I absolutely love anything baked with lemon. I saw the idea for these non-cinnamon rolls somewhere and just had to try them immediately. The lemon sugar filling is so tart and delicious. I really enjoyed these rolls. We ate only a couple then froze the rest to heat up for future treats whenever we wanted one.
For the dough:
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 envelope (0.25 ounces, or 2 1/2 teaspoons) active yeast
- 3/4 cup milk, warmed to about 100°F
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft, plus 3 tablespoons more for roll assembly
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
For the sticky lemon filling:
- juice from 1 lemon
- zest from 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
For the lemon glaze:
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a few minutes or until foamy. Stir the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, and one cup of the flour into this milk and yeast mixture. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Stir in the eggs and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough.
- Knead for about 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and pliable.
- Lightly grease the top of the dough with vegetable oil, and turn the dough over so it is coated in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise until nearly doubled — about one hour.
- In a small bowl, mix 1 cup sugar with the nutmeg, ginger, and lemon zest. Slowly pour in the lemon juice, stirring. Stop when the sugar and lemon juice form a thick, clumpy mixture like wet sand. (you may not use all the juice from the lemon)
- Lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking dish with baking spray or butter. On a floured surface pat the dough out into a large yet still thick rectangle — about 10×15 inches.
- Spread the dough evenly with 3 tablespoons of very soft unsalted butter, then spread the lemon-sugar mixture over top. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Stretch and pull the dough taut as you roll, to keep the lemon sugar firm inside. Cut the long dough roll into 12 even rolls. Place each one, open and cut side up, in the prepared baking dish.
- Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for an hour or until puffy and nearly doubled. (You can also refrigerate the rolls at this point. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap or a towel, and place it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake the rolls, remove the pan from the fridge, and let them rise for an hour before proceeding with baking.)
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the risen rolls in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into a center roll reads 190°F.
- Whisk the powdered sugar and a small amount of the lemon juice together. Keep adding lemon juice and sugar as necessary to get the glaze to a pouring texture. (The glaze would also be great with cream cheese but I didn’t have any on hand)
- When the rolls are done, drizzle on the glaze, and sprinkle lemon zest over top to garnish. Serve while still warm.
Recipe from The Kitchn