Rhubarb Sweet Rolls

If you remember from my last rhubarb posts, I have a lot of it. My wonderful parents have a garden, and in the summertime they are overflowing with produce of all kinds: tomatoes, beans, peppers, lettuce, carrots, and especially rhubarb. They usually have so much rhubarb and it grows so fast that they can’t physically keep or use it all.Last summer, my parents gave me 8 freezer bags full of rhubarb, and I’ve been looking for ways to use it up, especially because my dad told me they have a ton more for me to take. Ah! Pretty soon, it will overrun my freezer.Well, I woke up yesterday, and it was cold and rainy – a perfect baking day! I scoured Pinterest, and soon came upon these rolls, and decided the time was ripe (hah!) for another rhubarb recipe. If you are anything like my parents, and you have an abundance of rhubarb and not many ideas (I can’t make pie, as Paul is allergic to strawberries), I’m here to help! These are sweet and a little tart, but they are basically cinnamon rolls, but instead of a cinnamon filling, a quick rhubarb “jam” situation. You can have them for breakfast, or dessert and (if you’re daring!), put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a warmed roll.

Ingredients

Yield: 12 rolls

For the dough:

¾ c. milk
4 tbsp. (¼ c.) butter, cubed
2¼ tsp. (or 1 packet) instant or active dry yeast
2 tbsp. sugar
1 egg, beaten
¾ tsp. salt
3¼ c. flour

For the filling:

4 c. sliced rhubarb, divided (the recipe says 3 cups, but I’ll explain)
½ c. sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. cornstarch

For the glaze:

Leftover filling
1-2 c. icing sugar (as needed)
1 tbsp. lemon juice (if needed)

To make the dough, in a large glass measuring cup, warm the milk and butter together in a microwave until the mixture reaches between 100-110°F. Be careful! Don’t go over. Too hot, and you run the risk of killing your yeast. Stir in the yeast and sugar. Wait 5 minutes for the mixture to start to bubble and foam. If it doesn’t, your yeast is dead and you need to start again with new, fresh yeast.In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the beaten egg, the milk mixture, the flour, and the salt. Beat with the dough hook, on low at first, then on medium for about 5 minutes until the dough comes together and becomes smooth and elastic.Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball. Oil the mixer bowl, then place the dough into the bowl, rolling to cover with oil. Plastic wrap the bowl, and set in a warm spot for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size. Make the filling while the dough rises.For the filling, in a medium saucepan, combine 3 cups of the sliced rhubarb (reserving 1 cup for the filling when it’s done – I’m a fan of rhubarb chunks, not just puree), the sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch.Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until rhubarb breaks down and the mixture turns thick, into a jam-like consistency. Set aside filling to cool while the dough finishes its rise.To assemble the rolls, spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray and set aside. Lightly flour your work surface, and turn out the risen dough, gently rolling into a large rectangle, approximately 18×12.Spread 1-1½ cups of the filling over the dough, leaving about 1 inch of room around the edges of the dough. Sprinkle the reserved rhubarb chunks over the filling. Now it gets messy – beware! Roll the dough log in, starting from the top long edge. Some of the filling might leak out, but that’s okay. Get the roll as tight as you can, and make sure the seam side is down to try and seal it as much as possible.With a sharp serrated knife (or unflavoured waxed dental floss – that’s what I use!) cut the log into 12 even pieces. I use dental floss for all of my cinnamon roll cutting – it’s a trick I learned years ago. Just wrap the floss around the roll, and pull. It will cut everything for you! Easy-peasy.Place the cut rolls into the prepared pan, with a little bit of space between them, not squished tight. They need room to rise again. If you had a bunch of filling come out of the rolls, you can drizzle some extra filling over the rolls. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for the second rise, about 30-45 minutes, until the rolls fill the pan and are touching.Preheat oven to 350°. Make a simple egg wash (if desired), and brush rolls to help browning. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.While the rolls bake, make the glaze. My glaze is different from the original (I didn’t want any leftover puree). In a medium bowl, combine the leftover rhubarb filling with 1-2 cups of icing sugar, as needed. There is enough moisture in the filling that you shouldn’t need any lemon juice, but if you like a runnier glaze, then use more liquid. Drizzle or pour glaze over the rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.Cool in the pan, and serve warm.

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