3 to 4cups(426 to 568g)all-purpose flour (see note)
½cup(113g)salted butter, softened
2 to 3tablespoonsfresh orange zest, from about 2-3 medium oranges
3tablespoonscream cheese, softened
6tablespoons(85g)salted butter, softened
1tablespoonmilk or heavy cream, can sub in fresh orange juice
1 to 2teaspoonsfresh orange zest, or more!
1 ¼cups(143g)powdered sugar
For the dough, heat the milk in a medium saucepan until the milk is scalded (which is basically heating it until right before it simmers - it will start steaming and little bubbles will form around the edge of the pan; you can also do this in the microwave). Pour the milk into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or you can do this by hand with a large bowl and wooden spoon).
Add the butter, sugar and salt. Mix until the butter is melted and let the mixture cool until warm but not hot. Add the yeast and egg and mix until combined.
Gradually add the flour until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. The exact amount will depend on the temperature, humidity and how you measure flour. I usually end up with right around 3 1/2 cups of flour. The dough should be soft and just slightly sticky without leaving a lot of residue on your fingers. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rise until doubled, about an hour.
Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl until well-combined.
Roll or pat the dough into about a 14X10-inch rectangle. Evenly spread the orange filling mixture over the rectangle of dough.
Starting with one long end, roll up the cinnamon rolls as tightly as possible without stretching the dough, pinching the seam lightly to seal.
Using a serrated knife, cut the log into 12 even pieces, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick (I find it's easiest to do this by cutting it in half and then cutting each half into six pieces).
The dough can be placed in a greased 9X13-inch pan just like traditional cinnamon rolls (3 across, 4 down). OR for an amazing twist shape (it's how I always make them), take each piece of dough, stretch it out into a long oval shape and give it one twist in the middle (see pictures in the post for a visual). Place the rolls on a parchment lined half sheet pan (3 across, 4 down).
Let the rolls rise, covered, until puffy and nearly doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls for about 18-22 minutes until only very slightly golden on top.
While they cool (or before), prepare the icing by adding the cream cheese and butter to a medium bowl. Whip with a handheld (or stand) mixer until creamy. Add the salt, milk or cream, and orange zest. Mix again. Add the powdered sugar and whip until light and creamy. Spread the slightly warm rolls evenly with the icing.
Serve immediately or let cool completely and serve at room temperature (or warm lightly before serving).
Milk: I prefer using whole milk or 2% milk in this recipe.Yeast: If you don't have instant yeast and want to use active dry yeast, use the same amount and dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup water with a pinch of sugar. If doing this, you may need to add a bit more flour during mixing.Flour Amount: Don't worry so much about the exact amount of flour called for in the recipe and instead judge the dough by the feel of it. It should be soft and smooth and stretchy without leaving an overly sticky residue on your fingers. Elevation, humidity, exact temperature of the milk, how we each measure flour - all of these things can affect the precise flour amount, so don't worry if you have to add a bit more or less than the recipe calls for.Make-Ahead: this post details how to make sweet rolls ahead of time.