Jellied cranberry sauce, the smooth and sweet kind you buy in a can from the grocery store, was a tradition in my husband’s family back in the day when we all met at his mom’s house for holidays. He talks about it every Thanksgiving and likes to see it on our table. His favorite part? Admiring the little ring-like indentations left in the sauce by the shape of the can. For some mysterious reason, he is intrigued with the look of it, especially when it has been sliced uniformly and the slices fall over on each other like the New York City Rockettes when they dance to the Little Drummer Boy at Christmas.
Billy is the only person who eats it, which means most of the cranberry sauce goes untouched. I’ll admit to throwing it away in the past, but then I came up with the idea to make dinner rolls with the leftover sauce. Adding dried and sweetened cranberries to the dough intensifies the flavor.
Cranberry-Lemon Dinner Rolls make perfect slider buns for leftover turkey or ham sandwiches. Add cheese and/or mustard to your sandwich if you want to be like the “condiment family.” (That’s our nickname.) Leftover rolls are a breakfast treat with a little bit of jelly. Lemon curd is my favorite.
If you are new to my blog, you may not know that I use my bread machine in a rather unorthodox way. I almost never use it to bake bread, only to mix, knead, and provide a warm place for the first rising of the dough. If you are a bread machine beginner, take a quick look at this post to get started on the right foot. For nearly all my bread recipes, you will only use the dough cycle. After the dough cycle completes and dough has doubled its original size, remove the dough to a floured surface. (If your kitchen is cold, dough may need to sit in a warm place for awhile longer to raise until it doubles.)
One of my kitchen secrets is to use a silicone baking mat as my “surface.” When you’re done forming the dough balls (see video above if you’re new at this), clean-up is as easy as throwing the mat into the dishwasher.
Gold-teflon-coated cake pans are perfect for baking homemade dinner rolls. Mine came from Williams-Sonoma. They will help your rolls brown perfectly on the bottom. If you don’t have any gold pans, at least use dark pans as opposed to light-colored pans for the best golden brown color on the rolls. If you don’t have two 8 or 9-inch cake pans, you could use a 9 x 13 inch pan instead. Avoid foil pans.
Here’s another kitchen secret: Use cheap shower caps (like the kind you get at a hotel) to cover your rolls while they rise just before baking. You could use a tea-towel, but these caps are just the right size and hold in the moisture better. They’re light enough to stand up which gives the rolls plenty of room to grow without sticking to the plastic.
- 1 cup jellied cranberry sauce, room temperature
- ¼ cup whole milk or half and half, lukewarm
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- Grated rind from two medium lemons
- 3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Add all ingredients to the bread machine pan in order given.
- Select dough cycle and push the start button.
- When machine beeps to indicate the best time for additions, add dried cranberries to the dough.
- When dough cycle is completed, remove dough from the bread machine and place on a floured surface. (I prefer to use a silicone baking mat so I can throw it into the dishwasher when I'm done.)
- Divide dough into two equal pieces. Then divide each of those dough balls into 8 equal-sized portions and shape into balls.
- Place balls into two 8-inch cake pans as pictured above.
- Cover rolls with tea towel or shower caps and let rolls rise for approximately 45 minutes or until almost double in size.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake rolls approximately 14-16 minutes or until golden brown.
- After removing rolls from the oven. Let them sit in the pan about 5-8 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. If you leave the hot rolls in the pan, they will become soggy on the bottom.
Because somebody always asks, “Yes, you can make this recipe without a bread machine using a heavy duty mixer (like a Kitchen Aid) or the old-fashioned way with your hands.” However, I have not tested this recipe in that manner so have no specific directions. Googling “how to convert a bread machine recipe” should give you an idea.