Spring means rhubarb and strawberries aplenty! Can you think of a more fitting Mother's Day sweet than a cinnamon roll filled with both? Pretty in pink, and full of fruity flavor, any mother, sister, aunt or grandmother would love one of these with a cup of coffee on her special day, and I'm sure the whole family will enjoy them, too. After lots of experimentation with different approaches, I found that chopping the rhubarb and strawberries fine, coating them with cornstarch and sprinkling them over the traditional cinnamon roll preparation worked best. The icing is made with pureed strawberries, a touch of butter, and confectioners sugar. The dough is my adaptation of a Fleischman's yeast recipe, which works every time!
3 1/2-4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 packet (or 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter, very soft
1 cup 1/4"-diced fresh rhubarb (not frozen!)
1 cup 1/4"-diced fresh strawberries (not frozen!)
1 1/2 Tablespoons corn starch
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon soft butter
1/4 cup pureed strawberries
Make the dough:
Combine 2 cups flour, sugar, dry yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir until blended. Place the water and the butter in a glass measuring cup and microwave on HIGH in 15 second increments until very warm, but not hot to the touch. (The butter won't melt completely.) Add to the flour mixture along with the egg and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed, scraping down the bowl occasionally.
Add 1 more cup of flour and beat for 2 minutes on high speed. Stir in just enough remaining flour so that the dough will form into a ball. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for 6-8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic and springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers. (Alternately, knead by hand for 6-8 minutes on a floured board.) Cover with a towel and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Prepare the filling:
While the dough is resting, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bow. In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, and cornstarch until well mixed. Set both aside.
Shape the rolls:
On a lightly-floured board roll the dough into an even 10 X 15-inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter all over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the long sides. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the butter. Sprinkle the fruit over the dough evenly. Starting with the long side of the rectangle, roll up the dough tightly. Pinch the seams together to seal. Cut into 12 equal pieces. Place cut-side down in a greased and parchment-lined 13 X 9-inch baking pan. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 45-60 minutes. (I put a pan in the lower part of the oven and fill with boiling water, then place the pan of rolls on the rack above it. This creates a warm, moist environment without any drafts for the dough to rise in.)
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees. (Remove the rolls before preheating the oven, of course!) Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown all over. Cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes.
Ice the rolls:
Combine all of the Icing ingredients in the mixer and beat until creamy. Spread over the rolls.