Carrot Ginger Walnut Sweet Rolls

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Carrot Ginger Walnut Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Spring!  Here’s one of my new recipes… a carrot ginger-walnut roll, similar to a cinnamon roll.  The dough is made with pureed carrots, and the filling flavored with ground ginger – for a interesting variation on the sweet roll.  Topped with a salty-sweet rich cream cheese frosting, this is a wonderful pastry to serve at a family brunch (Easter maybe?), or for a decadent breakfast!

The base for the dough is my Japanese Milk Bread, made with tang zhong.  With the addition of tang zhong, this type of dough is light and fluffy – very soft and delicate.  One recipe of tangzhong makes enough for two bread recipes – with your leftover tang zhong, you can also try making my Coconut Milk Bread, Azuki (Red) Bean Bread, Creme Pan, or An Pan.

Feel free to vary the filling – if you don’t like walnuts, substitute with raisins instead.  If you don’t like ginger, you could always use cinnamon (but I think the ginger adds a nice flavor).

Makes 16 rolls.

Carrot Ginger Walnut Rolls:

You'll need about 4-5 medium carrots to make 3/4 cup carrot puree.

  • 3/4 c. cooked carrot puree (4-5 medium carrots)
  • 2 1/2 c. bread flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. tang zhong
  • 3 T. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 T. sugar
  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast

Tang Zhong:

  • 1/3 c. bread flour
  • 1 c. water

Ginger-Walnut Filling:

  • 6 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c. walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • 1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter
  • 2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

1.  First, prepare the carrot puree.  Peel the carrots and chop into rough chunks.

2.  Place the carrot pieces in a small sauce pan and cover with water over medium heat.  Simmer about 15-20 minutes until fork tender.

3.  Drain and cool the carrots.  Use a hand blender (or food processor) to puree the cooked carrot.  Measure out 3/4 c. carrot puree for the bread dough.

4.  Make the tang zhong.  For instructions on how to make tang zhong on the stove top, see my recipe for Japanese Milk Bread.  This time, I decided to make the tang zhong in the microwave.  Fill a 2 c. pyrex measuring cup with the water and flour.  Mix with a fork until all the lumps are gone, and your mixture looks like milk.

5.  Microwave the mixture for 1 minute, remove, then stir with the fork to break up any lumps.  Return to the microwave, cook for 30 seconds, then remove and stir until smooth.  Set aside and cool.  You will only need 1/2 of the tang zhong to make this bread.  You can store the other half of the tang zhong in the refrigerator for a few days.

6.  Dump 1/2 c. of the tang zhong, carrot puree, egg beaten into the milk, sugar, butter, and salt into the bottom of the bread machine pan.  Add the flour on top, forming a depression into the top.  Place the yeast in that depression.  Turn the machine on using the “basic dough” setting.  (You can also make the dough by hand – knead all the ingredients together for about 15 minutes, set aside (covered) in a warm place to rise for about an hour, then punch down and let the dough rise for a second time – about 30 min – before proceeding to step 8.)

7.  Once the dough is done, it will be very fluffy and sticky.

8.  Spray two 9″ round cake pans with non stick spray, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Turn the dough out onto a floured countertop.

11.  Dust the top of the dough with a heavy coating of flour, and roll out into a large rectangle.

12.  Chop the walnuts fine.

13.  Use the back of a spoon to spread the melted butter over the rectangle of dough.

14.  Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the butter.

15.  Sprinkle the ground ginger over the sugar.

16.  Top with the chopped walnuts.

17.  Roll the long end of the dough (enclosing the filling) towards you, like a cinnamon roll.

18.  Cut the roll in half.  Then cut each half into 8 even slices.  (You should have 16 slices total).

19.  Place 8 rolls into each prepared 9″ cake pan, evenly spaced.

20.  Bake the two pans of rolls for 15 minutes, in the preheated 350 degree oven.

21.  Meanwhile, make the frosting.  Put the cream cheese, butter, salt, vanilla, and powdered sugar into the workbowl of a food processor.  Process for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy.

22.  Remove the rolls from the oven, cool 5 minutes.

23.  Spread the cream cheese frosting over the rolls, serve immediately.




  1. T.R. says:

    If you’re making it by hand, after you punch down the dough do you need to let it sit again or go straight to the next step after taking it out of the bread machine?

    • Mika Mika says:

      After punching down, I would let the dough rise a second time (about 30 min or so) before rolling out. (I have amended the instructions to add this step – Thanks!) :)

      • T.R. says:

        Thanks Mika. They look sooo good.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Hi Mika! I am ever so thankful that I found your blog! My whole family owes you a debt of gratitude for the fluffy donuts that I now make using the tang zhong you taught us to make! They love them so much.Thank you, thank you!
    About these rolls, and the other recipes; is it okay to use double tang zhong when doubling the recipe? I really am glad that you shared that little trick with the flour and water to make the tang zhong! It makes a huge difference in all my yeast bread and sourdough recipes.
    Thanks again, Mika!

    • Mika Mika says:

      Yes, if you double the recipe, then you need to double everything – including the tang zhong.

      Glad it helped make a difference! :)