Orange Knots with Dessert Pesto


I love me a good olive oil. My local public market has a couple vendors that sell such, and carry some interesting flavors. A favorite of mine is the Blood Orange Olive Oil, which is the star of this recipe. If you can’t find any, you can go without the flavored oil (using regular olive oil) and add in the zest from one orange for a similar taste, or just skip the orange all together.

This slightly dense, slightly sweet dough is versatile, it can go well with a wide array of flavors, but here’s one for today.

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with Dessert Pesto

Ingredients for the Orange Knots:


  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast (or 1 packet)

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 1/4 cup half&half

  • 1 Tbs + 1 tsp (to coat dough) + 1 Tbs (to brush) Blood Orange Olive Oil, divided


  • 3 cup bread flour

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (I used white, but yellow is fine, it may visually present differently though)

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

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Add yeast to the warm water in medium-sized mixing bowl, stir, and let sit for about ten minutes, until the mixture is frothy in appearance.

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Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients (flour, oats, cornmeal, salt, brown sugar) together in a large mixing bowl (I’m using my stand mixer here). Create a well in the center with your fist to pour wet ingredients into.

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Once yeast/water has frothed, add the Half & Half, and olive oil to it, and mix together.

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Pour the wet ingredient mixture into the well of your dry ingredients, and mix until well combined, and elastic in consistency. If it is too dry, add more water in small increments (a teaspoon or so at a time) until desired consistency. You may need to get in there with your hands to knead this stuff, the dough hook on my stand mixer works pretty well for the bulk of the mixing though.

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Coat in a bit more oil, cover with cheesecloth or plastic wrap, and let rise for at least an hour, until about doubled in size.

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Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Pull out small sections of dough (I like to use a butter knife to pull them, for size you can make the sections about the size of the knife’s blade ), and tie into knots. You may need to roll these out a bit in your hands to get them tie-able. You’ll get somewhere between 4-5 dozen knots at this size, unbaked they’ll be a bit smaller than a ping-pong ball at their widest.

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Place tied dough knots on a parchment paper coated baking sheet. Honestly, you’re probably going to need two baking sheets.

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Once you’ve filled a sheet, pop it in the oven and bake until the knots are slightly golden, about 11-14 minutes depending on your oven.

When the knots are baked, brush with a bit of the blood orange olive oil while cooling.

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Ingredients for the pesto:

  • ⅓ cup almonds

  • ⅓ cup dry cranberries

  • zest of one orange

  • the juice of that same orange

  • 2 tsp Blood Orange Olive Oil

  • handful of cilantro

  • some brie (I used about half of the ~.3 lb piece I’d bought)

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Almonds, cranberries, and the orange zest go right in to your food processor, pulse/process until the almonds and cranberries are now very small pieces. Add the juice, oil, and cilantro and pulse a few times to incorporate. Cut the brie into small chunks, and then add to the processor  and pulse until incorporated. Scoop it out, and it is ready to serve! Refrigerate the dessert pesto leftovers or if not to be served immediately.

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These knots would also be excellent with the Blood Orange-Cranberry Butter featured earlier this year.

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Sneak peek: Like this dough? Here’s a teaser of another variation to come.

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