- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat and stir milk, the 1/3 cup sugar, the 1/3 cup butter, and salt until warm (120F to 130F) and butter almost melts. Add to flour mixture. Add eggs, 1 teaspoon of the orange peel, and orange juice. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Stir in dried cranberries or cherries and as much of the remaining 4 to 4-1/2 cups flour as you can with a wooden spoon.
- Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the flour remaining from the 4 to 4-1/2 cups flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour).
- Punch down dough; turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Line two baking sheets with foil. Grease the foil; set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1 teaspoon orange peel, the 2/3 cup sugar, the 1/4 cup butter, and the 1 tablespoon flour. Roll each half of the dough into a 14x10-inch rectangle. Spread filling lengthwise over half of each rectangle. Fold dough in half lengthwise, covering the filling. Cut each rectangle into fourteen 1-inch-wide strips. Holding a strip at both ends, carefully twist one end in one direction and the other end in the opposite direction. Place strip on prepared baking sheet, pressing ends down. Repeat with remaining strips.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double (about 30 minutes ).*
- Preheat oven to 375F. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove twists from baking sheets and place on wire racks set on waxed paper. Drizzle warm twists with Orange Icing.
From the Test Kitchen
To make the rolls ahead, prepared as directed through Step 5. Cover twists with oiled waxed paper, then plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Uncover; let stand at room temperature for 35 minutes. Break any surface bubbles with a greased toothpick. Bake as directed in Step 7.
To bake ahead:
Prepare as directed, except do not drizzle with Orange Icing. Place cooled twists in a freezer container or bag and freeze for up to 1 month. To reheat, preheat oven to 325F. Place twists on two baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until heated through. Drizzle with Orange Icing.
Orange Powdered Sugar Icing
- In a small bowl, stir together sifted powdered sugar, finely shredded orange peel, and enough orange juice to reach drizzling consistency.