Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls

Photo: Thomas J. Story; Styling: Nissa Quanstrom

If anything could get a reluctant camper into the woods, it would be the promise of these oversize sticky rolls. Carolyn Beth Weil, author of Williams-Sonoma's Pie & Tart and a professional baker from Berkeley, California, shared the recipe, which dates back to her days as a Girl Scouts leader. Shape the dough into logs at home and freeze, then thaw them in your cooler and bake in camp. You'll need a 2-gal. resealable plastic bag and a couple of wooden skewers to test for doneness.

Yield: Makes 12 (serving size: 1 roll)
Recipe from Sunset

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Recipe Time

At Home: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes
In Camp: 3 Hours, 30 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 533
  • Calories from fat: 21%
  • Protein: 8.4g
  • Fat: 13g
  • Saturated fat: 7.5g
  • Carbohydrate: 98g
  • Fiber: 2.5g
  • Sodium: 399mg
  • Cholesterol: 66mg

Ingredients

  • DOUGH
  • 1 pkg. (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons honey or 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm milk (100° to 110°)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • About 5 1/3 cups flour
  • FILLING
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
  • FINISHING
  • 1 tablespoon butter (for greasing the dutch oven)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Preparation

  1. AT HOME
  2. 1. Make dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast with 1/4 cup warm (100° to 110°) water and the honey. Let stand until bubbly, about 5 minutes. Add milk, butter, eggs, and salt. Using a dough hook, gradually mix in 5 cups flour, then mix on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes; if dough is still sticky, add another tbsp. or so of flour. (You can also mix and knead the dough by hand.)
  3. 2. Put dough in an oiled mixing bowl, turning so it's oiled on all sides, and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until double, about 1 hour.
  4. 3. Punch down dough; knead a few times on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into an even 12- by 24-in. rectangle.
  5. 4. Make filling: Spread butter on dough. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts; sprinkle evenly over dough, leaving a 1 1/2-in. strip clear along the top long edge.
  6. 5. Roll up, starting at other long edge, and pinch seam closed. Cut log in half crosswise. Using paper towels, oil inside of a 2-gal. resealable freezer bag. Put half-logs inside, leaving some space between them, and seal bag. Freeze until solid, at least 6 hours and up to 1 month.
  7. IN CAMP
  8. 6. Transport frozen dough in a cooler up to 1 day before baking. Remove logs from bag, ideally while still somewhat firm, and cut each crosswise into 6 slices.
  9. 7. Finish rolls: Butter a 6-qt. dutch oven. Arrange slices cut side up in pot. Cover with lid and let rise in the sun until dough is puffy and holds a small impression when pressed, 1 1/2 to 3 hours.
  10. 8. Meanwhile, prepare a fire (see "How to Bake in a Dutch Oven," below).
  11. 9. Bake rolls until they're browned and a skewer inserted into bread comes out clean, 30 to 45 minutes.
  12. 10. Remove pot from fire, uncover, and let cool about 15 minutes. Loosen rolls with a table knife. Mix honey and powdered sugar with 2 to 3 tsp. water; spread on top.
  13. How to Bake in a Dutch Oven
  14. Lewis and Clark brought one to the wilderness. So did the early pioneers to Utah (it's now the official state cooking vessel). And so should you, because it means you'll get to bake--and eat--carbs in camp. All you need is a 6-qt. camp dutch oven (one with legs and a flanged lid; lodgemfg.com), some regular (not competition-style) charcoal and a chimney or hot embers from a wood campfire, and a heatproof spot like a fire ring or bricks set flat on an area free of flammable material; check your campground's fire rules.
  15. 1. Prepare the fire. If using charcoal: Light 50 briquets in a chimney and burn till they're spotted gray, 15 minutes. If using a campfire: Scrape the fire to the side, level out a space the size of the dutch oven, and mound the hot embers nearby (2 to 3 qts. worth).
  16. 2. Lay a bottom ring of hot coals. The area of the coals should be slightly smaller than the circumference of the dutch oven. Put the oven on top and set the lid in place.
  17. 3. Lay a top ring of hot coals. Use metal tongs to arrange a single ring on top of the lid around the lip. Evenly space a few more coals across the lid. Set any extra heated fuel aside. To check the food and temperature, lift the lid occasionally.
  18. 4. Tweak the temperature. To decrease heat, scrape away some fuel. To increase heat, or to cook longer than 45 minutes, add 5 or 6 new coals to both the top and the bottom of the dutch oven (touching lit ones so they'll ignite) about every 30 minutes.
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