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.
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.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll out into a roughly 14x7 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.
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.
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