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Twelve strawberry rolls in a baking pan, topped with cream cheese frosting.

Strawberry Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Heather Smoke
A recipe for soft, fluffy strawberry cinnamon rolls, filled with homemade strawberry jam, and topped with cream cheese frosting.

All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet.

Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Inactive Time 4 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 15 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12

Equipment

  • Stand Mixer with Dough Hook
  • Electric Mixer (Stand or Hand-Held)

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, divided
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3 ¼ cups bread flour, spooned and leveled, divided
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 ¼ tsp instant or rapid rise yeast (1 packet)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract, optional
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream, for pouring over the rolls before baking

Strawberry Jam

  • 1 lb strawberries, hulled, washed and quartered
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp classic powdered pectin
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp unsalted butter

Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract, optional
  • 2-3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup strawberry jam

Instructions
 

Dough

  • Melt 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the buttermilk and stir. Warm the mixture just until it reaches between 110-115 degrees F.
    If it gets too hot, let it sit for a few minutes until it cools down to the correct temperature. It's important that you check the temperature – if it's too cold, it won't activate the yeast, and if it's too hot, it will kill the yeast.
    Reserve the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and let it soften for spreading over the dough later.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/2 cups of the flour with the sugar, salt, spices and instant yeast.
    When the butter/buttermilk is ready, add it to the bowl along with the eggs, vanilla and almond extracts. Stir together into a rough dough.
  • Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured clean work surface. Knead the dough for about 4-5 minutes, gradually kneading in 1/2 cup more flour to keep it from sticking, until the dough is smooth and springs back when lightly pressed. Altogether, you should only use a total of 3 cups of flour in the dough (reserving the remaining 1/4 cup of flour for rolling out the dough later).
    Rather than kneading by hand, it's very easy to knead in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.
  • Lightly spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Shape the dough into a ball, place in the bowl, and cover tightly with plastic. Set the dough in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
    If your oven has a bread-proofing setting, you can use that to proof your dough. If not, let your oven preheat to the lowest setting, turn the oven off, and then set your dough inside to rise.
  • At this point, you can roll the dough out immediately, but I advise placing the bowl in the refrigerator to chill for 1-2 hours, or overnight. It's much easier to roll out, fill and cut the dough when it's cold.

Strawberry Jam

  • In a large saucepan or stock pot, combine the strawberries and lemon juice.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for about 5-10 minutes, until the strawberries are beginning to break down.  Mash the fruit slightly, or leave it chunky, whichever you like.
  • Sprinkle the pectin over the strawberries and stir it in.  Increase heat to medium/high and stir constantly (while wearing oven mitts to protect against splatter burns), and bring to a boil. 
  • Dump all the sugar in at once. Continue stirring constantly to return to a vigorous boil that can’t be stirred down. Boil hard for 1 minute.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the butter (the fat helps to reduce any foaminess).
  • Pour into a jar and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
  • You can make the jam as much as a week in advance, if you like. You'll get about 2 1/4 cups of jam, and you'll have some leftover after filling the rolls.

Assemble and Bake

  • Line a 9×13 pan with a sheet of parchment paper, or spray with non-stick spray.
  • Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured work surface (using the last remaining 1/4 cup of flour to keep the dough from sticking). Roll your dough out into a rectangle measuring approximately 12×18 inches.
  • Spread the dough with the 4 tablespoons softened butter. Now spread with about 1 cup of the strawberry jam. It can be tempting to add more, but it's difficult to roll the dough up with more jam, or the jam will squish out.
  • Roll up the dough (starting on one of the long sides) into a log. You don't want to roll it too tight, or the jam will squish out. Using a gentle sawing motion with a sharp, non-serrated knife, cut the dough into 12 rolls, or use a piece of unflavored dental floss to cut the rolls. It's okay if things get messy with the jam filling.
  • Place the rolls, cut side up, in the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for 30-40 minutes to puff up a little. When the rolls have puffed just enough that they are just starting to touch each other, they're ready to bake.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, and position a rack in the center of the oven.
  • Warm the cream briefly, just to take the chill off. Pour the cream over the rolls.
  • Bake the rolls on the center oven rack for about 25 minutes, until they appear done in the middle, and they are pale golden brown.

Frosting

  • Use an electric mixer to mix everything (except the jam) until creamy.
  • Cool the rolls for 10 minutes, then spread the frosting on the warm rolls. Add some strawberry jam on top of each, and swirl it into the frosting a little.
  • Serve the rolls right away.

Notes

  • Yeast:  This recipe calls for instant or rapid-rise yeast, which does not require any proofing first, so you can just mix it right into the dough.  If you only have regular active dry yeast, you should proof it first, before adding to the dough.  To do this, heat your butter and buttermilk as instructed, then sprinkle the yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar, over the liquid.  Stir in and let sit until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.  Add to your dough and mix as instructed.
  • Eggs:  Your eggs will be too cold if you use them straight from the fridge, and the chill could prevent your dough from rising.  Let them sit out for about an hour (or place the eggs in a glass of hot water) to warm up to room temperature before adding to your dough.
  • 110-115 Degrees:  It’s very important that you check the temperature of your melted butter and warmed buttermilk.  The amount noted here is not a suggestion; it’s essential to correctly activating your yeast.  Too cold, and the yeast won’t be activated.  Too hot, and it will kill the yeast.
Keyword Cinnamon Rolls, Cream Cheese Frosting, Strawberry
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