Have you ever begun making a recipe and just have doubts about it? That was me with this recipe. I have had several failed yeasted sweet and savory roll attempts in the past several months. I finally realized that my yeast had bit the dust and went out and bought a new jar of yeast. I also dug around for a recipe for big, fluffy cinnamon rolls. I found the one I was looking for on Sally’s Baking Addiction. I had the recipe for several days and was just feeling not great about making it. Then, I was talking to my sweet friend Shaye about it and realized that I was actually pretty sick of cinnamon rolls. She suggested that I find a way to incorporate more citrus into the rolls as a yummy variation and to keep the winter citrus love alive from the last post.
I was surprised by how few recipes I found for grapefruit sweet rolls. I finally found a recipe on Whisk Kid that used a grapefruit sugar butter filling and excited me to try. It ended up being an adaptation of a lemon sweet roll from The Kitchn. So I combined all these recipes and what came out was quite AMAZING! The flavor was totally unique to anything I have ever had and I was so excited that the dough rose to a beautiful tender roll that I will be using again!
*Since I was not feeling optimistic about this recipe and the pictures are quite terrible…sorry!*
The ingredients for the dough are 1 cup whole milk, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast, 1/2 cup room temperature butter, 2 room temperature eggs, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, zest of 1/2 to 1 grapefruit, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 4 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour.
To begin making the dough, I heated the milk to 110 – 115 F degrees. I added it to the bowl of my stand mixer and add the granulated sugar and yeast to the bowl. I mixed it gently and allowed it to sit for 5 – 10 minutes and make sure the yeast bubbled up generously. Then using the dough hook, I added the butter to the mixture and gently mixed. It didn’t really incorporate, but that is alright. Then I added the eggs to the mix and used the dough hook again to mix, but I did not stress about how little they mixed. I added the grapefruit zest, cardamom and salt to the dough and again mixed. Then I begin adding the flour to the mixture, 1/2 cup at a time and mixed it on low until everything looked like a nice smooth dough. Then I turned the speed up to medium and allowed the machine to kneed the dough for about 6 minutes. It pulled away from the sides of the bowl but still stuck to the bottom.
I pulled the dough out of the bowl, oiled the bowl and returned the dough to the bowl and covered the top of the bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. I put mine in my oven on the proof setting which keeps the oven temperature at 100 F degrees. You can also turn your oven on the lowest setting to preheat and then turn it off before adding your dough to the oven to proof. In my oven it took 1 hour to rise. While it was rising, I worked on the the filling.
The ingredients for the filling are 1 cup granulated sugar, zest of 1 grapefruit, 4 tablespoons of very soft butter, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom and 1/4 cup of fresh grapefruit juice.
To make the filling, I begin by using my fingers to rub the grapefruit zest into the granulated sugar to release as much of the oil and flavor from the zest as possible. Then I added the sugar to the bowl of my stand mixer and added the softened butter to the bowl. Using the paddle attachment, I beat the butter and sugar until they were thoroughly mixed. Then I added the cardamom to the filling and mixed until it was combined. Next, I slowly (but not as slowly as I should have) added the grapefruit juice to the mixture and combed. This is where I got slightly crabby because my mixture looked curdled and I forgot to take a picture of it before I transferred it to a bowl and covered it. Then I put it in the fridge until the dough was fully risen. I even texted Shaye at this point and told her how disappointed I was that the filling was ruined and our idea wasn’t going to work…glad I kept going though because it turned out awesome.
Once the dough was fully risen, I dumped it out onto my dough mat and patted it into a flat rectangle. Then I used my rolling pin to roll it out to a 10-by-16-inch rectangle. This is much smaller than I usually roll my dough, but I really wanted fat rolls so I was careful to follow the instructions. Then I spread the grapefruit filling on top of the dough and rolled the dough into a tight 16 inch roll. As you can see in the picture above, most of the filling seeped out when I rolled it. I used my bench scraper to cut the dough into 2 inch slices and placed them into a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Then, I used a spoon to scoop all the spilled out filling onto the top of the rolls. I covered them with the plastic wrap I used earlier and placed them back into my oven on the proof setting and allowed them to rise again for another hour. I was so excited when I pulled them out from the second rise and saw how large the rolls looked.
