After this post I think I’m finally done cramming as many strawberry recipes as I can into one month. This was a killer strawberry season in Maryland and it brought me back to my childhood in the best way. Growing up in beautiful Washington state I always lived the good life when it came to berries. Out east it can be hit and miss. Fortunately, I had more strawberries the past couple weeks than I knew what to do with, and the extra mushy ones ended up going into strawberry lemonade smoothies, and now, these beautiful strawberry sweet rolls.
Truly, I’m ready to shut up now about strawberries until 2015. I’m going to Montana during huckleberry season, though, so I expect that at least one more type of berry will make an appearance. I’ll try to space it out a little better than I have been, though…
So back to the strawberry sweet rolls! It’s been a while since I shared a yeast bread, particularly a dessert recipe. I have a great whole grain monkey bread recipe that can even be made oil-free, but it certainly has a ‘hearty’ taste to it and that would be a little much for the delicate sweetness of these berries. I also wanted to make a biscuit dough that doesn’t use silken tofu, to be more inclusive of people with soy allergies. The fluffiness in these sweet rolls comes from mashed banana, and grapeseed oil (you can also substitute another oil) and coconut milk help the dough stay supple. Finally, I used a blend of whole wheat and all-purpose flour to get some of the nutrition without overpowering the berries. Some experimentation with gluten-free, vegan biscuit dough has gone on behind the scenes. They unfortunately aren’t ready for the spotlight just yet.
If I had to choose a favorite thing about these rolls (and there’s a lot to love), it would be the hints of lemon flavor that are incorporated throughout. This glaze is drool-worthy. It doesn’t have that pastel color to it like classic cinnamon rolls, but to me that’s a non-issue since it tastes amazing and is the perfect accompaniment to the strawberries.
And one last thing. I made a colossal mess when I was rolling these, as the juices seeped out of the strawberries. Even if I had been more patient with allowing the ground flaxseeds to absorb the liquid, I’m sure a little bit still would have escaped. Making the rolls on parchment paper will allow you to salvage the extra liquid and pour it into the bottom of the baking dish for some tasty caramelization underneath. Bon appetit!
- ½ c. coconut milk, warmed (substitute other nondairy milk + an extra tsp. of oil)
- 1/3 c. coconut sugar (substitute brown sugar)
- scant tb active dry yeast
- 1 and ¼ c. whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 c. AP flour plus more for working with the dough
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tb. grapeseed oil (substitute coconut oil, organic canola oil, or another neutral oil)
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 1 tb. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 c. chopped fresh strawberries
- 3 tb. brown rice syrup (substitute agave nectar or 2 tb. of maple syrup)
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- ½ tb. ground flax
- 1 tb. cornstarch
- pinch salt
- ¼ c. brown rice syrup
- 1 tb. lemon juice
- 2 tb. nondairy milk
- pinch salt
- Stir the coconut sugar and yeast into the warm coconut milk to proof it. Watch for it to get frothy to be sure that the yeast is working.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flours and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the proofed yeast mixture, then add the grapeseed oil, mashed banana, and lemon juice and zest.
- Stir with a fork until everything is combined into a smooth dough. Transfer to a floured surface (or get out your Kitchenaid mixer), and knead the dough for 8-10 minutes, incorporating more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and the gluten is fully formed. It should be well-shaped and springy to the touch, but still a little tacky (moist).
- Cover the dough with a damp towel and place somewhere warm for 60-90 minutes, or until approximately doubled in size. (You can also cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in the refrigerator for several hours).
- Punch down the dough and transfer it back onto a large, floured piece of parchment paper, and roll it out into a rectangular shape, approximately 10 by 12 inches. Keep it covered with the damp towel while you prepare the filling. You don't need to do the parchment paper in this step, but it will help to contain the mess. Up to you.
- Toss together the chopped strawberries, brown rice syrup, lemon zest, and vanilla. Add the flax, cornstarch, and salt, and mix to combine evenly.
- Let the filling rest for a few minutes so that the flax and cornstarch mixture can absorb some moisture from the berries.
- Spread the strawberry filling evenly onto the rectangle of dough, and gently roll the dough lengthwise into a log. Cut the log into ~10 equal-width pieces.
- Prepare a baking dish lined with parchment paper. I used an 8x8 square dish; for best results it needs to be small enough that when the rolls increase in size by 50%, they will meet each other at the edges.
- Any strawberry liquid that has escaped at this point can be drizzled into the bottom of the baking dish. Place the cut and shaped rolls into the dish. Cover with a damp towel again, and let rise in a warm place for another 60-90 minutes, or until they have risen to fill the baking dish.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the rolls for 20-30 minutes, or until they are cooked through and have turned golden brown. If they start to brown too much, cover them with foil. Let cool.
- Add the brown rice syrup, lemon juice, and milk to a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it go for another few minutes, until the mixture has reduced somewhat (this is not an exact science - it is a pseudo-caramel. It will be delicious no matter what!)
- Stir in the salt and remove from the heat. Let the glaze cool for a few minutes before drizzling it over the strawberry sweet rolls.