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Lemon Cardamom Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

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Prep Time - 30mins
Cook Time - 30mins



2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup buttermilk, warmed to 100 degrees
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cardamom
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 to 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface

1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon cardamom
Pinch kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft, plus more for the parchment paper

6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus more as needed

Lemon Cardamom Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing


1. Make the dough: Combine the yeast, buttermilk and 1 tablespoon sugar and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the butter, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, lemon zest, salt and cardamom to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low to combine. Add the eggs and buttermilk mixture, and stir until combined.

3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add 4 cups of the flour and stir until all of the flour is moistened. Switch to the dough hook, and mix for 5 more minutes. The dough will be soft and billowy, and it will stick to the bottom of the bowl. Add more flour if the dough seems very, very soft.

4. Transfer the dough to a fresh, lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough to coat it with oil, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Alternately, refrigerate the dough before rising for up to 24 hours and proceed with the recipe as written. The rolls may need a slightly longer second rise.

5. Make the filling: Combine the sugar, lemon zest, cardamom and a pinch of salt. Use your fingers to rub the lemon zest into the sugar.

6. Assemble the rolls: Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and butter the pan and paper. Gently deflate the dough by folding it over itself a few times in the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat or roll it into a rectangle about 12-by-16-inches and 1/4-inch thick. Gently spread the soft butter over the dough, and sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the top. Roll the dough into a tight log and use a serrated knife or length of floss to cut the log into 12 even pieces.

7. Place the rolls into the prepared pan, cover, and let rise again until doubled in size, about 1 hour. You can also refrigerate the rolls before the second rise for up to 24 hours, if you’d like to bake them later. Let the rolls rise at room temperature until doubled in size before baking.

8. Finish the rolls: Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the rolls are golden and cooked through. While the rolls are baking, make the icing: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. The icing should be quite thick, but spreadable. Add a little more lemon juice if necessary.

9. Let the rolls cool for about 5 minutes, then spread the icing over the top. Enjoy warm.

Yields: 12 large rolls


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