Despite everything you’ve ever been told, it doesn’t take much to impress a woman, especially after she has become a mother. It’s the little things that ultimately catch her eye, like swept floors, an empty dishwasher, and neatly folded laundry. But if you think doing your chores isn’t enough for your Mother’s Day celebration and you really want to blow mom away this year, forget the charm bracelet and macaroni portraits, it’s all about breakfast in bed!
Say it out loud — strawberry lemon brioche rolls with cream cheese frosting. Served warm with a big cup of dark French roast coffee and a hefty glass of mimosa, sans OJ, this breakfast is sure to put mom in a proper food coma so you can get to work scrubbing the bathroom floor.
This recipe offers the perfect balance between sweet and tart and lacks the density that’s often a characteristic of other sweet rolls. It’s also very versatile, so if strawberries aren’t your mom’s favorite then raspberries and blueberries are excellent substitutes.
If at first this recipe sounds intimidating, then good. Baking is a terrifying process and it’s a miracle we’re even able to get bags of bread at the store. But if you really love your mother, your wife, the goddess in your life, you’ll ignore these feelings of doubt and trust that the process will work in your favor. I even forgot to add the eggs into my dough the first time I baked them and they still turned out amazing. These rolls are difficult to mess up.
First and foremost, before getting started keep in mind that timing is the most important factor when executing the perfect breakfast-in-bed operation. To make these rolls you’ll need part of the evening before Mother’s Day to prep the dough and assemble the rolls. If you wait to make these the day of, then mom probably won’t be eating breakfast until noon. But maybe that’s a good thing.
Strawberry Lemon Brioche Rolls
3½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
¾ cup warm milk (about 30-40 seconds in microwave)
2 tablespoons honey
3 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup (1 stick) of salted butter, melted
2 to 3 tablespoon of lemon zest (2 to 3 lemons)
¾ cup of granulated sugar
6 tablespoons of salted butter, softened plus more for greasing pan
4 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries (I used 3 cups of frozen and 1 cup of fresh)
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick of salted butter, softened
8 ounces of cream cheese (softened)
1½ teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
Start the Day Before
In a mixer bowl combine 3½ cups of flour, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, yeast, warmed milk, honey, eggs, melted butter and 1 tablespoon of lemon zest. With dough hook attachment mix ingredients for 4 to 5 minutes, occasionally stopping the mixer to scrape side of bowl. The consistency of the dough should be sticky but not wet; add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until dough reaches this consistency.
After all dough is mixed thoroughly, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for an hour or until it doubles in size.
In a small bowl mix the ¾ cup of granulated sugar and remaining lemon zest. Prepare a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish by greasing it with butter. If you’re using frozen berries, allow them to thaw and drain the excess juice.
When the dough has doubled in size, lightly dust your work surface with flour and turn out the dough. No need to knead, just use a rolling pin to stretch it out into a 10-inch by 16-inch rectangle.
Take the 6 tablespoons of softened butter (15 seconds in the microwave gets it just right) and spread it onto the surface of the dough with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the lemon zest sugar mix onto the surface and press gently into the butter. Sprinkle the 3 cups of berries.
After your filling has been liberally applied to the dough, it’s time to roll. Take it slow and keep it tight along the 16-inch edge. Using a sharp knife, divide the log into 12 to 15 even pieces. Place each piece into the greased pan. The rolls will be a little slimy and want to fall apart, but don’t worry, once they’re in the pan they will hold their form. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. Leave a stick of butter out of the fridge for the frosting in the morning.
Make sure all the dishes are done before you go to bed.
In the morning take the pan of rolls out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 375. Bake rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. While the rolls bake, make the frosting.
In the mixer with the whisk attached, cream the stick of butter you left out overnight. You may have to stop the mixer a few times to scrape the sides of the bowl. After a few minutes of beating the butter, add the 8 ounces of cream cheese (note: take the cream cheese out of the fridge the same time as the rolls to let it soften). Continue mixing and scraping the bowl until the cream cheese and butter are a creamy consistency. It’s very important to get it as creamy as possible.
With the mixer running, add the vanilla extract and slowly spoon in the sifted powdered sugar. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides when the powdered sugar builds up.
After the rolls are finished baking, let them sit for 15 minutes to cool before spreading the frosting. Add fresh berries on the top and serve to mom right away! (Don’t forget the mimosa.)
This recipe is an adaptation based on “Raspberry Lemon Brioche Rolls with Whipped Ricotta Cream” published on the blog halfbakedharvest.com
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