Culinary SOS: Orange dinner rolls

(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Dear SOS: There is a wonderful orange muffin recipe that is highly guarded at the Morrison Lodge in Oregon on the Rogue River, but I have tried and tried to get a copy. It would be a huge coup to get that orange muffin recipe.

Jane Chambers

Via e-mail

Dear Jane: Gently flavored with orange zest and lightly sweetened with sugar, these dinner rolls are shaped like a cinnamon roll and baked in muffin tins, puffed to a rich golden-brown. Morrison’s Lodge was happy to share this recipe with us, originally from Elaine Hanton who, with her husband B.A., purchased the lodge in 1964.

Orange dinner rolls

Total time: About 1 hour, plus rising time for the dough

Servings: Makes 2 dozen rolls

Note: Adapted from Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge.


1 cup lukewarm water

1 packet active-dry yeast

3 1/4 cups (13.8 ounces) flour, divided, plus additional for kneading

2 1/2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided

2 1/2 tablespoons shortening, at room temperature

1 egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons softened butter

3/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

1. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, yeast and one-half cup flour, stirring to dissolve. Set aside just until the yeast is activated (the mixture will begin to bubble), 5 to 10 minutes.

2. While the yeast is activating, combine the remaining flour and 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar in a separate bowl.

3. With a fork (if working by hand), or using a dough hook, work half of the flour/sugar mixture into the activated yeast, then add the shortening and egg until combined. Slowly add in the remaining flour/sugar mixture (the mixture will at first be stringy, then very sticky as the flour is absorbed). Stir in the salt.

4. Move the dough to a floured surface. With floured hands, gently knead the dough (it will be sticky at first) about 5 minutes, adding flour as needed just to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers or the kneading surface. The finished dough will be tender, soft and slightly tacky.

5. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle measuring 24 inches by 10 inches.

6. In a small bowl, combine the remaining one-third cup sugar with the orange zest.

7. Brush the dough with the softened butter, then sprinkle over the orange sugar mixture.

8. Roll the rectangle lengthwise into a tight tube (as when rolling cinnamon rolls). Cut the tube into 24 (1-inch) slices, using thread if possible (the thread will slice more easily and cleanly than a knife). Roll the tube one-quarter turn after each slice to keep the tube round; otherwise, it will flatten from all the slicing.

9. Place each of the slices into a well-greased muffin tin (the tins must be well-greased or the finished rolls will stick to the bottom). Cover loosely and set aside until the rolls double in size.

10. Bake the muffin trays 1 at a time, until the rolls are puffed and golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate the trays halfway through for even baking.

11. Cool the rolls slightly, then unmold. Serve warm.

Each roll: 126 calories; 2 grams protein; 22 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 3 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 13 mg. cholesterol; 10 grams sugar; 101 mg. sodium.

For the record:

12:43 PM, Dec. 13, 2019The source of this recipe was Elaine Hanten. Her name was misspelled.