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.
Keith Gooderham says
As ever a wonderful dish and superb photographs but your first words about Pilot struck an especially poignant chord having just lost my own cat, Bramble under very similar circumstances. One of the things that I did as part of the recovery / grieving process was to write a list of all the things that made her so special – in the end I had a full sheet of memories which in itself is a hard read but something to remember her by.
Keith, I’m sorry for the loss of your Bramble. It’s been over two months and we still miss our Pilot every day. Thank you for your suggestions in keeping his memories alive–we are not at a point where we can talk about him and fondly remember his antics without breaking into tears. Thank you!
It’s so hard to lose our pets. I feel for you both. I think the almond rolls were in your draft box for a reason… XOGREG
Kelly | Foodtasia says
Jean, so sorry about your loss. Losing a cherished pet is heart breaking. Love how you put an almond filling in these rolls. I know what you mean about finding a good almond croissant. I crave the really good ones, but too often come across the ones I get I can’t even finish. I try not to think about the calories! Also love how you’ve made these rolls with sourdough. They must be so delicious!
What a wonderful recipe! Thank you so much! I am making this recipe for the second time, because it leads to the most delicious sourdough rolls I’ve made so far.
Pull apart soft, sourdough buns, balanced perfectly by buttery almond sweetness. I bypassed the icing and thought they were still very yummy. My son did a silly dance of delight when we all shared our last roll, because it was so tasty. I did much slower all day and overnight rises also, as only used sourdough starter. Thank you again, so clever! 🙂
Erin, thanks so much for your very nice feedback. So glad you and your son have been enjoying this! 🙂
Lily Davies says
I’ve been a silent admirer of your blog and recipes for a couple years. I’m a recent convert to sourdough having been gifted a starter a couple months ago. This morning my husband and I enjoyed these rolls with our lattes. It was one of the best things I’ve made and eaten! Dangerous. Just had to tell you. THANKS!
Lily, this is one of the nicest comments I’ve received on this blog–thank you so much for your feedback. I’m so glad you and your husband liked these almond rolls. I hope you are enjoying your sourdough baking journey and if you ever have any questions, I’d be happy to help. 🙂
I found this recipe quite by accident & it received rave reviews! I love anything almond & it was a wonderful way to use sourdough starter. I sprinkled some sliced almonds & cardamom over the filling before rolling. Sliced almonds on top of the glaze would be good as well. It’s such a unique and easy recipe & I appreciate that it didn’t have an excessive amount of butter. I will be making this again, thank you so much!
Irene, thanks so much for your nice feedback. I’m so glad you found this recipe and that you enjoyed it. I love cardamom and your use of it here. Thanks so much again. 🙂