recipe: cardamom rolls

I really meant to post this recipe for cardamom rolls before Christmas because this is a traditional thing that we make for Christmas, but I didn't make mine until christmas day so... without a photo--it's not so interesting. My mom usually makes these yummy cardamom rolls and since she didn't make it here for Christmas I was forced to make my own... they were okay, but lacking in my moms secret... I still don't know what it is but hers are definitely better!

I think that if you are a baker these will be a snap. Cardamom rolls are a traditional Swedish Christmas treat--cardamom bread or rolls but either way... the smell of cardamon in the house really makes a cold snowy day fell like a Holiday. This year I ended up making six loaves of cardamom bread and then this one batch of rolls because I know the kids couldn't live without them! The loaves are beautiful because I braid them and this turned out to be my gift to my friends this year (sorry forgot to photograph before I gave them away!). It was my first time baking bread and I thought it was really fun and much easier that I had anticipated.

This recipe is from a Swedish cookbook that I could not do without! "Swedish Cakes and Cookies" which has been translated from Swedish and uses American measurements (you can buy it here from the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis)

oven temp: 450F or 425F for a convection oven
2/3 cup stick margarine or butter (butter!)
2 cups milk
1 3/4 ounces fresh yeast or 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
5 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

4 ounces almond paste
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
3 tablespoons stick margarine or butter

brushing and garnish:
1 egg, lightly beaten
pearl sugar

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add the milk and heat until lukewarm, around 100F. If using active dry yeast, heat to 115F.
Crumble the yeast in a large bowl and add some of the milk mixture, stirring until disolved. Add the remaining liquid, salt, sugar, cardamom and around 2/3 of the flour, mixing to combine.
Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Add more flour, but reserve 1/2-3/4 cup. The dough is ready when it no onger sticks to the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle a little flour over the dough so that it doesn't dry out. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm draft-free place. Let rise until doubled.
Punch down the dough and knead it into he bowl for a few minutes. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in the remaining flour. The dough is ready when it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl and hands. If the dough is cut, the exposed surface should have even pores. If there are big holes, it hasn't been kneaded enough.

Grate the almond paste and mix with the cardamom and butter until smooth.
Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a flat rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread the filling over the dough. Roll up and cut into even slices. Place them, cut side up, in paper baking cups or on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Cover and let rise until doubled. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. (my mom used frosting (so I did too) I put it on afterwords when they were slighlty warm.. that may be a bit of an American touch, I think it's because it used to be hard to find the pearl sugar)
Bake on the center oven rack for 8-10 minutes.

I hope that you enjoy them!! and if you have any suggestions or want to make a comment on how yours turned out please let us know!!

I thought I would share with you the HUGE mess that I make when I bake.... somehow it feels more festive when it's a mess!