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Lemon-Brown Sugar Meringue Rolls

March 27, 2011

It’s a good thing I actually enjoy cleaning, because I’m really good at making an enormous mess whenever I bake something. Every bit of counter is littered with measuring cups, rubber spatulas, bowls and a dusting of flour by the time I’m done. The problem is that my kitchen is so small, I often have to do a mid-baking cleaning before I can continue. I also have to move several small appliances to clear enough room to roll out dough, and even then the ends of my rolling pin often knock things off the counter.

This recipe packed a double whammy. Not only was that extra counter space needed, this was a messy creation in and of itself, never mind my tendency for making a disaster zone of my kitchen. You see, these breakfast rolls are filled with meringue, and as you roll up the dough ever so carefully this meringue likes to ooze out all over the place.

At least it tastes scrumptious and you get to lick it off your fingers!

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake. Apparently Jamie found this recipe among her’s dad’s recipe stash circa 1970 and the source was long lost. It was definitely a recipe like nothing I’d seen before, so I was very curious to try it out. We were allowed to add any flavorings we desired, so long as the meringue remained.

Inspired by the incredible brown sugar meringue-topped lemon tart I had at Mustard’s in Napa, CA, I decided to make a Lemon-Brown Sugar Meringue version of this coffeecake, which I cut into rounds cinnamon-roll-style. The flavor is bright and refreshing– a great morning pick me up! The meringue bakes into the dough and leaves a ring of sugar in the swirls of the roll. This is not overly sweet or overly decadent, just a mood lifting treat to start the day with!

Lemon-Brown Sugar Meringue Rolls

Serves 10



  • 1 cup whole spelt flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 fl oz milk, warm
  • 2 Tbsp water, warm
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg\


  • 2 egg whites (save one of the yolks for an egg wash)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted


  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp raw sugar


  1. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, combine 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, brown sugar, salt and yeast. Add the milk, water and melted butter and stir until well blended. Beat on medium speed (with the paddle attachment if using your stand mixer) for two minutes.
  2. Add the egg and 1/2 cup spelt flour and beat for two more minutes on medium speed.
  3. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Add the remaining 1/2 cup spelt flour and 1/4 cup all-purpose and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Add more all-purpose flour as needed if the dough is too sticky (it should clear the sides and bottom of the bowl and be slightly tacky to the touch). Knead on medium-high for 8-10 minutes (or by hand) until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a towel or plastic. Set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 hour until doubled in size.
  5. When your dough is almost ready, prepare the filling.  Whip the egg whites and salt until white and frothy on high speed. Gradually add the brown sugar while continue to whip until the meringue forms firm, glossy peaks. Gently fold in the lemon zest.
  6. Lightly flour a work surface and turn out the risen dough. Press down with your fingertips to release the air and shape the dough into a rectangle. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 10×20 inches, with the long side at the top and the shorter sides to your left and right.
  7. Spread an even layer of the meringue over the dough, leaving at least an inch bare on both sides and the bottom edge of your dough. You may not need all of the meringue. Sprinkle with the pecans.
  8. Starting at the top, tightly– and carefully– roll up the dough into a log, seamside down. Use a serrated knife to gently– and carefully– cut the dough into 10 rolls, each about 1 inch wide. Place them cut-side up into a lightly buttered 9×9 inch baking dish. Cover and let rise 1 hour.
  9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the reserved egg yolk with about 1 tsp of water. When the rolls have risen, gently brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with the brown and raw sugars. Bake about 30-40 minutes until golden brown cooked through (I use a thermometer– the internal temperature should reach 175 degrees).
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool. If you want a little more decadence, mix 1 cup powdered sugar with a few teaspoons of lemon juice to make a glaze. Enjoy!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2011 7:57 am

    mmm I like the idea of that:) I love lemon in cakes:) the pictures are very pretty:)

  2. March 27, 2011 11:42 am

    The texture looks great! The flavors sound delicious, well done on your challenge.

  3. March 27, 2011 2:09 pm

    oh wow those looks so so good. great pictures, too

  4. March 31, 2011 8:33 pm

    These look delicious, I think I’d eat them all in one sitting! I can relate to the small kitchen; I barely have enough room to pour a bowl of cereal, let alone roll out dough for a pie or cinnamon rolls!

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