Sweet cinnamon rolls cloaked with a slightly tart key lime icing make for a unique key lime cinnamon roll that’s neither too sweet nor too tart.
The humidity outdoors is soaring. Most likely, if you’re reading this you’re feeling it too in the weight of the air that clings to your skin, offering not even the slightest breeze for reprieve (though there are the occasional, torrential downpours to break up the heat, complete with fierce displays of spider-webbed lightning and angry bursts of thunder that send Penny into anxious, nervous circles).
The air is so thick and sticky I partly believe that I could set a cup of sugar out on my porch for 15 minutes and return to find it melted, transformed by the heat into a cup of icing. I was halfway tempted to crack an egg on the pavement and see if it actually fried.
So, when I woke up this weekend with a craving for cinnamon rolls (and especially craving to use my new oven that finally arrived, glass door thankfully un-shattered!), I was well aware that they are more of a warm-and-cozy breakfast food better suited for chilled days, and decided it would be best if I diminished their typically excessive sweetness in some way.
The solution came in the form of a bottle of key lime juice that’s been sitting patiently in my refrigerator since last month. Ever since the Key Lime Pie I made for Father’s Day, I haven’t been able to shake thoughts of its cheeky, tartly citric taste from my mind. The flavor is so light and refreshing, and if you’re wondering how it pairs with cinnamon the answer is beautifully.
The cinnamon takes an unfamiliar backseat to its usual role, offering a subtle warmth to the bold (but not overpowering) key lime. The flavors play nicely together, unexpectedly harmonious.
Once again, I opted to not use yeast in favor of a faster cinnamon roll (I generally lack the patience for yeast, but if you find yourself with an open morning begging to be filled with hours of yeast-rising, you can of course use your favorite recipe, substituting the filling and icing listed here for the standard).
The flavor is unique, but not strange or uncomfortable. It is a perfect balance of tartness and sweetness, comforting and fresh, a twist on a classic, a refreshing change for your taste buds.
They’re easy, refreshing, and filling, everything you could possibly crave in a sweet summertime breakfast or brunch.
Key Lime Cinnamon Rolls (no yeast)
- 2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter cold
- 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp milk
- 5 Tbsp butter melted
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp grated lime zest
Key Lime Icing
- 4 oz cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 4 Tbsp butter softened to room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean or 1/2vanilla extract)
- 2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp key lime juice
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 1 tsp grated lime zest
Preheat oven to 375F
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl.
Using a pastry cutter (or fork and knife if lacking) cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add milk and mix stir until combined and dough clings together
Transfer dough onto a well floured surface and knead until it forms a cohesive ball.
Lightly flour a rolling pin and roll dough out to roughly a 10x12" rectangle.
In medium-sized bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and key lime zest It will be very much like a paste)
Spread the filling over the rectangle of dough, leaving about ¼" of space as a perimeter.
Carefully roll dough starting with one of the 12" ends and rolling tightly.. Press the edge of the roll into the dough so that it sticks.
Carefully, with a sharp knife, cut the log, spacing your cuts about 1 1/2" apart.
Place 1 Tbsp of butter into a 9" pie dish and set it in your preheating oven for a few minutes until the butter has melted. Remove from oven.
Evenly space rolls in pie dish.
Bake on 375F for 20-25 minutes (beginning to lightly brown around edges). Prepare your icing while the rolls are baking.
Key Lime Icing
In KitchenAid, or with electric mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese.
Gradually add powdered sugar on low-speed.
Add in key lime juice, milk, and lime zest, stir until well-combined.
Once rolls have finished baking, allow to cool for 5 minutes before spreading icing on top.
Best served fresh
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