After I pulled the rolls out of the oven for the second rise, I cranked the temperature up to 375 F degrees. Once the oven was preheated I baked the rolls for 25 minutes, then I checked the temperature on the middle of the rolls and they were only about 130 F degrees. I covering the top of the pan with foil to stop the browning and baked it for about 15 more minutes until the center temperature read 190 F degrees. While the rolls began cooling in the pan on a cooling rack, I worked on the icing.
The ingredients for the icing are 4 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons grapefruit juice.
To make the filling, I placed the soft cream cheese in a bowl used a hand mixer to whip it until it is soft. I used my hand mixer since I didn’t feel like washing the bowl of my stand mixer again (I’m pretty lazy). Then I added the powdered sugar and 1/2 the grapefruit juice. I mixed it together until smooth. I ended up adding more grapefruit juice to smooth out the icing to a thinner consistency but you do not have to. You can also add more powdered sugar if you prefer a sweeter icing. Then I spread the icing over the top of the slightly cooled rolls and allow it to seep down into the rolls. YUM!
I was so excited about trying one of these rolls that I seriously could not wait to get one out of the pan. No joke – it bent my spatula down from the weight of the roll while I was trying to get it out of the pan! The dough was so soft and so flavorful from the grapefruit and cardamom additions (PS – I got the idea for adding the cardamom from the Great British Bake Off because everyone uses it all the time and I am so glad that I have finally tried it! It is so bright and lovely and it boosted up the grapefruit flavor really nicely.) The top of the rolls was nice and crispy from the sugar caramelizing while it baked. The bottom of the rolls were sticky and sweet from all of the filling that sunk down during baking and became a delicious syrup at the bottom of the dish. Finally, the cream cheese frosting is such a nice contrast of flavors that adds nothing but excitement in your mouth when you eat these amazing, surprising and delicious rolls. I promise you won’t be able to stop once you start eating one! I was so full, but COULD NOT STOP!
Recipe: Grapefruit Cardamom Sweet Rolls
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
- 1/2 cup room temperature butter
- 2 room temperature eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- zest of 1/2 to 1 grapefruit
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose or bread flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- zest of 1 grapefruit
- 4 tablespoons of very soft butter
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 cup of fresh grapefruit juice
- 4 ounces softened cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons grapefruit juice
- Heat the milk to 110-115 F degrees. Add the bowl of a stand mixer and mix in the sugar and yeast. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Using the dough hook, mix in the soft butter (It will not mix in but just break up some). Add the eggs and mix. Add the salt and mix. Add the zest and cardamom and mix. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix until a smooth dough forms. Turn the mixer up to medium and knead for another 6 minutes until the dough is smooth and pulled away from the sides of the bowl.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and oil the bowl. Replace the dough and turn the dough in the oil. Cover and place the bowl in a warm place to rise until it is doubled in size – about 1 to 2 hours. (You can use the proof setting on an oven or turn your oven onto the lowest setting and turn off before adding the bowl to the oven).
- Add the sugar and zest to a small bowl and use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar to mix together and release as much of the oil and flavor from the zest as possible. Add the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add the softened butter to the bowl and mix the butter and sugar until completely combined. Add the cardamom and mix.
- Very, Very SLOWLY add the grapefruit juice to the mixture. If it looks curdled do not worry, it will be fine.
- Add the mixture a bowl and cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until ready to use in the risen dough.
- Dump the risen dough onto a dough mat or lightly floured or oiled surface. Use your hands to pat into a rectangle. Roll out to only 10-by-16-inch rectangle.
- Spread the filling out onto the dough. Roll into a 16-inch long roll.
- Use a bench scraper, knife, or unwaxed floss to cut the roll into 2-inch slices.
- Put the rolls into a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spoon any of the filling that may have escaped while rolling onto the top of each roll.
- Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and put back into a warm spot to rise until doubled in size for about 1 hour.
- After rising preheat the oven to 375 F degrees and bake the rolls for 25 minutes, check the temperature of the middle of pan of rolls looking for 190 F degrees. If it isn’t there, cover with foil and continue to bake until the middle temperature is 190 F degrees.
- Pull the rolls from the oven and allow to being cooling on a cooling rack.
- Using a hand mixer or whisk attachment on a stand mixer whip the softened cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and 1/2 the grapefruit juice and whip together. Continue to add the grapefruit juice until the icing is as smooth as you desire.
- You can also add more/less powdered sugar depend on the level of sweetness your prefer.
- Spread the icing on top of the slightly cooled rolls and allow it to seep into the rolls.
Serve the rolls while still warm and enjoy!