Mother’s Day 2012 – Lemon Sugar Sticky Rolls

As I was letting the dough rise (the recipe uses yeast) my mother came over and said, “Oh, I hate lemons you know.” She failed to mention that when I was buying 6 lemons Friday. I was really nervous because if anything, the rolls would taste lemony. It turned out fine because she ate four, proclaiming that these are “soooo delicious” while grabbing for another. They do taste really good. They are tart with all the lemon, but not overpoweringly sweet. The lemon cream cheese glaze was something I could live without because for me it seemed to take away from the dough. Here is my slightly adapted recipe:

Slightly Adapted From: Shutterbean

Yields: About 8 huge rolls for me

What you will need in the order of needing them:

Lemon Sticky Roll Dough
1 envelope (0.25 ounces, or 2 1/2 teaspoons) yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 lemons, zested
2 eggs

Lemon Sugar Filling
1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
2 zested & juiced lemons
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, softened

Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup powdered sugar
1 lemon, zested

In a bowl, pour the yeast over the warm water and let it sit for a few minutes. With a wooden spoon, stir in the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, and one cup of the flour. Stir in the salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Stir in the eggs and enough of the remaining flour to create a soft and sticky dough.

Move the dough to a lightly floured area. Knead for five minutes.

How to knead 

Spray a bowl lightly with vegetable oil. Place smooth, round dough in the bowl. Flip the dough softly over, keeping the shape. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise until nearly doubled – about an hour.

In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the nutmeg. Add the lemon zest and stir with a fork until combined. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon.

Lightly grease a 13×9 inch baking dish with baking spray or butter. On a lightly floured surface, softly deflate the dough out into a large yet still thick rectangle — about 10×15 inches. Spread evenly with the softened butter , then pour and spread the lemon-sugar mixture over top. It should dissolve a little. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Cut the long dough roll into 8 even rolls and place them in the prepared baking dish.

Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for an hour.


Refrigerate your rolls by covering the whole dish with plastic wrap up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake them, take them out of the fridge and let them rise for an hour. 

Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the risen rolls in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. While the rolls are baking, make the glaze. In a small food processor or with a bowl and a whisk, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and blend until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy. It should look like a slightly thick liquid. 

When the rolls are done, smear them with the cream cheese glaze soon, and sprinkle the zest of 1 additional lemon on the tops. Serve warm. Yummmm. 


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