One of my favorite things to do each season is to create a new sweet roll recipe. We don’t eat sweet rolls or cinnamons too often, so when we do I try to make it a little extra special. Besides I love creating new sweet recipes using seasonal fruit as the sweetener opposed to a lot of sugar. This recipe for Strawberries and Cream Sweet Rolls is perfect for those spring strawberries that are appearing in the markets.
I first made this recipe last summer after buying a flat of strawberries. I loved the recipe so much but by the time I got around to it, I knew the best of the strawberry season was almost over. I stashed this recipe away until now. I use Dorie Greenspan’s brioche recipe for all of my sweet roll recipes as I find it is truly the best out there. Rich and buttery and so light! The strawberries in this recipe turn into a slightly sweet jam when rolled between the buttery pastry. And the vanilla cream cheese topping is heavenly.
We recently received a very generous gift, an air fryer from our friend Gina. Not being in love with our instant pot, we were curious about the air fryer, would it be the same love-hate relationship? Quite the opposite; we LOVE the air fryer, and have been using it very often. There are quite a few recipes in Gina’s new book Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook that are intriguing me especially some of the baking ones. I decided to bake some of these sweet rolls in the oven as well as in the air fryer to see how it would turn out. This is not a Skinnytaste recipe just wanted to see if I could get one of my recipes to also work in the air fryer.
The air fryer baked the sweet rolls at a lower heat for less time. Both baking methods came out perfectly and we could not really tell the difference. I did a blind taste test on Lenny, and he did like the air fryer batch a tad more as they were a little crisper but flavorwise both were the same.
I have outlined both ways of baking these sweet rolls so you can make them using your oven or the air fryer if you happen to have one. Honestly, they both came out really fantastic!
Strawberries and Cream Sweet Rolls
1/2 recipe of this full brioche recipe- unless you want to make two pans of sweet rolls, then make the full recipe. You can also bake sweet rolls and a loaf of bread with one full batch of brioche. I have the half recipe with this sweet roll recipe – here are the half directions.
1-pint strawberries washed, hulled, and sliced into pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup of cream cheese, whole fat, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Make the dough recipe – either the full brioche recipe or the half – both are linked above. Depends on how much gooey sweetness you want to serve.
The next day, take the dough of the refrigerator about 60 minutes before working with it.
For the filling:
I do not premake this portion the day before cooking. I make it the day I am going to bake the sweet rolls or else it becomes somewhat watery. Place the strawberries into a small saucepan. I kept about a handful of them aside to roll into the sweet dough as pictured about. Mix the sugar with the berries that are in the saucepan. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Then cook over low heat until the berries break apart. Stirring every so often to prevent sticking and to break up the fruit. Let cool.
On a lightly floured surface roll the dough into a large rectangle about 2/3-inch thick and 14 x 12 inches wide/long.
Using a spoon, mash the butter until smooth. Spread the butter over rolled out dough using the back of a large spoon.
Spread the strawberry mixture over the butter. If using some halved berries scatter across the jammed fruit.
Starting at the longest side, roll tightly into a log. Using a long piece of unflavored dental floss, loop under the log of dough and pull up and criss-cross ends to cut into 1/2-inch thick circles. Cut 7 equal-sized rounds and place into a buttered 9″ baking pan, barely touching. You may need to adjust a bit. If you are using an air fryer you will need a smaller baking pan – I use a 7″ for the air fryer. Cover with plastic wrap and drape a couple of flour towels over the top of the plastic wrap.
Set aside in a warm room and let rise until doubled about 30 – 60 minutes. The time depends on how warm your kitchen is.
Regular Oven: Preheat the oven to 350 while the rolls are rising. Once the rolls have risen, bake them for 25 – 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Let sit for 5 minutes and then frost and serve.
Air Fryer Oven: Preheat the oven to 270 while the rolls are rising. Once the rolls have risen, bake them for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Let sit for 5 minutes and then frost and serve.
For the frosting:
In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add sifted powdered sugar and heavy cream. Mix until smooth, then mix in the vanilla bean paste. Place in the refrigerator for a few minutes so it is a little firmer for spreading over the warm rolls.