Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Apr 20, 2011

Limoncello Breakfast Rolls

Libations used: 3 Tbs Limoncello
Libations left over: Take a few sips to jump start your morning
The Lush Chef's brother came into town last week, and he loves nothing more than ooey gooey breakfast rolls.  If we go somewhere for breakfast and there's a cinnamon roll on the menu, he'll order it with his regular meal and undoubtedly finish it all.  This recipe for Sticky Lemon Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze is a reader favorite on The Kitchn, and reminds me a little of spring.  To give it my Lush Chef twist, I added some Lombardi Cream of Limoncello I got from some random gift bag at an event that I can't remember.  I'm not a Limoncello fan as an apéritif, but baking with it is another story!

Limoncello Breakfast Rolls - serves 12
Dough Ingredients:
  • 3 lemons
  • 1 envelope (.25 oz or 2 1/2 tsp) active yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk, warmed to 100 (it should be warm, but not hot on your wrist)
  • 1/2 unsalted butter, very soft
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
Limoncello Filling Ingredients:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 3 Tbs unsalted butter, very soft
Limoncello & Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

To make the dough:
- Zest and juice the lemons - divide the zest in 3 parts and save the all juice for the sugar mixture and glaze.
- In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warmed milk and let it sit a few minutes.
- With a mixer, stir in the softened butter, sugar, vanilla and 1 cup of flour.
- Stir in the salt, nutmeg, and 1 part of the lemon zest.
- Stir in the eggs and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, yet sticky dough - I used about 3 1/4 cups of flour.
- Knead for about 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, pliable, and stretchy.  Check out that Kitchn link if you're not used to dealing with this kind of dough - they have more lengthy instructions & a video.
- Lightly coat the dough with a little vegetable oil, cover in plastic wrap and a towel and let the dough rise until it nearly doubles (about 1 hour).

To make the filling:
- In a small bowl, mix the sugar, nutmeg and ginger.
- Work in 1 part of the lemon zest with your fingers, until the sugar resembles soft sand.
- Slowly add the Limoncello in until it forms a wet, clumpy mixture - you may need to use a little more or a little less.  If it's too wet, it won't spread easily on the dough.  I also added in just a touch of fresh lemon juice to get that tartness.

To assemble the rolls:
- Lightly grease a 13x9 inch baking dish with baking spray or butter - I split it up in two baking dishes, because I wanted to use these colorful Le Creuset baking dishes I got for my birthday.
- On a floured surface, pat the dough out into a large and thick 10x15 inch rectangle.
- Spread the 3 Tbs of butter evenly over the dough, then spread the limoncello-sugar mixture over top.
- Roll the dough tightly, starting from the top, long end.  You may need to stretch and pull it a little as you roll it to keep the sugar mixture inside.
- Cut the dough roll into 12 even rolls, and place each with a cut side up in the baking dishes.
- Cover the rolls with a towel and let them rise for an hour in the fridge, or until puffy and nearly doubled.  Or, you can put them in the fridge overnight (up to 24 hours), covered tightly with plastic wrap.
- When ready to bake the rolls, remove the dishes from the fridge and let them rise for an hour.
- Heat the oven to 350 and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the temperature on a center roll reads 190.

To make the frosting:
- While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze.  With a mixer or food processor, whip the softened cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Add about 1 Tbs Limoncello and 2 1/2 Tbs fresh lemon juice.
- Add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth and creamy.  You may need to adjust levels with the limoncello and lemon juice so that you get the right texture - add more liquid if too thick and more powdered sugar if too runny.  I like my frosting thick, but still runny enough to easily spoon over the rolls.

To finish the rolls:
- When the rolls are done, smear on that delicious glaze and sprinkle the remaining lemon zest to garnish.
- Let the rolls cool for about 10 minutes before serving them warm.
- Serve with a shot of Limoncello, if you like!