Today we're making blackberry lemon sweet rolls, perfect for a spring or summertime brunch! These rolls are soft and delicious, with hints of lemon baked into the dough, and filled with a juicy blackberry filling. Add on some lemony cream cheese frosting and you're in big trouble with these!
Why Blackberry and Lemon?
Good question! There are lots of variations of sweet rolls, starting with the ICONIC cinnamon roll. Stay tuned for my favorite cinnamon roll recipe, by the way! But I digress. Cinnamon rolls paved the way for orange rolls, and now they come in any flavor you can think of! But since it is getting warmer, I thought BERRIES would be a great idea. And since this spring I've already baked with raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, my mind immediately went to blackberries!
Blackberries hold a special place in my heart, because when I was a kid, my family used to go to Orange Park, near where we lived outside of Cleveland, Ohio. And a lot of the parks in that area are surrounded by woods. My brother and I would wander in the woods and eat blackberries straight off the wild blackberry bushes.
I've always loved blackberries, and blackberry and lemon together is such a perfect combination! The tartness of the lemon accentuates the distinctive blackberry flavor, and of course these sweet rolls are topped with a creamy, tangy whipped cream frosting. SO perfect!
Blackberry Lemon Sweet Rolls, Step by Step
Don't be intimidated by the "instant yeast" down there in the ingredients list. These rolls are totally doable! You will need some extra time to knead the dough or roll them, but the rise times are relatively short, thanks to the instant yeast. You got this!
First, you'll mix up your blackberry filling. Just add your blackberries, lemon juice, cornstarch, and sugar to a saucepan and simmer, breaking up the blackberries slightly, until thickened. Let the mixture cool completely in the fridge. This way, you minimize leaky blackberries making the bottoms of your rolls soggy. Delicious, but still soggy.
Then, you'll combine your dough ingredients:
- warm milk
- lemon extract
- lemon zest
The milk should be warm to activate the yeast, but not too warm. Just a little warmer than your finger when you test it out. You'll let the milk and yeast sit for a few minutes before adding everything else.
Once your dough ingredients are combined, you want the dough to start pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If necessary, you can add more flour. Then the fun part -- kneading! You can definitely knead these by hand -- just push and fold them on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and supple, about 10 minutes.
If you use a stand mixer, knead the dough with the hook attachment for about 8 minutes.
Then comes your first rise, about 40 minutes. Just place the dough in a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and it should about double in size.
Then you'll just roll it out, spread some butter, sprinkle some brown sugar, add your blackberry filling and pop them in a 9x9 baking pan. Then comes the second rise! Just like in during the first rise, the assembled rolls will double in size again, and should look something like this:
If so, they're finally ready for the oven! Pop them in your preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until they get golden brown.
Finally, when your sweet rolls are fresh out of the oven, and it's time for my favorite part! You're gonna whip up your quick lemon cream cheese frosting! It's easy to do with either a hand mixer or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer.
- Beat together butter, cream cheese about 2 minutes until fluffy and creamy.
- Mix in lemon zest, and lemon juice.
- Slowly add in powdered sugar and mix well.
- Spread over sweet rolls while they're still warm.
See? You're just a few steps away from enjoying these delicious springtime treats! And if you do try them, I'd love to hear how they go for you in the comments. We can master these yeast rolls together!
Equipment you may need
Prepare Blackberry Filling
- Add blackberries, lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch to a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring to a simmer then reduce to low and simmer, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
- Combine lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl. Press zest and sugar together with your hands to release the oils from the zest. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in warm milk and let stand 3 to 5 minutes; stir.
- Add the egg, lemon extract, lemon zest/sugar mixture, flour, salt, and butter, mixing after each addition.
- Beat well until smooth, adding more flour a little at a time until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Knead dough on a lightly floured surface (or in the stand mixer using the hook attachment) for about 10 minutes, until soft and smooth.
- Place in a bowl in a warm spot and cover with plastic wrap to rise for about 40 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- Roll dough out on a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour or a nonstick pastry mat, forming a rectangle that is about 8 inches by 14 inches.
- Spread butter onto dough, and sprinkle with brown sugar. Gently spread cooled blackberry mixture onto dough.
- Roll dough away from you into one long roll, using the parchment paper to assist.
- Use a serrated knife to cut into 9 even pieces and carefully place into prepared 9x9 baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size again, approximately another 40 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Bake 20-25 minutes, or until rolls are a nice golden brown.
- Remove rolls from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Prepare Frosting:
- Beat softened cream cheese and butter in a bowl until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add lemon zest and juice and mix to combine.
- Gradually add in powdered sugar, mixing on low, until combined. Beat another minute to a smooth and creamy consistency.
- Spread frosting over warm rolls and serve immediately.