Sticky Lemon & Blueberry Morning Rolls

Last night we went to Thanksgiving Dinner. A friend of mine is from Vermont and lives here in Stoke with her Husband. She wanted to host Thanksgiving and created the most amazing feast. I went over after lunch to help with the food and it was the most intense but enjoyable cooking session. 23 people came to dinner and there were so many dishes and pies, not to mention a 10kg turkey that Nick proudly cooked with a cranberry and honey butter rub of his own creation. I can't not give him credit for that impressive bit of poultry. I made 2 pumpkin pies, and I've never had pumpkin pie before but I'm a complete convert now. I have one more pumpkin related post for next week and then I'll leave pumpkins alone for another year. 

I would not complain at all if the UK adopted Thanksgiving as a National Holiday, especially if it meant sweet potatoes slow cooked in maple syrup every die. I have never eaten a better sweet potato and I doubt I ever will. 

I cannot stress how hard it was not to eat more of these rolls. They are so sweet, sticky and lemony that you'll wonder how so much awesome can go into one roll. I've made it clear before how much I love blueberries. I have to resist putting blueberries in all of my baking or I'd have to rename the blog.

If I tell you about these rolls today you have no excuse not to make these for Sunday morning. Nick and I heading off to our first Christmas Market at Keele this Sunday and maybe festive pies at Pieminister afterwards. I love a good Christmas market and definitely need to fit in the Manchester one in the next couple of weeks. 

These rolls are good when cold but out of this world when warm and the icing is still runny. You can prepare the rolls the evening before and bake them in the morning. There is a bit of prep involved when baking sweet doughs but you always reap the rewards and it’s an occasion kind of bake that deserves time spent on it. 

Sticky Lemon & Blueberry Morning Rolls
(Recipe adapted from  The Kitchn)

Makes 12 large breakfast rolls

3 large lemons

1 sachet (7g) active yeast

170ml milk, warmed to about 37°C (warm but not hot on your wrist)
113g unsalted butter, very soft, plus 3 tablespoons more for roll assembly
50g caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
580g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large eggs

For the sticky lemon and blueberry filling:
200g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
50g fresh blueberries

For the lemon cream cheese glaze:
110g cream cheese, softened
130g icing sugar
  1. Start by preparing the lemons: Zest and juice the lemons. Divide the zest into three equal parts. One part will be used in the dough, a second part in the filling, and the final part will be sprinkled on top of the baked rolls.
  2. Divide the juice into two equal parts, and set aside. Half of the lemon juice will be used in the lemon-sugar filling for the rolls. The other half will be used in the glaze.
  3. To make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a few minutes. With the mixer paddle, stir the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, and 130g of the flour into this milk and yeast mixture. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, and one part (1/3) of the lemon zest. Stir in the eggs and keep adding the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough.
  4. 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 together the ingredients by hand, then turn the soft dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough by hand for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, pliable, and stretchy.)
  5. 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 cling film and a tea towel and let the dough rise until nearly doubled — about one hour.
  6. To make the filling: In a small bowl, mix 200g sugar with the nutmeg and ginger, then work in the second part of the lemon zest (1/3) with the tips of your fingers until the sugar resembles soft sand. Slowly pour in one part (1/2) of the lemon juice, add the blueberries and stir. Stop when the sugar and lemon juice form a thick, clumpy mixture like wet sand. 
  7. To assemble the rolls: Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish with butter. On a floured surface roll the dough out into a large yet still thick rectangle — about 10x15 inches. Tack the top long end to the surface to keep it secure. 
  8. Spread the dough evenly with 3 tablespoons of very soft unsalted butter (I found it easiest just to get my hands dirty and spread the butter out that way), then spread the lemon-sugar mixture over top. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Cut the long dough roll into 12 even rolls. Pinch the bottom of each roll closed to help keep the lemon sugar inside, and place each one, open and cut side up, in the prepared baking dish.
  9. Cover the rolls with a tea towel and let them rise for an hour or until nearly doubled. (You can also put them in the fridge 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.)
  10. Heat the oven to 180°c. Place the risen rolls in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  11. To make the glaze: While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze.Whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the remaining part of the lemon juice and mix. The add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy.
  12. When the rolls are done, pour the cream cheese glaze over the top, and sprinkle the final part (1/3) of the lemon zest over top to garnish. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, but try to eat them whilst they are still warm.