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 daily. One of my absolute favorites other than peaches, persimmons, and figs, are strawberries. 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.
Strawberry Poppy Seed Cinnamon Rolls
- ½ cup milk warm (100-110 degrees F)
- ⅓ cup heavy cream warm (100-110 degrees F)
- 1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fresh strawberries chopped
- ½ cup strawberry preserves
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
Strawberry cream cheese frosting
- 1 cup fresh strawberries chopped
- 1 tbsp water
- ¼ cup butter softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm milk with heavy cream, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the yeast is activated and the mixture is foamy.
- Add the egg, salt, and all-purpose flour to the yeast mixturer. Mix until a shaggy dough forms and continue to knead for 8-10 minutes or until a smooth dough forms. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm area for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, make the strawberry cream cheese frosting. Combine 1 cup chopped strawberries with 1 tbsp water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to medium-low and continue to simmer until almost all of the juices have evaporated. Let cool.
- Beat together the softened butter and cream cheese until well combined. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cooked strawberries, mixing until smooth. Set aside.
- Lightly dust a clean work counter with flour. Roll out the dough into a 12x16 inch rectangle. Spread the strawberry preserves in an even layer and top with fresh strawberries and poppyseeds. Roll the dough into a log, starting with the long side to make a 16 inch log. Cut the log into 2-inch portions for a total of 8 rolls. Place the rolls cut side facing up in a 9x13 baking dish. Cover and let rise for another hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Brush the egg wash on the rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Spread the strawberry cream frosting on top and serve.
**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 2 cups of chopped strawberries. Set aside 1 cup 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. 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 using floss for nice clean cuts. Sounds bizarre but it works! Just make sure to use flavor-less floss.
Place the rolls cut side up in a 9x13 baking dish or 2 9-inch cake pans. Cover the rolls and let it rise once more.
Now it's finally time to 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!
For more strawberry inspiration check out this strawberry galette with pretzel crust!