3 tbsp lemon zest (I also added a touch of orange zest)
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Mix together 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
In the microwave or over the stove, heat the milk and butter until the butter is melted. Remove the pan from the stove if using that method and add the water and stir. Let it cool for 1 minute.
Add the vanilla extract.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each.
Add the remaining 3/4 cup flour and mix until the dough is smooth yet sticky and loose.
Using some extra flour, sprinkle some over a work surface and slightly knead the dough until it’s no longer sticky, adding an additional 1-2 tbsp of flour if it is extra sticky.
Grease a large bowl, put the dough in there and cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes, the dough will grow in size. (*I like to turn my oven on to low for a few minutes, then turn it off, wait a few minutes and place the dough in there.)
Lemon Sugar Filling
While the dough is rising, combine the sugar and lemon zest until you have a wet sand-like mixture.
Assemble the sweet rolls
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the center of the oven. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
On a lightly floured surface, cut the dough in half, wrapping one half in plastic wrap. With the half you have out, flatten into a rectangle-ish shape long enough to cut the dough into 15-18 pieces, about 3/4 to 1 inch wide, right now it doesn’t matter how tall they are.
Using some flour and a rolling pin, roll each piece to be about 6 inches long and 2.5-3.5 inches wide. They don’t all need to be the exact same size.
Using a pastry brush, spread the 4tbsp of melted butter from the lemon sugar filling over each piece of dough.
Using only half of the lemon sugar filling mixture, sprinkle some on each piece of dough.
To make the sweet rolls, take one piece of dough and lay it so the longest side is parallel to your body. Place 4 more pieces on top (or 5 if you have 18 to start with).
Cut the stack of dough in the middle, resulting in one stack on the left and one on the right (2 sweet rolls total).
Pinch together the edges that are closest to your body, this will be the bottom of the sweet roll.
Place the dough, pinch side down, into the muffin cup. Adjust each layer of dough, pulling them slightly apart, so they aren’t all laying on top of one another.
Repeat this process of stacking, dividing, pinching and reshaping until the dough is gone, including the other half you set aside.
Sprinkle the tops of the rolls with any extra lemon sugar topping.
Bake for 15-19 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let the rolls cool in the pan before removing.
Combine the confectioners sugar, milk and lemon juice in a tall cup. Mix with a fork until its combined. Top each sweet roll with icing and serve warm. You can warm the rolls in the microwave before serving.
If you have a sweet tooth, you’re in the right place! You’ll find indulgent desserts, quick and easy desserts to feed a crowd, plus healthier desserts to satisfy any craving! Married to my best friend, Ryan. Seeking Jesus each day. Cake fanatic. (Read More)
Want our top 10 essential dessert recipes?
Get our favorite classic recipes in your inbox! It's 100% free but we might make you hungry!