Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lemon Rolls & Recipe Storage Advice

Before I extol the virtues of anything tart, my mom wanted me to share her recipe storage solution. I personally keep most of my recipes on my computer, although I’m thinking that Henry II* is probably not so keen on being close to liquids and powders. My mom, however, prints those suckers out. She then proceeds to put them in plastic sheet protectors, and then in binders organized in a way that only makes sense to her. The best thing about this is that you can pull the plasticized recipe out and set it next to your cooking mess (and I am messy in the kitchen) and you don’t have to worry about ruining it or a book or your precious computer.

On to good stuff. I’m still searching for that perfect lemon bar. I find most of the recipes make a dry crust akin to a pre-bought pie shell. I also haven’t found one that really packs the lemon punch. This makes me sad because I really enjoy sour things. I even used to be one of those kids who could pop Warheads all day until my tongue turned numb. So when I saw this recipe at The Kitchn I knew I had to try it. The recipe was met with mixed reviews in my household. My parents thought the lemon was a little overwhelming, but I delighted in the tartness. My brother, ever the talker, merely said they were good.

My only disappointment was with the lemon filling—it wasn’t gooey enough. I’ve edited the recipe to fix that problem, as it really had to do with filling escapism as I rolled the thing up. I also think the buns should cool down considerably before serving (30 minutes, at least), otherwise the dough hasn’t properly settled and has an odd texture. Either way, I’d probably make this again when I crave the lemon. That is, unless I have found a lemon bar recipe that meets my standards.

*Henry II is the name of my Macbook Pro. Yes, I name my laptops. My first one was Lucy. The second was Dora. The third one, my first Mac, was Henry. When Apple replaced Henry the Powerbook with the MBP, I decided to name it Henry II. I found the name fitting, as the King o’ England was very much into legal reform, including juries and creating magistrate courts. That, my friends, is your legal history lesson for the day.

Lemon Roll Dough
1 envelope (0.25 ounces, or 2 1/2 teaspoons) yeast

3/4 cup milk, warmed to about 100°F
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
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

Sticky Lemon Filling

1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
2 lemons, zested and the juice of 1 of them (you will use the juice of the second one in the glaze)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft

Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
Juice of 1 lemon (from the second lemon above)
1 cup powdered sugar

You should end up with 2 naked lemons. We juice and freeze for later recipes that only require lemon juice.

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit for a couple minutes. With the mixer paddle, 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 make a soft yet sticky dough (I ended up only needing 4 cups of flour in total, but it varies depending on your altitude and the moisture in the air).

2. Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and pliable. You can also knead on a surface at this point. Be sure to flour your surface and your hands, as it will be sticky at first. It’s okay if some dough sticks to your hands. Messy hands are part of baking with yeast.

3. Spray 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 an hour. If you don’t know where to put it, try your oven with the oven light on.

4. 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. Note: THIS is where the filling issues came to light. Make sure it is more of a paste—something that can be spread out without leaking everywhere. You may not need all of the juice of 1 lemon.

5. 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 top. Roll the dough up tightly, starting from the top long end. Cut the long dough roll into 12 even rolls, and place them, cut side up, in the prepared baking dish. Note: the first thing I ever made with yeast were cinnamon rolls and I had issues rolling them up tight. See this video on how to start it up to make your rolling easier.

6. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap 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 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.)

7. 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.

8. While the rolls are baking, whip the cream cheese and stir in the reserved lemon juice. Slowly whip in the powdered sugar. When the rolls are out of the oven, pour the glaze while still warm. Let cool for 30 minutes (they should still be warm) and eat away. Also good at room temperature.


sadaf said...

oh this look great and these rolls look very soft. I will try this thanks for the recipe.

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