Aaagh!! It looks like I will be making yet another batch of lemon buns! Overcooked and under salted! So much potential unfulfilled! The pendulum swung too far the other way this time. Contestant #3 seemed like it was going to top them both but fell short. These were good but overcooking them definitely took away from what they could have been. Also, I used unsalted butter like the recipe called for but there wasn’t enough salt to bring out the flavors. These are also not as sweet as the others. I couldn’t even taste the nutmeg. Lots of lemon flavor. The dough probably had too much flour also. The dough didn’t have a great flavor. The texture was good but I didn’t like the browned edges. Once I master this, I don’t think I will want to eat another lemon sticky roll for a long time but I need to get it right. Maybe one more try after this. Contestant #4 is going to be a fusion of everything I have learned so far. Like I always say, “Failure is my teacher!” Fingers crossed for next time! I am going to nail it!
For the dough:
2½ teaspoons (1 envelope or ¼ ounce) active yeast
¾ cup milk, warmed to about 100°F, warm but not hot on the inside of your wrist
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for an hour
2 large eggs
¼ cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 lemon, zested
4½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
For the sticky lemon filling:
¾ cup sugar
1 lemon, zested
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, very soft
⅛ teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
¼ cup lemon juice, from 2 lemons
½ cup lemon curd
For the lemon cream cheese glaze:
1 lemon, zested and juiced
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
For the dough:
Sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk. Let it sit for five minutes (you want it to look foamy) On low speed, mix the softened butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and 1 cup of the flour into the milk mixture. Add in the salt and nutmeg. Quickly add in the remaining flour to make a soft yet sticky dough. Switch to the dough hook and knead at low speed for about 5 minutes You want the dough to be smooth, pliable, and stretchy. In a lightly greased bowl put the dough in. Cover with a light layer of oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel Let the dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled.
Make the sticky lemon filling:
Clean your stand mixer. Add the sugar and lemon and mix for 15-20 seconds just to combine the two and bruise the lemon zest. Add the butter and nutmeg and whip until thick and creamy. Slowly add the lemon juice and whip until fully combined.
Assemble the rolls:
You will do this twice: Butter a 13×9-inch baking dish. On a floured surface, roll half of the dough into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle. Spread the with half the lemon curd. Then layer on half of the sticky lemon filling. Roll the dough up tightly, moving from one end to the other and pulling tight as you go. Using a thread, wrap the thread around the dough in 1 inch to 1½ inch increments, loop and pull (just like the first step in tying a shoelace) Cut the long dough roll into 12 even rolls and place each in the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for 1 hour or until puffy and doubled. Bake the rolls: Heat the oven to 350°F. Place the risen rolls in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until lightly browned.
Make the glaze:
While your rolls are baking, whip the lemon juice, lemon zest and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy. Glaze the rolls: Let the rolls rest for a good 10-15 minutes. Drizzle the glaze over the rolls. Add more zest if you would like. Making it ahead? If you want to make these the day before, refrigerate the rolls before the final rise. Let them rise for an hour in the morning before baking.