Caramel rolls are nothing new, but you haven't lived until you've had one from North Dakota. I'm not sure of their origin - maybe a midwestern thing? - but I've only ever had them (or at least had them this good) in North Dakota. In my hometown of Williston, the best ones were at Dakota Farms or Grandma Sharon's. If you didn't get there early, you didn't get one.
The North Dakota caramel (car-mel) roll is light and fluffy in texture, but not excessively tall. They come flat and large. A good one will barely fit on a salad plate. Caramel roll > salad. They are devoid of nuts, light on cinnamon and heavy on soft, creamy caramel. It's decidedly not a cinnamon roll or a sticky bun, which is what you'll find 99% of the time if you order a caramel roll at a bakery or restaurant. Huge disappointment.
This recipe came to my attention via Karen Riekeman - a sweet family friend. I want to say she got it from the North Dakota wheat growers association or something else wheat-related and official like that. I should start telling little stories to go with my recipes. Here is one of my favorites on Karen:
Her husband, my pastor at First Baptist Williston, officiated our wedding. Apparently, he brought a red (I think?) tie to wear. Afraid it would clash with our muted color scheme, Karen made a last minute trip to Walmart (the only shop in town) to get him a tie that would blend in better with our wedding photos. The red really wouldn't have bothered me, but you know you have a good friend when it bothered her!
I've adapted the recipe by using rapid rise yeast (ain't nobody got time for a double rise), doubling the caramel sauce, and a few other little changes here and there. These don't get quite as big as the ones from home, but Grandma Sharon won't share her recipe with me. These come pretty darn close in taste, though!
1 pkg rapid rise active dry yeast
½ cup sugar
½ cup shortening
2 cups buttermilk
6 cups bread flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of water. In a large standing mixer, cream sugar and shortening. Add buttermilk, yeast mixture, 2 cups flour, salt, baking powder and soda. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining 4 cups of flour to make a very soft dough (I did this part with my mixer's bread hook). Turn onto a floured surface and knead 4-8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Let the dough rest for 10 minutes while you make the caramel sauce.
3 cups brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs light corn syrup
2-4 Tbs butter unsalted butter, softened or melted
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs white sugar
Combine brown sugar, cream and light corn syrup in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved & sauce is slightly thickened. Pour caramel sauce in equal amounts in the bottom of two 9x13 pans. [I usually get 12-14 rolls out of one batch. In order to avoid crowding, don't place more than 6-7 rolls in each pan.]
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a large 10x18 inch rectangle. Spread with the softened butter. Sprinkle cinnamon & sugar over the dough. Starting with the long side, roll up and press to seal. Cut into 1" thick slices.
Place the rolls on top of the caramel sauce in your 2 pans. Cover with a bread cloth & let rise near your warming oven until doubled in size - about 1-2 hours. Bake in preheated 375° oven for 25-30 minutes. Invert onto platter while rolls are still warm.
|Reheat leftover rolls (leftovers? ha!) in the microwave for 30 seconds. Perfection!|