These delicious and incredibly tender rolls are the result of a recipe taken from the book I won at Allen’s giveaway a couple of weeks ago. But that’s not all: Allen is such a dear that he sent me not only the book but also lots of other gifts!
Inside the huge box, there were dried cherries, lavender and 2 products from the Martha Stewart line: a gorgeous plate (the one holding the roll on the photo) and the beautiful and wonderful recipe box! The one I have been meaning to buy for months. I was going to buy it later this year, since Joao and I were planning a trip to the US. Unfortunately, it will have to be postponed to 2009.
I was so glad with my presents I started screaming and jumping around the house – Tom Cruise/Oprah’s couch style. :)
Allen, thank you very, very much for your kindness and generosity, my friend.
Cardamom coffee rolls
from A Baker's Odyssey
1 cup (240ml) whole milk
1 ½ cups (210g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) 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
¼ cup sliced or slivered almonds, chopped into small pieces – I preferred not to chop them
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon 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, 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 (which is what I did): 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 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. 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, 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 lower third position and preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC (I chose to bake them in the center of the oven).
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.