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Italian Sweet Rolls


These Italian Sweet Rolls are definitely sweet. The dense dough holds the sweetness well!

Sweetness is also found in music. So check out “Sweet Eloise” performed by Glenn Miller.


Italian Sweet Rolls


  • ½ cup flour
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 eggs, divided
  • 5 cups flour, divided
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ dried orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice (optional)


  1. Combine biga ingredients in a one-cup glass measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap and set out on kitchen shelf overnight.
  2. Put water in a large bowl and sprinkle yeast over it. Let stand for 2 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over the yeast mixture. Let stand for 2 more minutes. Add biga, 1 egg, and 1 cup flour. Mix with electric mixer.
  3. Add remaining 2 cups flour, 4 eggs, biga mixture, honey, butter, sugar, buttermilk, salt, and vanilla. Mix with electric mixer.
  4. Add remaining 2 cups flour and stir in with a spoon. Scraping bowl to make a doughy ball; cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise for 30 minutes.
  5. Lightly flour clean surface. Divide dough in half. Press dough into rectangle about half-inch thick. Drizzle 4 tablespoons filling mixture over the dough. Spread with back of spoon to within an inch of edges.
  6. Roll dough into a log. Cut into six even pieces. Place into lightly greased 9x13-inch pan.
  7. Press other half of dough into a rectangle about half-inch thick. Repeat filling directions. Roll; cut and place in pan.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for an hour.
  9. Over low heat, combine orange juice concentrate, butter, sugar, and orange peel. Simmer for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally. It should be thickened. Remove from heat. If including pineapple juice, simmer for a total of 20 minutes.
  10. There should be some filling remaining. Reserve this for rolls after baking.
  11. Preheat oven to 350 degree. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Edges will be very dark. Remove from oven and invert onto large baking sheet pan. Drizzle reserved filling over hot rolls. Serve immediately.

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About Jillaine: As a professional jazz singer who also studies law, savoring daily nosh with family refreshes me. You are invited to my table to try great food, hear tasty music, and join in upbeat conversation!

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