Forget classic cinnamon rolls—these Cardamom Pistachio Rolls are spiced with cardamom and studded with salty pistachios, making them a breakfast treat that’s well worth the effort.
Cardamom Pistachio Rolls
- ¼ cup (60 grams) warm water (105°F/41°C to 110°F/43°C)
- 2¼ teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
- ⅓ cup (67 grams) plus ½ teaspoon (2 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup (240 grams) whole milk, room temperature and divided
- 4 tablespoons (60 grams) fresh lemon juice, divided
- 1 large egg (50 grams), room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk (19 grams), room temperature
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) vanilla extract
- 3½ cups (438 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup (110 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup (57 grams) finely chopped roasted salted shelled pistachios
- ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon (6 grams) ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cardamom
- 1 to 1½ teaspoons (1 to 1.5 grams) lemon zest
- 1 cup (120 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, whisk together ¼ cup (60 grams) warm water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon (2 grams) granulated sugar by hand. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
- Add ¾ cup (180 grams) milk, 2 tablespoons (30 grams) lemon juice, egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and remaining ⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar, whisking to combine.
- With mixer on medium speed, add flour and salt, beating just until dough comes together. Scrape sides of bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium-high, and beat for 4 minutes. Add softened butter, and beat until dough is smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, about 6 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours.
- Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.
- On a lightly floured surface, stretch dough into a 16×12-inch rectangle using wet hands.
- In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, pistachios, melted butter, cinnamon, cardamom, and zest. Spread filling onto dough, leaving a ½-inch border. Starting with one long side, roll dough into a log; pinch seam to seal. Place log, seam side down, on work surface. Trim ½ inch off each end. Cut into 8 rolls, and place in prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Bake until light golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar, remaining ¼ cup (60 grams) milk, and remaining 2 tablespoons (30 grams) lemon juice until combined. Place in a resealable plastic bag. Cut corner from bag, and drizzle icing onto rolls.
Keep your hands wet when stretching dough. This keeps dough from sticking and also keeps you from adding additional flour. Brush any additional flour off dough with a dry pastry brush as you are rolling.
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You won’t ever go back to classic cinnamon rolls again. We filled these golden rolls with chocolate, but not just any chocolate—Mexican cinnamon chocolate. Stone-ground, Mexican-style dark chocolate is filled with warm cinnamon spice and has a subtle grittiness that gives these cinnamon rolls even more explosive flavor and complex texture. Once you smother the rolls in the luscious Cream Cheese Glaze, serve them straight from the skillet to keep them warm and gooey.
For more cozy ways to bake with cast iron, pick up a copy of our January/February 2020 issue!
Mexican Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls
- 3½ to 3¾ cups (438 to 469 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- 2¼ teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast*
- 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
- ½ cup (120 grams) water
- ½ cup (120 grams) whole milk
- ⅔ cup (152 grams) unsalted butter, softened and divided
- 1 large egg (50 grams)
- 2 tablespoons (10 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
- ⅔ cup (113 grams) chopped Mexican-style stone-ground cinnamon chocolate (3 disks) (see PRO TIP)
- Cream Cheese Glaze (recipe on opposite page)
- Garnish: ground cinnamon
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1½ cups (188 grams) flour, ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar, yeast, and 1½ teaspoons (4.5 grams) salt.
- In a medium saucepan, heat ½ cup (120 grams) water, milk, and ⅓ cup (76 grams) butter over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add warm milk mixture to flour mixture, and beat at medium speed until combined. Add egg, beating until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2 cups (250 grams) flour, beating just until combined and stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at low speed until a soft, smooth, and somewhat sticky dough forms and pulls away from sides of bowl, 8 to 9 minutes. Add up to remaining ¼ cup (31 grams) flour, if necessary. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and shape into a smooth round.
- Lightly spray a large bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour.
- Spray a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa, cinnamon, remaining ⅓ cup (76 grams) butter, remaining ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar, and remaining ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) salt.
- Lightly punch down dough. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Spread cocoa mixture onto dough, leaving a ½-inch border on one long side. Sprinkle with chopped chocolate. Starting with opposite long side, roll up dough, jelly roll style; pinch seam to seal. Gently shape log to 18 inches long and even thickness, if necessary. Using a serrated knife dipped in flour, cut log into 12 slices (about 1½ inches thick). Place slices, cut side down, in prepared skillet. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Bake until lightly golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 35 to 40 minutes, loosely covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool in skillet for 10 minutes. Top with Cream Cheese Glaze; garnish with cinnamon, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*We used Red Star® Active Dry Yeast.
PRO TIP: We used Taza Chocolate Cinnamon Dark Chocolate Mexicano, available at Whole Foods, local Hispanic grocery stores, or online. Very minimally processed, Mexican chocolate has a grainier, chalkier texture than the chocolate you might normally get and offers more-complex, explosive flavor. Any type of Mexican cinnamon dark chocolate, available at most grocery stores, or 50% cacao dark chocolate will work in this recipe.
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 4 ounces (110 grams) cream cheese, softened
- 1½ tablespoons (10.5 grams) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 grams) whole milk
- In a medium bowl, whisk cream cheese until smooth. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar. Add milk, 1 tablespoon (15 grams) at a time, until fluid.
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