It would seem that I have quite a thing for cranberries these days. In the span of a month, I’ve already posted three recipes featuring cranberries, including the Cinnamon Cranberry Pinwheels and my low carb Cranberry Bliss Bars. And now I am about to present you with another cranberry recipe. I would say that this would be the last of them, but I shouldn’t make promises I can’t keep. The truth is, I really like cranberries, and I don’t just use them during the holidays. When fresh cranberries become available in the fall, I buy bags of them and store them in my freezer for year-round use. So let’s just say that this will be the last of the cranberry recipes…for a little while.
This recipe was really inspired by my desire to try my hand at a low carb yeast bread. Thinking about what I really wanted to have on Christmas morning led me to think of sticky buns, in all their gooey, caramel-topped glory. Having experimented some with trying to get erythritol to caramelize, I knew I probably couldn’t quite pull it off in a way that would satisfy my craving, so I cast around for other sweet roll ideas. I’d seen a number of cranberry-orange sweet rolls on other blogs and thought that something like this might be a lovely complement to our eggs on Christmas morning. I figured I’d skip the cream cheese icing, as my kids don’t really like it, and just do a nice lemony glaze instead.
Carbalose flour is the closest thing to regular flour I’ve found that can still be considered low carb. I don’t use it all that often because I like to try to make many of my foods gluten free. I must confess, I am also not entirely sure how they modify it to make it low carb, so I try to use it in moderation. But I am not confident enough of my own bread-making skills to forego the gluten in yeast breads, so for this recipe I relied on carbalose flour with some extra gluten flour for good measure. The filling for these sweet rolls was simply some of my sugar free cranberry sauce, along with a little cinnamon and some granulated erythritol.
The Results: I was immensely pleased with these sweet rolls, and really happy I gave them a go for a special occasion like Christmas Day. They were festive and pretty, not to mention delicious. The tart cranberry filling was a lovely change from the traditional cinnamon sugar and the glaze gave a lovely hint of lemon without being overpowering. Even my kids liked them, although our recent family bout of the stomach flu meant they both only had a few bites of their breakfast in total. Or perhaps it was the excitement of the presents still to be opened that drew them away from the breakfast table early.
I wasn’t at all sure that the dough was going to rise properly. I made it on Christmas Eve day, and then headed out for a run and when I came back, it seemingly hadn’t risen at all. So I gave it a little encouragement in a warm oven, and that did the trick. I did the same thing on Christmas morning, after taking the rolls out of the fridge. The only change I would make to this would be to let them rise longer during the proofing stage before baking, because once the oven was up to the proper temperature, they didn’t quite puff up as much as I would like. But overall, I was really happy with these sweet rolls and am very glad I have a low(er) carb alternative for special occasions.
Cranberry Lemon Sweet Rolls
3/4 cup almond milk, warmed to 110F
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups carbalose flour, plus extra for dusting)
3/4 cup gluten flour
1/2 cup almond flour
3 tbsp granulated erythritol
3 1/2 tsp instant or rapid-rise yeast (about 1 1/2 envelopes)
1 tsp salt
1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp granulated erythritol
12 drops stevia extract
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/3 cup lemon juice (1 to 1 1/2 lemons)
6 tbsp powdered erythritol
For the dough, whisk together almond milk, melted butter and eggs together in a large liquid measuring cup or bowl.
Combine flours, sugar, yeast and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low, add buttermilk mixture and mix until dough comes together, about 2 minutes.
Increase the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick slightly to the bottom. If it is too wet, add a small amount more carbalose flour, 1 tbsp at a time. If it is too dry, add room temperature water, 1 tbsp at a time.
Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. You may find it needs some extra encouragement to rise properly. If so, turn on your oven to 200F for 10 minutes, then turn oven off and place bowl with dough inside.
For the filling, combine cranberries, water and erythritol in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until berries pop. Remove from heat and add stevia. Set aside.
Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press into a 12×16 inch rectangle. Spread with cranberry mixture and sprinkle with cinnamon, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. Carefully roll into a tight log and pinch the seam closed. Place seam side down and gently stretch the log to be 18 inches in length, evening out the thickness as you go.
Slice cylinder into 16 evenly sized rolls. Arrange rolls cut-side down in prepared baking pan and wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size and tightly pressed together, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
**Alternatively, you could place unrisen rolls in the fridge for up to 16 hours. Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour, then bake as directed. If they are not rising after removing them from the fridge, warm the oven again and turn it off, then let them sit in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F. Bake rolls until golden and puffed, 25-30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack or cutting board.
For the glaze, whisk together lemon juice and powdered erythritol. Drizzle over warm rolls and serve.
Makes 16 rolls. Each roll has a total of 20g of carbs and 5.6g of fiber. Subtracting erythritol, each roll has 10.7g of carbs and 5.6g of fiber.