I used to not be a good sweet roll maker. Mine always turned out dense and dry. After lots of trial and error I discovered I was adding WAY too much flour, especially in the rolling out process. My mind-frame of what the dough should look and feel like was totally wrong. I thought if it was sticky at all I hadn't added enough flour.
Lately I've discovered the secret to good sweet rolls is actually adding the least amount of flour possible. This is what will make your rolls tender and moist. Your dough should still be very sticky when you put it in a bowl for it's first rise. After the first rise it loses some of it's stickiness and you can get a better idea of whether you need to add a little more flour or not.
One of the best things you can do to help you use the right amount of flour is use a kitchen scale to measure it. I've included flour weight below for this recipe like I always do for my cookies. This really takes a lot of guesswork out of baking sweet rolls. Especially if you're at a high-altitude.
The other thing I do is use Pam spray instead of flour when rolling out my dough. Sometimes you will have to add a bit more flour to get your dough to rolling consistency, but rolling the dough on a flour covered surface can really drown your dough in flour unnecessarily. By spraying your rolling surface and rolling pin with Pam you can keep the dough from sticking, while avoiding adding excess flour.
Finally, make sure you take your rolls out of the oven when they're just barely done. You don't want raw dough but you really don't want to overbake either or your product will be dry.
For these raspberry swirl rolls I used raspberries from my garden and the filling was a bit tart. Taste your berries before beginning and if they're tart add some extra sugar to your filling. These are best the day they're made. After that they will begin to dry out like most sweet rolls. These are tender and yummy but I think they would be even better with a cream cheese frosting, so feel free to substitute that for the glaze if you want.
Happy carbohydrate inhaling!
Raspberry Swirl Rolls
Recipe adapted from Food & Wine magazine
-1 cup whole milk, slightly warmed
-2/3 cup sugar
-1 ½ Tbsp active dry yeast
-½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
-2 large eggs
-1 teaspoon lemon zest
-¼ teaspoon salt
-4 ¼ cups (19.25 oz) flour, plus more for dusting
For the Raspberry Filling:
-10 ounce bag frozen raspberries
-1/2 cup sugar (Increase this amount if your berries are tart- I use 3/4 cup when I use raspberries from my garden)
-1 tsp cornstarch
For the Glaze:
-¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
-3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
-1 ½ Tbsp heavy cream
To make the raspberry filling: Toss raspberries with sugar and cornstarch. Place back in the freezer until ready to use.
To make the dough: Pour the warm milk into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Stir in the sugar and yeast. Let mixture stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the softened butter, eggs, lemon zest and salt.
Add the flour and beat at medium speed until a soft dough forms, about 3 minutes. Continue beating until the dough is soft and supple, about 10 minutes longer.
Dump the dough out onto a Pam-sprayed surface and knead it with your hands a few times. If it it super sticky you can add a little extra flour. Form dough into a ball and transfer it to a Pam-sprayed bowl. Cover the dough with plastic wrap (sprayed with Pam) and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
Grease a 13x9 inch pan with Pam. Turn the raised dough out onto a Pam-sprayed work surface and roll it into a 10x24in rectangle with a rolling pin.
Spread the raspberry/sugar mixture evenly over the dough. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 24 inch long log. Working quickly, cut the log into quarters. I use a piece of dental floss and slide it under the log, then cross it at the top and pull both sides away from each other to make my cuts. (This doesn't "squish" your rolls as much as a knife will.)
Cut each quarter into 3 slices and place them in the baking pan. Scrape any leftover berry mixture from the work surface into the bare spaces in the pan. Cover rolls and let them rise in a warm place until they have filled the baking pan, about 2 hours.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 22-28 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes or so.
To make the glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar, butter, and heavy cream until thick and spreadable. Drizzle over warm rolls.