These rolls have just the right amount of sweetness to balance the tart taste of the dried cherries. Resist the temptation to add more chips, unless you’re more of a sickly sweet person. Too many white chocolate chips and I go straight into something akin to a diabetic coma and my kids spin around like whirling dervishes. I try my best to avoid this outcome. It isn’t pretty.
White Chocolate Cherry Breakfast Rolls (20-24 rolls)
- 2 packages yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 – 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup melted unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup white chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup dried cherries (I use dried pitted Tart Montmorency Cherries available at TJ’s)
- 2 eggs
Almond Glaze: (Optional)
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 ½-2 tablespoons milk
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add warm milk, sugar, 2 cups all-purpose flour, shortening, eggs, salt and almond extract. Mix well. Knead the dough and gradually add the additional all-purpose flour until you have a moderately stiff dough. The total amount of flour needed can vary a great deal. Today it took closer to 4 ½ cups of all-purpose flour before I reached “moderately stiff” dough. Once your dough is no longer wet to the touch, move it onto a lightly floured work surface. Kneed it a few times. Sprinkle the dried cherries on your work surface. Knead a few more times to gently incorporate them. Do the same with the white chocolate chips. You can’t do this with a rough touch – if you do you’ll break apart the cherries and smash the chocolate chips. Take out your aggressions on the dog and leave the dough alone.
Lightly wipe a medium-sized bowl with a paper towel soaked in canola oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill covered at least two hours in refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator. Punch down (literally smack the dough with your fist – it’s pretty much the only thing you can legally punch these days, so go for it!). Cut the dough into small balls and drop into greased muffin tins and let rise 2 hours before baking. You should get 20-24 rolls, so divide the dough accordingly. I place the dough filled muffin tins on top of my oven with the oven light on. Dough is far happier in a warm environment. The oven light will keep the area a bit warm. Depending on how dry it is where you live, place a slightly damp (not dripping wet) dishtowel over the dough so that it doesn’t dry out.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 12-15 minutes until just light brown.
While the rolls are baking make the Almond Glaze. This is totally optional. The rolls are terrific without the glaze. They look a bit more festive with the glaze, but if you’re trying to keep your sugar intake down, just skip it. To make the glaze mix the sugar, almond extract and milk together in a small bowl. Allow the rolls to cool for a minute or two and the drizzle a modest amount of glaze on top of each roll.
The dough can be kept in the refrigerator up to 20 hours before the rise cycle and baking commences. Translating this to actual living – you can start the dough the night before you need it (or kneed it). In the morning take the dough out of the fridge when you first wake up. Let it have its second rise cycle, bake and serve.