These Strawberry Sweet Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing are the perfect make ahead breakfast or brunch recipe, especially for a crowd.
You can make them way ahead to freeze, or just refrigerate overnight. Light and fluffy dough, warm strawberry jam and creamy vanilla icing make them a delicious treat!
Is it weird to crave something you’ve never eaten before? Has that ever happened to you?
For some reason I’ve been craving “sweet rolls”. Like cinnamon rolls, almost, but with a really soft, fluffy dough, and more of a fruity filling. I really love pastries, soft breads, and really anything that goes well with a cup of black coffee.
I’ve been doing a bit of baking lately and I played around until I had a fluffy, soft dough that I liked. First I tried a marmalade and cream cheese filling, and while it was okay, it wasn’t really what I was going for.
Then I tried strawberry jam and it was lovely. I should have known, since I have SUCH a weakness for jam-filled cookies. So strawberry sweet rolls it is! With a little dollop of delicious cream cheese icing!
So, here’s the thing about baking. I like to bake, but I’m not some sort of amazing professional baker. If any of my professional baker friends read this post, I really hope they’ll suspend their judgement of me. I don’t know if I’m following conventional baking rules. I hope we can still be friends!
Really, I’m much more of a cook, and in cooking you can be lazy and cut corners and do things your own way, and still have it turn out amazing. Baking is much more structured, and when you fly by the seat of your pants sometimes it works out and sometimes… not so much.
Sweet Roll Options
Anyway, all I can tell you is that this recipe works and it’s delicious! It’s pretty easy to make and I love that you can MAKE IT AHEAD OF TIME. You can:
1. Make it and bake it the same day
2. Make the rolls, refrigerate them, then rise and bake the next day.
3. Make the rolls, FREEZE them, then thaw, rise and bake them another day!
That’s a lot of flexibility, friends, which I think is perfect for this crazy busy life we all seem to live!
Personally, I’m going to make a batch (they are BIG batches – 24 rolls) and stash them in my freezer in smaller portions. I’ll pull one out on Christmas eve and bake it Christmas morning for an easy and delicious breakfast!
PS – As I’m writing this on a dark December morning, I just got a leftover strawberry sweet roll out of the fridge, mircrowaved it for 30 seconds and munched on it with a coffee. Yup! Still delicious! 🙂
Strawberry Sweet Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing -Step-by-Step Instructions
Ingredients for Strawberry Sweet Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing
In a large bowl, combine 5 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons of INSTANT yeast and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir together and set aside.
In a small measuring cup, put 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Add enough milk to reach 1 cup. Set aside to let milk curdle (it’s like using buttermilk, except you don’t have to wonder what you’ll do with the rest of the carton).
Melt 1/2 cup of butter in the microwave. Mix 1/2 cup of sugar into it. Microwave milk mixture from above and then add it to the butter/sugar and whisk well. Crack two eggs into the mixture and whisk again.
Make sure wet mix is lukewarm (yeast likes warm liquid – not hot or cold) and dump it into the dry bowl. Stir just enough to combine it.
Then fill a small cup with WARM water and slowly add enough to the bowl to make the dough nice and sticky and well combined (but not overly wet). I used just under 1 cup (but this can vary with time of year, humidity and your flour).
Cover dough and set it in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes. I like to cover the bowl with stretch wrap and put it in my oven with just the light on (the oven is not on – just the light).
After the rise time, sprinkle some flour on your counter and put the dough on it.
Add a little flour to stop it from sticking and using your hands, gently shape it out into a large rectangle. Then use a rolling pin to thin out the dough and make the rectangle bigger.
The thicker the dough is, the more doughy the end result will be.
Spread 1-1.5 cups of strawberry jam on the dough. In this batch I used 1 cup and wished I had used a little more.
Gently roll up the log of dough. Use flour to help stop the sticking. Then use a very sharp, serrated knife (or unflavored dental floss) to slice the rolls. I like to flour my knife between slices too (and wipe off the jam).
Grease a baking dish or freezer pan. Line up rolls in a the pan. If you’re baking them right away, put them back in a warm place for another 25 minutes while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Then bake for 25 minutes while you make the icing.
If you want to FREEZE the rolls, now’s the time. Wrap them up well and freeze until a few hours before you want to eat them – then take them out to thaw at room temperature and bake as described above.
If you want to refrigerate the rolls overnight you can do that too. Just wrap them up at pop them in the fridge, then take them out to warm up and rise before baking.
Cream 4 oz (half a block) of cream cheese. Add 1/4 cup icing sugar, 1/4 cup milk and 1 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
Use a mixer to combine until it’s nice and creamy.
If you want a really bright red jam you can add a little extra to the top of the rolls when they’re done baking. Dollop a teaspoonful of icing onto each strawberry sweet roll.
Strawberry Sweet Rolls with Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing
For the rolls
- 5 cups flour
- 2 tbsp INSTANT yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 cup milk (just under 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1.5 cups strawberry jam
- 1 cup WARM water
For the icing
- 4 oz cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Set aside.
- Put vinegar in a measuring cup. Add milk until it reaches the 1 cup mark. Set aside to let milk curdle.
- Melt butter in a bowl in the microwave. Add sugar and mix well. Then microwave milk mixture for 1 minute and stir well. Add it to butter. Add two eggs and whisk well to combine. Test to make sure it's not too hot or too cold (you're just looking for warm). Then dump into the dry mixture.
- Mix lightly, then fill your measuring cup with 1 cup of WARM water. Slowly add it to the dough, stirring lightly until the dough comes together into a sticky ball. This too almost 1 cup for me but it can vary. Don't overmix.
- Cover dough and set it in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes. I like to put the light on inside the oven and put it in there.
- After the rise time, sprinkle some flour on the counter and pull out the dough. Sprinkle with a bit more flour and pat out into a large rectangle. Then use a rolling pin to make the rectangle larger and the dough thinner.
- Spread dough with strawberry jam. More jam tastes better, but make sure you can roll the dough without it oozing too much. Roll dough up. Use a sharp serrated knife or unflavoured dental floss to slice it into rolls.
- Grease a baking dish or freezer pan. Put rolls into the dish. If you're baking right away, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set dish in a warm place to rise for another 25 minutes. If you want to freeze, wrap it tightly, freeze and thaw on the counter for a few hours before baking. You can also wrap the rolls and refrigerate them overnight, then let warm up/rise on the counter before baking. Whenever you're ready, bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- While rolls are baking, use a mixer to combine the icing ingredients until smooth. Spoon onto warm rolls.
- Enjoy! 🙂
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