Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze

"Mother's Day is a time to spoil your mother, and I have the perfect recipe for that. In fact, it comes with a bona fide endorsement from my own mother, who turned to me over brunch a few weeks ago, after tasting one of these lemony rolls, and said, wide-eyed, 'This is the best thing I have ever put in my mouth.'" 

Faith Durand, The Kitchn.

Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze

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    1 envelope (1/4 ounce, or 2 1/2 teaspoons) yeast 2 eggs
    3/4 cup milk, warmed to about 100 degrees F, or warm but not hot on your wrist 1 cup sugar, for Filling and Glaze
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft, for Lemon Roll Dough 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, for Filling and Glaze
    1/4 cup white sugar, for Lemon Roll Dough 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
    2 tablespoons vanilla extract Zest and juice of 2 lemons
    4 1/2 cups flour 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft, for Filling and Glaze
    1/2 teaspoon salt 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, for Lemon Roll Dough 1 cup powdered sugar, for Filling and Glaze
    2 lemons, zested


    Prep: 25 min Total: More than 60 min
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    • 1

      Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a couple of minutes. With the mixer paddle, stir in the softened butter, sugar, vanilla and 1 cup of the flour. 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. Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes or until the dough is elastic and pliable. (If you do not have a stand mixer, stir the ingredients together by hand, and then turn the soft dough out onto a lightly floured countertop. Knead the dough by hand for 5 to 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth, pliable and stretchy.)

    • 2

      Spray the top of the dough with vegetable oil, and turn the dough over so it is coated in oil. Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a towel; let the dough rise until nearly doubled, about 1 hour.

    • 3

      Make the filling: In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the nutmeg and ginger, then work in the lemon zest with the tips of your fingers until the sugar resembles wet, soft sand. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon. (Reserve the juice of the second lemon for the glaze.)

    • 4

      Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish with baking spray or butter. On a floured surface, pat the dough out into a large yet still thick rectangle, about 10x15 inches. Spread evenly with the softened butter, then pour and spread the lemon-sugar mixture over the top. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Cut the dough roll into 12 even rolls, and place them, cut side up, in the prepared baking dish.

    • 5

      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 and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake the rolls, remove the pan from the fridge and let the rolls rise for an hour.)

    • 6

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake rolls for 35 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into a center roll reads 190 degrees F.

    • 7

      While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small food processor (or with a mixer or sturdy whisk), whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the remaining lemon juice and blend until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy.

    • 8

      When the rolls are done, smear them with the cream cheese glaze, and sprinkle the zest of 1 additional lemon over the top to garnish. Serve while warm.

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