Petite cardamom coffee rolls make me happy.
I’ve been on a bun roll lately (Ha! Get it? A bun roll! Teehee! Okay, that’s enough now.) in an effort to free my lab’s lunchroom of crumbs that inevitably accumulate from people hacking away at a loaf of bread. Yeah, they hack at the loaf with crumbs flying everywhere: on the platter, on the counter, scattered all over the computer keyboards… ugh. Then I feel bad and clean it up. I guess, though, that it doesn’t help if the only knife we have in the lunchroom is one that I got in a set of 12 for $3? This lone knife is also usually dirty because people “forget” to wash it after they use it (ugh x 2), so the loaves sometimes just get hand-handled. Anyway, rolls are great because then everyone can take one (or two) and enjoy. I also love the way the rolls cozy up to their neighbours during the final rise, begging to be pulled apart while they’re still warm out of the oven.
Patricia posted the following recipe for cardamom coffee rolls on her lovely blog, Technicolor Kitchen. The rolls are incredibly light, and delicious, and make your kitchen smell like cardamom heaven while they’re baking, AND they come with warm Brazilian hugs! (Patricia is from Brazil.) Now that Vermont is going through a temporary warm spell, they come with warm Vermonter hugs too.
Cardamom Coffee Rolls
– 1 cup (240ml) whole milk
– 1 ½ cups (210g) unbleached all-purpose flour
I used bread flour because that’s what I had on hand – ran out of all-purpose flour. (Eek!)
– 2 1/4 tsp active or dry yeast
– ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
– 1 large egg, at room temperature
– 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
– 4 tablespoons (½ stick – 56g) unsalted butter, very soft
– 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 1 ¼ cups (175g) unbleached all purpose flour, plus more if needed
Again, I used bread flour here. It took considerably more flour, probably closer to 2 – 2 1/4 cups for me here, but use your intuition to adjust the amount of flour until the dough feels like it’s at the right consistency.
– 1/4 cup sliced almonds
– 2 tbsp granulated sugar
I used pearl sugar because I thought it would look pretty on top of the rolls.
– 1/4 tsp ground cardamom, preferably freshly ground
– 1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
To make the sponge:
Scald the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat – you’ll see steam rising from the surface of the milk and small bubbles forming around the edges. Remove the pan from the heat and cool the milk until it is between 120 and 130ºF (48 – 54ºC).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and yeast. Add the hot milk and whisk to make a smooth, thick batter. Bang the whisk on the rim of the bowl to remove any clinging batter, and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise until the sponge has double in volume, about 1 hour.
To make the dough by hand (which is what I did), scrape the sponge into a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar, egg, egg yolk, butter, cardamom and salt. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and very elastic. Stir in the flour and beat again for 5 minutes. The dough should be elastic, soft and just slightly sticky. Sprinkle your work surface with 2 tablespoons flour and place the dough on it. Knead for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is only slightly tacky. Wash and dry the bowl, lightly oil it or coat with cooking spray, and replace the dough in the bowl, turning to coat.
To make the dough with a stand mixer, scrape the sponge into the mixer bowl and add the sugar, egg, egg yolk, butter, cardamom and salt. Attach the flat beater and beat on low speed for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes or until the dough becomes ropy, masses onto the beater and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Scrape the bowl and beater, and remove the paddle. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour. Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed, then increase the speed to medium to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes to make a soft, elastic, slightly sticky dough. Scrape the bowl and remove the dough hook.
Sprinkle the dough with 1 tablespoon flour. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.
Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour, and scrape the dough onto it with a pastry scraper. Turn to coat both sides of the dough lightly with flour. Divide the dough into 15 equal portions (I wanted them slightly bigger and made 12 rolls instead) with a pastry scraper or a sharp knife. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Butter a 13x9x2in (32x22x5cm) baking pan or coat with cooking spray (I just used a nonstick 13x9x2 pan). Shape each piece of dough into a ball, sealing the seam on the underside of the dough firmly. Place the balls seam side down in the pan, 3 across and 5 down (for 12: 3 across and 4 down), leaving a bit of space between them. Coat the tops of the rolls lightly with cooking spray and drape a sheet of plastic wrap loosely over them. Let rise until the rolls have doubled in size, about 1 hour. The rolls will be touching each other with small gaps between them.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC.
To make the topping, stir together the almonds, sugar and cardamom in a small bowl.
When the rolls have risen, uncover them and brush them with the egg wash. Sprinkle with the almond mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the rolls are nicely browned, the nuts are toasted and the rolls spring back when gently pressed. Cool the rolls in their pan on a wire tack for 10 minutes, then, with a wide metal spatula, remove them from the pan and set them on the wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or in a plastic bag, the rolls can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. They can be reheated successfully, one at a time, in a microwave oven set on defrost for about 30 seconds. The rolls can be frozen once completely cool. Place them on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer them to a heavy-duty plastic resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 1 month. To refresh them, thaw them completely in their wrapping, then unwrap the rolls, place them on a baking sheet and pop into a preheated 325ºF/165ºC oven for about 10 minutes.
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