Sourdough Almond Rolls
Inspired by two of my favorite treats–cinnamon rolls and almond croissants–these sourdough rolls are light on butter but with all the lovely almond flavor I love.
Five days ago our 18-year old cat, Pilot, took his last breath at home. I’d like to say that he passed naturally in his sleep but because of ailments he’d been suffering (to be expected for his age) and sudden onset blindness almost two weeks ago, we had to make the agonizing decision to let him go. The best we could do for him was to arrange the final vet visit at home because the the two-mile drive to the clinic was always so traumatic for him. We didn’t want his last moments to be filled with panic and unease and the fact that he was with us in his favorite spot in the family room provided some measure of comfort.
We adopted him when he was only eight weeks old, not too long after my husband and I had decided to build a permanent life together so Pilot had been a part of our family from the very beginning.
It’s hard for me to remember the time before he came along, though I recall the day we brought him home like it was yesterday. It’s been a great loss–this is a depth of sadness I never expected even though I’d been around pets most of my life. I calculated that he was with us for almost 40% of my life–that’s a long time. But more than just attachment that grows as a function of time, Pilot was one of the most loving, affectionate creatures I have ever been blessed to live with. He had such a strong personality and gave back the love we gave him in double measure.
Our home is quieter and feels a little emptier right now. We miss his little chirps (he never meowed) and endearing antics. I still can’t talk about him without breaking into tears but I know time will heal our hearts and this sadness will be replaced by all the fond memories and our appreciation for the time we did have with him.
I have no clever segue between my kitty and this recipe. To be quite honest, this recipe was something I prepared almost two months ago. I had intended to share it much sooner but with a busy past few months entertaining out-of-town family and friends and the last couple of weeks dedicated to providing a comfortable environment for our cat the recipes have had to take a back seat.
So I’m relieved I’ve had these rolls sitting around in my draft box because I haven’t intended to be absent from this blog for three weeks.
These sourdough almond rolls are a tasty mashup of two of my favorite treats, cinnamon rolls and almond croissants. After years of waiting I’ve finally found a pastry shop in town that serves almond croissants worth the calorie splurge but I still couldn’t justify indulging a few times a week. I had also been wanting to attempt sourdough cinnamon rolls for a while so these happened instead.
These sourdough rolls have much less butter than almond croissants so the flaky factor is missing but masquerading as rolls with, not cinnamon but an almond cream filling, they are the best of both worlds in my humble opinion.
Are they the thing to mend our broken hearts during this season of loss? Not necessarily…but they are a welcome treat to sprinkle a little sweetness into our days.
Sourdough Almond Rolls
- 150 grams (about 2/3 cup) fed sourdough starter unfed starter would work, too.
- 3/8 cup room temperature milk
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (optional)
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (or bread flour)
- 1 egg
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon softened butter
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Almond Cream Filling (makes 1 1/2 cups)
- 100 grams (1 cup) almond meal
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange juice (or water)
Prepare the Dough
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment add the milk and starter. Turn on the mixer and set to Speed 2 or 4 and add the following in this order: sugar, egg, softened butter, yeast (if using) and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and continue mixing until combined. It will be a pretty moist mixture but if it looks wet add the last 1/4 cup. I added all the flour in this recipe. Continue mixing until the dough starts coming off the sides.
Transfer the dough to a large bowl whose inside surface has been buttered or oiled. Coat the surface of the dough with oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. Depending on the temperature in your kitchen and whether or not you used the yeast, this could take from 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You can make the almond cream while you wait.
Make the Almond Cream Filling
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment mix the sugar, almond meal, butter and salt until well blended. Add the almond extract and one egg and mix. Add the second egg if your mixture looks too dry. I used two eggs for this recipe. Transfer to a bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Prepare the Rolls
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll out into a roughly 14×7 inch rectangle. Spread the 1 tablespoon of softened butter on the surface of the dough followed by the almond filling. You don't want to overfill the rolls so you will have some filling left over.
Roll the log from the long end and pinch the ends to seal. This will be quite a soft dough so it will take some finessing to roll it out. Don't worry if it's a little messy. Lay the log seam side down and slice into roughly one-inch disks. The disks will be wet because of the filling and they will look misshapen but this is okay.
Transfer the disks to a buttered baking sheet or cast iron skillet like I've done for this recipe. Cover the skillet with plastic wrap and let rise a second time, another 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Bake the Rolls
After the second rise, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Bake the rolls for 10-15 minutes or until the tops of the rolls are golden. Remove from the oven, wait to cool slightly and brush glaze on top (optional). Serve with coffee or tea.
Combine the sugar and orange juice and stir until smooth.
These have more the texture of Svenhard Bear Claws (if you’re familiar with those from the markets) than conventional cinnamon rolls.
* Recipe for the rolls adapted from this Cinnamon Roll recipe from Alderman farms I found on Youtube.
* The Almond Cream filling was adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini’s Perfect Almond Croissants recipe.