I never met a breakfast pastry I didn’t like.
Seriously. I love them all. And that’s really saying something, considering that I shout from the rooftops on the reg how much I prefer savory breakfasts. Bacon and eggs and avocados and toast all day long, people.
But a sweet roll? Gimme. The classic cinnamon roll is my absolute favorite (even those with a few twists); I can almost never resist them if they are an option. But you can wrap up just about anything in a fluffy yeast dough, add some butter and sugar and some sort of glaze/frosting on top, and I’ll be your best friend forever. They are definitely a weakness of mine.
This strawberries and cream version is no exception!
I took my classic cinnamon roll dough and filled it with strawberry jam and fresh strawberries (oh, and butter. Duh) and baked them until they were like fluffy pillow clouds and loaded them up with the most amazingly delicious vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. No, not a glaze. A FROSTING. It melts all over the rolls, pooling in the nooks and crannies and dripping gloriously over the sides of the pan. Ugh. HEAVEN.
I figured these would be good, but I had no idea how much we would love them.
They taste like your favorite fruit strudel or danish but in a much fluffier form. These rolls baked up to be almost as big as a Cinnabon roll from the mall. They are seriously fluffy! The dough, in all its fluffy glory, is not too sweet, which is nice since both the filling and the frosting are on the sweeter side.
I dug one of these out from underneath the blanket of sweet cream cheese while it was still warm from the oven. As soon as I shot these pictures, I inhaled it. Well, I ate half of it, paused to make myself a cup of coffee, and then proceeded to inhale the other half before my coffee was even cool enough to drink. Yeah. They’re freaking GOOD.
These are the perfect thing to make for a family event or a party. Like Mother’s Day this weekend. You definitely don’t want a pan of these sitting around in your kitchen when you’re there all by your lonesome. It’s not a good idea. Trust me.
If you want to bake these up for your mom this weekend for a breakfast or brunch, I recommend prepping the dough, filling and forming the rolls, and assembling them in the pan the night before. An overnight rise in the fridge is ideal for serving guests. Because filled yeast rolls like these just take some time. It’s a fact. I’ve tried to speed recipes up, falling for the “one-hour cinnamon rolls” trick, and while those recipes are great in a pinch, I think things taste better and have better texture when they have the longer, true double rise.
Because we want that ultimate fluffiness!
We want our sweet rolls to be like freaking clouds, darn it!
Just like I always say about recipes like this, don’t be intimidated. Sweet rolls, in general, are not hard from a technique perspective. They’re easy! You just have to be patient, which is not one of my strong suits. You need patience to allow the dough to rise two times, once before forming the rolls and once after they’re formed and in the pan. And enough planning and forethought to accommodate that part!
But the actual act of making the dough and forming the rolls is NOT HARD. I promise! Just allow yourself enough time and read through the entire recipe before starting to familiarize yourself with what’s coming.
The results are 1000% worth it. I’m sure Mom will agree this weekend.
2 cups whole milk
½ cup canola oil
½ cup sugar
1 package of active-dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
4½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons fine salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup strawberry preserves
½ cup sliced strawberries
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or extract)
The zest of 1 lemon
2½ cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Whisk together the milk, canola oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and whisk until well combined (you want the sugar to dissolve).
Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it sit for 1 minute.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add 4 cups of the flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
With the dough hook attachment, start the machine and slowly pour in the yeast mixture until it is just combined. Mix in the last ½ cup of flour and the salt and mix until incorporated.
Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a warm place for an hour.
At this point, you can either roll out the dough/form the rolls and use it immediately or store it in the fridge, well covered, for a couple days.
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle on a well-floured surface until it is about ¼-inch thick.
Brush the surface of the dough with the melted butter.
Spread the strawberry preserves on top of the butter, leaving a small border around the edges of the dough.
Top with an even layer of the thinly sliced strawberries.
Carefully loosen the dough from the surface on one long edge of the rectangle. Slowly and carefully roll the dough into a tight log. Pinch the seam closed and then gently even out the log so it is the same diameter from end to end. Slice the log in half and then cut each half evenly into thirds. You should now have six pieces of the log. Slice each piece in half to make 12 cinnamon rolls. This will be messy - it’s OK! Once everything bakes, everything will look pretty again.
Arrange the rolls in a large buttered baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap.
At this point, you can place the baking dish in the fridge for up to 16 hours to make the next day. Or, you can proceed with allowing them to rise for another hour at room temperature. If keeping in the fridge, remove one hour before you are ready to bake and allow them to double in size again.
Bake the rolls in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown on top.
Beat the butter and cream cheese together in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) until fluffy, creamy, and well combined.
Add the vanilla bean paste and lemon zest and mix to incorporate.
Add half of the powdered sugar and beat to combine. Add the remaining sugar and beat until fully incorporated and the mixture is fluffy and smooth.
Beat in the heavy cream last and mix until the frosting is very fluffy.
Generously frost the strawberry rolls with the frosting while they’re still warm.