Rum Raisin Sweet Rolls

As someone who doesn’t like raisins, I’ve never had rum raisin ice cream. Apparently it originated in Sicily, with wine-soaked raisins in vanilla gelato, and became a huge hit in the U.S. in the 1980s. Why raisins? Who knows. This is one of life’s culinary mysteries, along with bizarre (and yet beloved) treats like fruitcake.

Mike likes both raisins and rum, so I made these rum raisin rolls for him with a “make-it-mine” recipe from the Better Homes & Gardens Baking book. I’m trying to gain more experience with yeast doughs, and today’s batch turned out really well. You could omit the rum in the icing if you like and just go with vanilla extract or water, but I highly recommend using the rum.

Dough

  • 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (or 1 package) active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 5 1/3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs

Filling

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • About 1/8 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Icing

  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 teaspoons dark rum
  • About 2 tablespoon water

Preparation

Place raisins and rum in a bowl and stir together; you can let this sit overnight, or just for a few hours while you prepare your dough.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 and 1/2 cups flour and active dry yeast.

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, masked potato flakes, butter, sugar, and salt; heat on medium in just warm, between 120 and 130 degrees. Pour into flour/yeast mixture, then add eggs, and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down your bowl and beat for 3 minutes on medium.

Switch to your dough hook, and add another 3 cups flour. Mix on low speed until flour incorporates as much as possible, then set your timer and allow the dough to mix for another 2-3 minutes; it will pull away from the sides and wrap itself around the hook. You can also knead this dough by hand, but I used my mixer to do all the work today, and it turned out really well. Remove from the bowl, knead by hand just 2-3 times, then place it back in your mixing bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm place until about doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.

Once dough has risen, punch it down gently and turn it onto a lightly floured surface to rest for 10 minutes. While the dough rests, stir together the light brown sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking tin.

Shape dough into an 18 x 12 rectangle and spread with softened butter; I just used my fingers for this. Sprinkle filling leaving 1 inch unfilled along the top and bottom of the rectangle. Roll up the rectangle, starting from the long side, and pinch the dough to seal the seams. Slice into 12 equal portions and place cut-sides down in the baking tin. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes, until tops are golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

While rolls are cooling, make the icing by combining the powdered sugar, rum, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Stir in enough remaining water to make a drizzly consistency. Spread over warm rolls; serve warm or at room temperature. Keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days. Makes 12.

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