Maybe it's the bright color. Maybe it's the fresh, vibrant taste. Whatever the reason, Easter has become inextricably linked to lemon (and chocolate, of course). So we decided to do a refresh of the conventional breakfast cinnamon bun, infusing it with lemony goodness three different ways.
We start by replacing the cinnamon sugar with sugar spiked with lemon zest. Then we fill the buns with purchased lemon curd (a decadent, tangy treat that also is good simply spread onto toast). Finally, we drizzle our finished buns with icing made from lemon juice and powdered sugar.
The result is vibrantly lemony, but not mouth puckering. And to keep things fast and easy, we use purchased frozen bread dough as the base for the buns.
All you need to do is thaw the dough, roll it out, fill it, then roll it back up before slicing and baking. These buns are the perfect way to start Easter - or any spring - morning.
Sticky Lemony Breakfast Buns
Start to finish: 11/2 hours (30 minutes active)
You'll find loaves of frozen bread dough in the grocer's freezer section. Jars of lemon curd are alongside the jams and jellies.
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Two 1-pound loaves frozen white bread dough, thawed and allowed to come to room temperature
1/2 cup lemon curd
2 tablespoons lemon juice
11/4 cups powdered sugar
Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment.
In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and lemon zest. Sprinkle half of it on a clean counter.
Place 1 loaf of the dough on the sprinkled counter, then roll it out to form an 8-by-16-inch rectangle (with one of the long sides facing you). Sprinkle the dough with the remaining sugar, then gently run the roller over the dough to ensure the sugar mixture sticks. Roll out the second loaf to the same size, then set it on top of the first.
Spread the lemon curd over the dough, leaving a 1-inch strip bare along the long edge farther from you. Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the dough up into a log. Pinch the dough along the seam to seal it.
Using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 1-inch-wide rounds. Arrange the rounds on the prepared baking sheet, then cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until puffy. After 15 minutes, heat the oven to 350 degrees.
When the buns have risen, uncover and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. The internal temperature of the buns should read 185 degrees. Allow to cool slightly before icing.
To make the icing, in a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle over the tops of the buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition information per serving: 250 calories; 50 calories from fat (20 percent of total calories); 6g fat (1.5g saturated; 0g trans fats); 25mg cholesterol; 44g carbohydrate; 2g fiber; 17g sugar; 7g protein; 370mg sodium.