Soft, sweet, fluffy rolls filled with strawberry jam and topped with a sweet and tangy cream cheese glaze are my idea of a great morning. The rolls are soft, buttery, tender and can be made as an overnight/make-ahead option so all you have to do in the morning is bake them, pour a cup of coffee, and get ready to enjoy sweet, ooey-gooey, fresh rolls.
Strawberry Sweet Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze
Yield: 8 to 10 rolls (in a 9.5-inch pie dish)
- For the Dough :
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus up to 1/4 cup additional, to be added only if necessary)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet, I use Red Star Platinum)
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 1/2 cup milk (I used Trader Joe's Light Coconut Milk in a can; try buttermilk, cow, goat, almond, soy)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft - let it sit out while dough rises
- about 3/4 cup strawberry preserves or jam (or try another flavor; blueberry, raspberry, peach, apricot)
- about 3 ounces (about 1/3 cup) cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Dough - To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or make and knead by hand using a large mixing bowl; plan to knead for about 10 minutes), combine all ingredients other than milk; set aside. For now, use 2 1/4 cups flour. Note - Use all-purpose flour, or bread flour as a substitute. Do not use whole-wheat, white-whole wheat or any 'wheaty' flours. When people have issues with dough not rising, it's usually because they used whole wheat flour. This recipe was not tested or developed for whole wheat flour.
- Add milk to a glass measuring cup and warm to temperature, about 45 seconds on high power in the microwave. (Based on the type of yeast used, milk temperatures will vary. Red Star Platinum yeast calls for warmer temperatures than most, 120 to 130F; other brands and yeast call for much lower temperatures, about 95 to 105F. Warm milk according to manufacturer's recommendations on the packaging. Taking the temperature with a digital thermometer is highly recommended, but if you're not, make sure the milk is warm, not hot. Err on the cooler rather than hotter side so you don't kill the yeast.)
- Pour the milk over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and knead on low speed for about 7 minutes (10 minutes by hand).
- If after 5 minutes dough is very sticky and it seems more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clears the side of the bowl, but sticking to the bottom is okay. The dough is sticky and tacky, although not excessively so. Don't be tempted to over-flour it. It's supposed to be loose and moist; that's normal. The more flour you add now, the less fluffy and more dense the rolls will be. Dough should clear the sides of the mixer while kneading but sticking to the bottom is fine. If you're kneading by hand, you'll likely need more flour than if kneading via stand mixer. With all bread-making, evaluate your dough and if you deem it necessary to add more flour than I called for given my dry San Diego climate, then do so.
- After kneading, turn the dough out into a large, greased bowl, cover with plasticwrap, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Create a warm environment by preheating your oven for 1 to 2 minutes to 400F, then shutting it off. This creates a 90F-ish warm spot. Slide the bowl in and wait while the yeast works. Just make sure your oven is off.
- After the dough has doubled, punch it down, turn it out onto a floured surface or Silpat and knead it for about 3 minutes.
- For the Filling - Spray a 9 or 10-inch pie plate or similar sized baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- With a rolling pin, roll dough into approximately an 18-inch-by-12-inch rectangle, just eyeball it.
- Add the butter, and spread evenly over the surface.
- Add the jelly and spread evenly, leaving a small margin near edges.
- Starting with a long side, roll to form a tight cylinder.
- Slice the cylinder into 8 to 10 evenly sized pieces (I made 9 pieces, each about 2 inches wide) using a bench scraper, serrated knife, or plain unwaxed dental floss (works great to not squish and compact the log). Jelly will escape out; it's to be expected. Push back in what you can but don't worry about it.
- Arrange the rolls in the prepared baking pan. Cover with plasticwrap.
- At this point you can...Either - Allow the rolls to rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled, about 60 to 75 minutes and then bake. (I use the 400F oven trick for 1 minute again)
- Or - Refrigerate the rolls for up to 18 hours. This is the Make-Ahead/Overnight Option. Prior to baking, let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled, about 60 to 75 minutes. (I use the 400F oven trick for 1 minute again)
- Which ever option you choose, in the last minutes of rising, preheat oven to 350F.
- Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and cooked through. If you notice your rolls are becoming darker before centers are cooking through, covering with foil in the second half of cooking will reduce over-browning, however I did not need to do this, but ovens and dough vary.
- While rolls bake, make the Cream Cheese Glaze by combing all ingredients in a small bowl and beating until smooth, either with a whisk or a mixer. Play with ratios of all ingredients to suit your taste
- After baking, generously drizzle glaze over the warm rolls. Serve immediately. Rolls are best eaten fresh, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. Reheat leftover rolls for a few seconds in the microwave before serving. If you object to keeping cream cheese frosting at room temperature, then refrigerate the leftover rolls; I don't. If you have extra unused glaze, it makes an amazing fruit dip; or it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.