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Pucker Up for Another Home Cooking Recipe Winner


Well, this is embarrassing. Last week we only shared two of our three winners for the NCJ Home Cooking Recipe Contest. Were we a little distracted by Tiffany Bullman's cream puffs? Perhaps. Did we want to keep Cheri Swan's recipe for Meyer lemon sweet rolls for ourselves? Maybe. But our sponsor Eureka Natural Foods chose those zesty breakfast treats as a winner and so here is the recipe for all the world to make at home. Here's hoping you're willing to share, too.

Cheri Swan's Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Cheri Swan's Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls.

Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting by Cheri Swan

A refreshing change from cinnamon rolls. Make sure to use Meyer lemons because other lemons make it bitter.


For the tangzhong:

½ cup whole milk
3 tablespoons flour

For the dough:

2/3 cup whole milk, cold
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

For the filling:

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/16 teaspoon (a pinch) salt
1 ½ tablespoons of melted butter

For the cream cheese frosting:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 ½ cups sifted confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated Meyer lemon zest

To make the tangzhong:

Combine the milk and flour in a small saucepan and whisk until no lumps remain. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring regularly, until thick and paste-like (the spoon or spatula should leave lines on the bottom of the pan). This should take 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the strength of your burner. Remove from heat and pour/scrape the tangzhong into the bowl of your stand mixer.

To make the dough:

Add the dough ingredients to the mixing bowl in the order listed above. (The heat from the tangzhong will help to warm the cold milk.)

Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix on low speed to bring the dough together. Next, knead the dough until it's smooth, elastic and tacky. This will take up to 10 to 12 minutes on medium-low speed.

Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly greased bowl and cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until puffy but not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. TIP: If you have a cooler kitchen, turn on the oven light and place your bowl in the oven to rise with the light on. This will make a slightly warmer place without a draft.

To make the filling:

While the dough is rising, put the filling ingredients, reserving 1 tablespoon lemon juice, into a medium bowl, stirring until the mixture is the texture of damp sand. Add up to 1 tablespoon of reserved lemon juice as needed. Set aside.

Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, or line it with parchment paper. 

Cheri Swan's Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Cheri Swan's Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls.

To assemble the rolls:

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and press it into a 12-by- 14-inch rectangle that's about ½ inch thick. For evenly shaped rolls, try to pat the dough into an actual rectangle with corners, rather than an oval. 

Sprinkle the filling over the dough, covering all but a ½-inch strip along one long side. Starting with the filling-covered long side, roll the dough into a log.

Score the dough lightly, marking 12 equal pieces. Cut the dough at the score marks. TIP: Unflavored dental floss will give you the cleanest cut. Pull off a long piece of floss, loop it underneath the log at the score mark and pull the ends in opposite directions to cut the dough. Repeat until you've cut all of the rolls. If you don't have dental floss use a sharp knife. 

Place the rolls onto the prepared 9-by-13-inch baking pan. You could also use 2 round 9-inch pans or 2 square 8-inch pans.

Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap and let them rise for 30 to 60 minutes (depending on the warmth of your kitchen). The rolls should be puffy and the dough shouldn't bounce back immediately when gently pressed.

About 20 minutes before you're ready to bake, position a rack in the top third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 F.

Bake the rolls for 13 to 16 minutes, until they're a light golden brown and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of one roll reads 190 F.

Remove rolls from the oven, place the pan on a rack, and brush the hot rolls with 1 ½ tablespoons of melted butter. This helps keep the rolls moist and not turn hard after they cool. Let the rolls cool for 10 to 15 minutes before icing.

To make the icing:

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, Meyer lemon juice and zest. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.

Ice the rolls and serve immediately. If you're planning to serve the rolls later, wait to ice them until just before serving. Store icing at room temperature, tightly covered, until you're ready to use it.


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