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Monday
Dec102012

Almond Cardamom Rolls

Almond Cardamom Croissants

In a hidden gem of a bakery in the vibrant city of Montreal, I sat down to my first almond croissant. The tiny bakery, Kouign-Amann, held only 3 tables, but the atmosphere felt so cozy and inviting it made me feel as if I belonged. The bakery was open to the kitchen where the bakers rolled out beautiful sheets of homemade puff pastry. The pastries were classically French, but the bakery had a vibe that could only come from the soul of Montreal. Despite its small size, I had never encountered a more active bakery in my life (and I doubt I will again) as the door swung open so often I rarely saw it close for more than a moment.

On this particular day, I was lucky enough to find myself a seat at a table. The almond croissant was larger than my two fists put together, standing tall from the flaky layers. Covered with powdered sugar and sliced almonds, I found it a mess to eat as the tender crumbs scattered over the table and onto my lap as the croissant gradually disappeared. Somehow, though, it was perfect.

Perfect for the moment, perfect for the city, perfect for the place I was at in my life.

Almond Cardamom Croissants Almond Cardamom Croissants

My roommate introduced me to the bakery a few days earlier. I had just moved into an apartment a few blocks down and to break up the rush of a trip to buy furniture, she pulled me into the small bakery on our walk to the metro, ordered me a plain croissant, and warned me that it would be the best I would ever eat. She was right.

From then on, I walked past the bakery regularly as I made my way around the city. The bakery, to its credit, kept the ovens on throughout the day so it was possible to get warm pastries any time of day. The temptation to resist, I found, was often too much. Every time I made my way through the bakery door, I fell a little more in love with pastries, more smitten with baking.

Almond Cardamom Croissants

It was a cold fall afternoon when I stepped in the bakery after a rush of holiday shopping. The bakery was humid, as the hot air from the ovens mixed with the frigid air from outdoors. I ordered an almond croissant and managed to snag one of the coveted seats in the busy room, dropping my packages by my feet. French language bounced off the walls as the windows fogged over with steam, condensation running down the panes to reveal the bustling street outside. An old man sat across from me, a newspaper spread across the table, a coffee in hand. The moment itself made me feel so rich, so alive. Emboldened by the atmosphere and a mouthful of croissant, I made up my mind about a decision that had been haunting me for quite some time.

It was the moment I made the decision to pursue pastries.

Almond Cardamom Croissants

Almond Cardamom Rolls are inspired from the pastries I fell in love with in Montreal. The dough is no-knead, which makes it much less work than its traditional counterpart. A touch of sour cream brings a tenderness to the rolls and the addition of cardamom adds the right amount of spice. The rolls are filled with a mixture of almond paste and brown sugar, which is rich and deeply flavorful. A simple vanilla glaze and a sprinkle of sliced almonds finishes off the light rolls. The rolls can also be made the night before and baked the next morning to serve warm for family and friends.

One Year Ago: Peppermint Pinwheels
Two Years Ago: Pear Chips

Almond Cardamom Rolls

Yields 24 rolls

Cardamom Rolls
2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1/4 cup (60 ml) barely warm water
1/4 cup (60 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (115 grams) sour cream
2 3/4 (350 grams) bread flour (all purpose will work)

Almond Filling
8 ounces (227 grams) almond paste
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons (40 grams) butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Egg Wash + Vanilla Glaze
1 large egg
3 tablespoons milk, divided
1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sliced almonds, for garnish

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the barely warm water and allow to sit about 5 minutes until activated (looks frothy). Stir in sugar, cardamom, salt, melted butter, eggs, and sour cream. Gradually add the flour, mixing until it has been incorporated. Cover dough with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours. Punch down dough and allow to rise a second time until doubled, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, to create the almond filling, crumble the almond paste into a small bowl. Add in the brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla, and salt, mixing until it forms a thick dough. Set aside.

Divide dough in half and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a 12-inch circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 12 equal slices (like a pizza). Divide almond filling into 1/2 tablespoon-sized pieces. Form each piece into a small log and place 1-inch from the wide end of each roll. Starting on the wide end, roll up each dough slice like a croissant. Set the rolls pointed end down on a baking sheet. Cover and allow to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

(Alternatively, to make them for the next morning, cover with foil before rising and place in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator and allow the rolls to warm to room temperature and rise until doubled.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon milk to make the egg wash. Brush each roll generously and bake rolls for 15-20 minutes, or until golden.

In another small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk. Drizzle over rolls and sprinkle with almonds.

Reader Comments (17)

Oh, I will be making these soon but I will fill mine with chocolate sticks instead
12.10.2012 | Unregistered Commentertami
I voted for you...they look amazing! Have a great week :)
12.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
I love almond croissants but these look like a much easier, more delicious alternative to make! (voted for you ;) )
12.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIzy
I MUST try these! There was a local bakery where I lived in London that made similar ones (at least looks wise!) and they were FANTASTIC!

ps. I am seriously crushing on your blog (in a non creepy way of course) (I cannot believe I just discovered it last weeeeek!)
12.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaola @gnom-gnom
How fitting that I discover your blog the day you write a post about my hometown! Yes, we foodies are very fortunate here in Montreal. Your write-up about the city is lovely and your photos are gorgeous! Looking forward to browsing your recipes :)
12.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAriane
Almond Croissants are my life. These look like a great home hack, and the cardamom would be delicious, I think. Loving your work, as always.
12.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
Hmm...could you recommend anything else to substitute for the almond paste? I have a rather pesky little nut allergy but I would love to try &make these!
12.11.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine
These look stunning.

I went to Paris with my mom for two days over the summer, and one of the best things I had there was an almond croissant. It was so soft and tender with the most amazing almond flavor.
Becca, you are right on. Paris is the place for not only almond croissants but chocolate as well. I like mine with a good cup of single origin, single estate coffee.
12.12.2012 | Unregistered Commentertom
Do you think you could make and freeze this recipe?
12.12.2012 | Unregistered Commenterleah
Leah-- You can! To make these rolls for freezing, I suggest adding an extra 1/2 teaspoon yeast (some of the yeast will die in the freezer so this ensures the dough will rise optimally). Follow the recipe and shape the rolls. Instead of letting the rolls rise, place them on a baking sheet in the freezer and let them firm up. As soon as they are hard, seal them in an airtight bag. Be sure to use them within 3 months! To thaw, spread them out on a baking sheet allow them to come to room temperature and then rise. The rest of the recipe should be the same!
12.13.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
These look lovely, I'd love to give them a try. I like your photography a lot also.
I made these rolls today...they were amazing!! it was so soft with just the right amount of sweetness for me...a very gud alternative to almond croissant...ur pics are soooo gud nd mouthwatering! :) will be making these again..
12.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterPriya
I made these and they were amazing!
01.6.2013 | Unregistered CommenterGenesis
Oh my! These look delectable! Will be bookmarking this to make soon! Thanks for the recipe.
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
Saw these yesterday and then made them last night! An absolute hit! I made these exactly like you had said and they turned out perfect. Thank you so much for your beautiful photos and recipes!
02.14.2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrienne
I made this the other day. I was very pleased how it turned out. Not too sweet a very tasty roll. I will make this again. I will cut into 8 pieces instead of 12 for half of the dough. I like them a little bit bigger, but that is just me.
I enjoy looking around your blog. You have some great recipes, I will be making a lot more.
Thank You.
01.31.2014 | Unregistered CommenterTony

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