a sweet start

Some mornings, you need a bowl of pure health to face the day. Other mornings, you need something a little more comforting, a little sweetness, maybe, with just a touch of tangy. For those mornings, when the world is giving you lemons, I suggest you make meyer lemon rosemary sticky buns (I couldn’t resist!).

A note about meyer lemons: you may wonder how they differ from your regular, run-of-the-mill lemon. I wondered, too. Most significantly, meyer lemons are smaller, sweeter and less acidic than the other kind. However, you can successfully substitute regular lemons for meyer in any recipe, including this one, or vice versa. (For more fun citrus facts, click here!)

meyer lemon rosemary sticky buns
adapted from Eats Well With Others 

for the dough:
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm milk, divided
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour, plus more for flouring
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 meyer lemons, zested
2 eggs

for the filling:
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 meyer lemons, zested
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter at room temperature

for the glaze:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
juice of one meyer lemon
1 cup confectioner’s sugar

First, mix the yeast with 1/4 cup warm milk and let sit for a few minutes. While it’s sitting, zest a couple lemons (warning: if you’re making this recipe, there is a lot of zesting in your future.)

Next, combine the yeast/milk mixture, the remaining milk, butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, lemon zest, and one cup of flour and mix briefly.

Add the eggs and 2 to 2 1/2 cups flour and combine to make a soft, sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. While we’re here, I’d like to observe that kneading dough might be as meditative as cooking gets. If I could start every morning kneading dough, I’m sure I would be totally zen all the time.

Lightly grease a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in  warm spot and let rise for about an hour, or until nearly doubled. (Note: my dough didn’t really double, or even get very close, but the buns still rose enough in the oven and turned out lovely.)

While you wait, let’s make the filling. You guessed it: more zesting and also some mincing of the rosemary. Mix the sugar  and nutmeg, then work in the zest and rosemary with your fingers. Stir in two tablespoons of lemon juice to finish.

Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface. Your goal is to shape the dough into a rectangle approximately 10×15 inches. (I used a ruler because, like my 7th grade math teacher would say: close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.) (Kidding — you can definitely eyeball this one.) (But I did use a ruler.)

Now add the good stuff. Spread the dough evenly with the softened butter, then spread the lemon-sugar filling mixture over top.

Roll the dough up tightly and pinch at the end to seal the seam. Slice the dough into 12 even rolls and place them, cut side up, in the prepared baking dish.

Cover rolls with a towel and let rise for an hour. Or, if it’s time for you to get on with your day, you could refrigerate the rolls at this point and when you’re ready to bake them–perhaps the following morning–let them rise for an hour first. I did this. Worked great.

Bake for 25-35 minutes at 350 F.

While the rolls are baking, make the glaze. First, whip the cream cheese until light and fluffy, then add the lemon juice and blend. Mix in powdered sugar. You want this glaze smooth as can be.

When the rolls have finished baking, smother them with glaze and serve warm to the people you love most.

A word to the wise: you’ve got to like lemon and sugar to like these sticky buns. But who doesn’t like lemon and sugar? Have a wonderful morning!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Carol Hanko says:

    Good Morning Clarie – the rolls look SO yummy! You can make them for me ANYTIME!!

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