (1/4 ounce) package dried yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
4 cups white whole wheat all-purpose flour
1/3 cup strawberry-jalapeño butter (see above)
For the topping:
1/4 cup strawberry-jalapeño butter (see above)
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
For the filling:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1. To prepare the butter, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until combined and fluffy. Scrape into a bowl and leave out covered, at room temperature. Wash the bowl to the mixer, dry and return to mixer.
2. To prepare the dough, heat the cream and water in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove top to between 110°-115°F. Once warm transfer to the stand mixer bowl and sprinkle yeast over the top. Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until starting to bubble and foam.
3. Whisk eggs, sugar, and salt into cream mixture until smooth. Add flour then mix on low with the dough attachment until combined. Increase heat to medium and add the 1/3 cup of strawberry-jalapeño butter a little at a time. Letting the pieces of butter mix in before adding the next. Continue mixing until dough is springy and smooth, about 10 minutes total. It will still be soft and maybe even a little sticky but should pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it is too sticky add a couple tablespoons of flour at a time until it is the right consistency.
4. Grease a large bowl. Gather dough into a ball and roll the dough around in the greased bowl until all sides are slicked with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2-2 hours.
5. Punch dough down, gather into a ball again then re-wrap with plastic wrap and leave to rise again until almost doubled, about another hour or so.
6. To make the topping, grease two 9-inch cake pans and set them each on a baking sheet. Combine the 1/4 cup strawberry-jalapeño butter, 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons of cream in a large saucepan and set over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved and it comes to a boil. Divide topping evenly between the two pans and set aside.
7. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough out to a 14-x-14-inch square. Using your fingers, spread the remaining strawberry-jalapeño butter all over the dough. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup light brown sugar evenly over the top then starting with the edge closest to you roll the dough into a tight cylinder, stretching the dough so that it rolls evenly.
8. Cut the cylinder into 12 pieces then place 6 rolls into each cake pan. (At this point you can cover the rolls and refrigerate them overnight). If baking immediately, heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Let rolls rise, uncovered, in a warm place for about 40 minutes.
9. If you refrigerated the rolls, let them sit at room temperature for an hour before baking. Bake rolls for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and firm on top. Remove from the oven and immediately invert onto a serving platter. Let sit in the pan for a minute or two before removing pan.