When I was a kid, I used to constantly eat fruit. I loved every type of fruit, give me whatever was available and I would happily gobble it down. Not much has changed over the years as I still crave fresh fruit on the daily. One of my absolute favorites other than peaches, persimmons, and figs, are strawberries. Whenever they come in season, you will see boxes and boxes of them in my fridge. It only seemed natural that I create a strawberry dessert to satisfy both my fruit and dessert cravings. Inspired by cinnamon rolls, these strawberry poppy seed cinnamon rolls have quickly climbed the charts as the best summer dessert. With just the right amount of sweetness, these rolls are filled with strawberry preserves and fresh strawberries and then covered with a strawberry cream cheese frosting for the ultimate berry dessert. Go make these now, I urge you.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
You may be looking at the total cooking time for these strawberry poppy seed cinnamon rolls and be thinking, “3 hours?! who has time to make these?!” If it helps at all, 2 hours are spent letting the dough rise so it’s actually not that much active time. Plus, once you make these, you’ll push those doubts away, trust me.Start by making the dough. Unlike other cinnamon roll recipes, we’re incorporating milk and heavy cream to the dough. The fat from both liquids will help develop the softest rolls, making them much better than the standard rolls. Heat the milk and heavy cream until it reaches about 100 degrees F. The quickest method is to use the microwave. Heat in 20-second intervals to avoid overheating the liquids. If it gets too hot, just let it sit and rest. You don’t want the milk and heavy cream to get too hot or it will kill the yeast.
Combine the milk and heavy cream with the yeast and sugar and let it sit until the yeast is activated, about 5 minutes. The mixture won’t be as foamy as it would be if we used water, but the yeast should bloom at least a little. Add the remaining ingredients and knead until a dough forms. The dough will feel a little heavy, but don’t worry. As it proofs, it will rise beautifully.
While the dough is rising, chop up the strawberries for the filling and for the frosting. You will need a total of 3 cups chopped strawberries. Set aside 2 cups and cook the remaining 1 cup with just a dash of water until they have cooked down and softened. Let it cool.
If you forget to leave out the cream cheese and butter beforehand, you can soften it using this handy method I recently discovered. Microwave a bowl with water for 5 minutes. Cut the cream cheese and butter into small chunks, remove the bowl of water and place the two inside the microwave. Close the door and let the residual steam and heat work its magic. Ten minutes later, the butter and cream cheese should be ready. Whip the softened butter and cream cheese until well combined and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cooked strawberries and beat until smooth.Now comes the fun part, making the rolls! The dough has enough fat in it that you don’t need to dust your counter with that much flour. A little sprinkle should do the trick. It’s easier to roll out half of the dough at a time, but if you have a massive counter, go ahead and roll the whole thing! The rectangle doesn’t have to perfect since it’ll be rolled up.
Spread the strawberries, strawberry preserves and poppy seeds in an even layer and roll up the dough. Okay so for the picture, I accidentally only spread it on the bottom half but it’s best to spread an even layer so every bite has the filling. Cut the log into 8 equal rolls and repeat with the other dough. Place the rolls cut side up in a 9×13 baking dish or 2 9-inch cake pans. Cover the rolls and let it rise once more.We’ve finally reached the end point and now all we have to do is bake. Brush on the egg wash to help the rolls develop a lovely golden brown color and bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned. Remove from the oven, let it cool and spread on that delicious strawberry cream cheese frosting.
Oh my goodness. Friends. These strawberry poppy seed cinnamon rolls are everything. The dough for these rolls is insanely soft while the filling and frosting deliver on the strawberry flavor to the max. I mean strawberry preserves, fresh strawberry plus strawberry frosting? You really can’t get more strawberry flavor than that. I’ll have another, please!
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