Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Swirl Rolls

How do you eat swirl rolls?  I peel mine back layer by layer savoring each bite.  My guy just dives right in with a big bite. I wonder what that means about us?  
Let’s not go there…
I have wanted to make these rolls forever!  So I was pumped when I saw Julie @ Willow Bird Baking was starting her kitchen challenges and the first challenge was Cinnamon Rolls.  (Interested in joining the challenges? Go visit for more info!)  An epic procrastinator, I didn’t get them cooked in time for the “deadline” where she does a post sharing everyone’s creations, but it was the perfect motivation for me to get these made.  I’m ready for the next challenge!
Definitely a big check off my cooking bucket-list and they were just as good as I hoped.  
Soft, yeasty, dough with salty, garlicky, awesomeness swirled inside. 
I’m going out on a big limb here…but I think these make the cut…and will be on our Thanksgiving table this year.  I know I’d be excited to see a plate of these rolls waiting next to the mashed potatoes and bowl of olives.  But you don’t have to save them for a special occasion either.  I have to warn you they won’t last long, I think my guy ate 3 the first day, I had 2.  Yea..that reminds me I need to go to yoga tomorrow morning.  

I have a secret…I divided the dough in half and made some savory and some sweet, so keep your eye out for the next post.

What’s on your cooking bucket list?  Tell me in the comments.

Sun dried tomato pesto swirl rolls
(Adapted from Willow Bird Baking as part of her Challenge Series)

*The dough rises overnight*

1 8 oz jar of Sun Dried Tomato Pesto (I used Classico)
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 generous shake crushed red pepper flake (optional)
1 dash of black pepper
1 dash of garlic powder

Dough Ingredients:
1 package yeast
1/4 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 cups milk minus 2 tablespoons
2/3 cup cold shortening (I only had butter on hand)
1 tablespoons sugar* (adapted for savory rolls)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 cups flour

1.  In a small bowl mix together the warm water and yeast, let sit for about 10 minutes until foamy. 
2.  Measure out two tablespoons of vinegar into a liquid measuring cup and then fill the cup to the two cup line with milk.  Set aside.
3.  In a mixer set with a dough hook or large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar.  Cut in the shortening or butter using a fork or pastry blender until the butter pieces are the size of a large pea.  
4.  Now add the yeast mixture and milk mixture to the flour and mix well.
5.  Spray a large bowl with non stick spray and transfer the dough into it.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in the fridge over night.
6.  The next morning it will have grown!  High five for making it to this point. I held my breath as I opened the door.  okay… now flour your work surface generously.  Remove the dough from the bowl and begin to roll it out into a large rectangle.  At this point you can cut it in half if you’d like (I would say YES, because I used 1/2 for sweet rolls, and 1/2 for savory, which was AWESOME.)  But if you’d like 24 pesto rolls go for it.
7.  Roll the dough out flat into a rectangle and brush with butter.  Sprinkle the garlic powder over the butter…oh heaven.  Now spread out the pesto, I only used about 1/2 the jar, but use as much as you like.  Then sprinkle with black pepper and crushed red pepper flake for a little heat.
8.  Starting with the edge on the left start to roll the dough up like a yoga mat :) until it’s one long tube.  Using a sharp knife measure out 12 pieces, making little indentations so you can cut it later.  Cut into 12 pieces.  
9.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick spray (I used bakers joy) and place the 12 pieces in it evenly.  It will seem like there’s a lot of room but trust me.  Then cover with a towel and let rise a second time for 1.5-2 hours and doubled in size.
10.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. When it’s all ready, bake for 15-20 minutes until browned on top.  Enjoy!


  1. says

    Oh my yum! These sound delicious and I can’t wait for the sweet version too! I definitely would love to try making some cinnamon rolls… bread in general is a bit intimidating to me (though I can’t explain why!).

  2. says

    Savory swirl rolls? Sign me up! Now you’ve got me thinking about all the other delicious savory things that could get rolled up in dough…caramelized onion, perhaps?

  3. says

    Well I feel like I have so much to say right now! Here goes: I just love it when you bake…I can almost smell the rising dough and the sweet/tangy sun-dried tomatoes baking in the oven! I’m going to suggest to my mom that we make these for Thanksgiving – every year, she buys those Hawaiian rolls that come in the orange package…bleh! Like your hubs, I drive right in to a roll with a big bite.

    My cooking list is growing way too rapidly, which sadly makes me drop items off the cooking list to make room for new items. I’m thinking of a heavy German soup with cabbage and meatballs (yeah, I know, another soup recipe). I also want to make stuffed peppers since red bell peppers are on sale right now…hmm…pumpkin caramel-y cinnamon rolls would be delicious but I may have to refrain because everyone in my house is on the gluten-free train noooo fun. Apple cobbler…okay, that’s enough for now. ;)

    Can’t wait to see the sweet cinnamon roll you came up with!! :)