Thursday 2 January 2014

Hot and Moist Cardamom Spice Rolls

Gooey, sticky, yummy, the toothaches continue with spicy scrumptious cardamom rolls. This spin on the ever popular cinnamon roll is bound to give the old time champion a run for its money. While this recipe does include a *touch* of cinnamon, the star performer is really the cardamom. Known largely for its abundant presence in curries, this spice is also the darling of Scandinavian baking. So just this once, kick that curry out of your head and think of the rich smells of spice and butter mingling in a bakery, that’s what I want you focusing on, throw in a bowl of coffee or a strong cup of tea and you’re pretty near heaven if you ask me! This little recipe came out of some experimentation whereby I borrowed the yeast starter from James Peterson’s aptly entitled book Baking, and tinkered with his cinnamon roll recipe to make something American a tad more Scandinavian. You see, a few days ago, my dear roomie known to most of you as my guest photographer and helper, Elias, celebrated his birthday. How does one celebrate a Danish birthday? Well, there are many ways but one includes cardamom buns, buns which although Elias does admit to enjoying, are somewhat lackluster in the greater scheme of things. Fast-forward through some page-flipping, innovating, overheated bedroom and tadaa! Scrumptious, melt in your mouth pull apart cardamom rolls, smelling of birthdays, holidays and well…just plain happiness!

Take a go at these and I can tell you, the only thing you’ll regret is eating the whole pan!


For the Yeast Starter:
1 1/2 tsp. Active dry yeast
1 c. Flour
1c. Body temperature water

For the Dough:
¼ tsp Instant yeast
3 ½ c. Flour
2/3 c. 10% Cream
1 tsp Salt
Zest of one lemon (optional)
1 Egg

For the Filling:
-¾ c. Salted butter
-2 c. Brown sugar
-3/4tsp - 1tsp. (to taste) Freshly ground cardamom
-1/4 tsp. Powdered cinnamon
-Pinch of salt
-1/2 tsp. Vanilla
-2 tbsp Water (optional)

1) First, make the yeast starter, combine the yeast with warm water, let sit 5 minutes, add to the 1 cup of flour.
2) Let sit 1-2 hours* in a warm room in a sealed container or plastic wrapped bowl until doubled in size 
3) Combine starter with dough ingredients adding the starter to the flour, yeast, zest and salt begin mixing in a stand mixer with a dough hook or knead. Add the beaten egg and cream, work dough until soft, smooth and slightly tacky (~5-7 minutes for mixer, 10 minutes by hand).
4) Let completed dough rise another hour or two
5) Grease a pan or two, I managed to fit them into a single 9x13 but they were...cozy. If you don't mind cutting them from each other, go ahead with one (less dishes!).
6) Mix the ingredients for the filling on low heat until it becomes a paste and then a bit further until it becomes syrupy, feel free to ease the process with some water.
7) Once the dough has risen, roll it out on a well floured surface until about 1 cm thick. You're hoping to get a long rectangle, about 10 inches in width and as long as you can get it.
8) leaving about 1.5 cm around the edge of the dough, warm up the filling slightly, spread it, working quickly, across the surface of the dough.
9) Carefully roll (sometimes it's better with a tad of help!) the dough into a long tube by grasping the edge of the long section and curling it inwards.
10) Cut the cinnamon rolls, about every 3.5 cm with a sharp knife or with dental floss, wrapping it around the bottom of the roll and pulling both ends like a garrote. Work quickly so that the sauce does not ooze out of the rolls, lay them in the greased pan or on an edged cookie sheet giving each roll 3-4 cms or so distance from the other. Preheat oven at 350, Let proof about 30 min. to an hour before baking at 350 for about 35 minutes
11) Eat hot, fresh from the oven, don't burn yourself and most importantly: forget any New Years resolutions involving healthy eating

*my rising times are approximate because they depend on temperature, barometric pressure, humidity etc. in most cases, if possible, stick to the longer time

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