These soft rolls hold a sweet swirl of lemon and spices!
How many of you like to bake or cook with cardamom?
This is not a spice that I grew up using or often finding in baked goods, but I do enjoy using it now.
When I set up our Cocoa & Eggnog Station at holiday time I always include a little shaker of it alongside cinnamon.
And I’ve noticed while watching my fave, The Great British Baking Show that the bakers in the iconic tent will often incorporate cardamom into their creations.
So what does cardamom taste like? How do you describe it? I always get a citrus note first and then the mint or menthol flavor, but it’s much more than that. The website Spruce Eats describes it as, “citrusy, minty, spicy and herbal.” They covered all the bases! Tasting Table also describes cardamom as herbal but adds that it has “notes of pine, yet something about it whispers sweet.”
This spice actually goes well with sweet and savory dishes, and it makes a very tasty blend with cinnamon and nutmeg. It is one of the spices in chai tea, and also in some curries. The spice is very popular in Scandinavian breads, rolls and pastries.
The ground cardamom found in the spice aisle is usually made from green cardamom pods. If you have a a jar of ground cardamom that’s been buried in your cabinet forever, get rid of it and buy some new. You might try to rationalize and say, “Oh I think there’s still some scent there.” But, when you open and smell a fresh jar there’s no mistaking how strong and spicy it should be.
It can be a little pricey so you can always go in on some with a friend, or just make a pledge to whip up a bunch of recipes and use all your cardamom!
In this recipe cardamom is part of the buttery, sugary, lemony filling swirled inside sweet rolls. There’s a bit of cinnamon in there, too! Every article you read about cardamom will warn you against going too heavy with it, because too much can taste more medicinal than pleasant.
Trial and error brought me to two teaspoons in this recipe: enough that the taste comes through and stays in that citrusy sweet-spot!
After baking I like to flip the whole pan out on a tray or cutting board. Some of that buttery, spicy filling seeps out as the rolls heat up and bake, and by flipping them bottom side-up you ensure that all of that filling stays with the rolls – and any left in the pan can be spooned over!
These are sooo delicious with a cup of coffee for breakfast or snack!
The recipe is below, and if you want some other tempting treats to enjoy with a cuppa I have a few for you!
Lemon & Cardamom Sweet Rolls
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 8 tablespoons butter, unsalted and very soft, divided
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, unbleached plus extra for kneading
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom (make sure your cardamom is not an old jar from years ago. It should have a nice, strong aroma!)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice, divided
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
Make the dough:
- Heat 1 cup of the milk in the microwave just until it is warm – not hot. Stir the yeast into the milk and allow it to sit and activate for 10 minutes.
- Pour this mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer, and add in 4 tablespoons of the soft butter and 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar. Mix these ingredients together. Add in the eggs, one at a time and then the salt. Pour the 4 cups of flour into the bowl and mix it in until a wet sticky dough forms and there are no lumps of butter.
- Lightly flour a work surface. Turn the dough out onto this surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Knead the dough for 10 minutes – a bench scraper is very handy in the beginning to help pull the sticky dough up and over. Sprinkle more flour over the dough and work surface as needed during kneading. After 10 minutes the dough should be smooth, still a little tacky, but firm. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 90 minutes at room temperature.
Make the filling:
- While the dough rises mix together in a small bowl the remaining granulated sugar, cardamom, cinnamon and lemon zest. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice until the mixture looks like wet sand.
Assemble the rolls:
- Have ready a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with the sides and bottom greased.
- After the first rising tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press it down to push out the air bubbles. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Then roll the dough out into a rectangle roughly 12 inches by 18 inches.
- Spread the remaining 4 tablespoons of soft butter over the rectangle, leaving an inch wide edge at the long sides. Sprinkle the sugar-spice filling over the butter distributing it evenly over the whole buttered area.
- Starting at a long edge. Roll the dough up into a cylinder, pinching the seam together. Use a long, serrated knife to cut the cylinder into 12 equal pieces. (When using the knife resist the urge to press it into the dough. Instead draw it back and forth gently over the dough cylinder, lightly pushing it down as it cuts through so that the pieces are not compressed.)
- Place the 12 pieces into the prepared baking dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 30 minutes in a room temperature spot. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When 30 minutes has passed place the dish in the oven.
- Bake the rolls for 35-40 minutes – they’ll be lightly browned over the tops. Have ready a platter or sheet large enough to hold the rolls. Remove the rolls from the oven and immediately flip the rolls over onto the waiting platter or sheet – so that the bottoms are now facing up. If any filling is still in the baking dish scrape it out over the hot rolls.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of milk, the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice and the confectioner’s sugar to make a thin glaze. Drizzle this glaze over the warm rolls, Slice the rolls apart and serve!
- Leftover rolls can be stored wrapped, at room temperature for up to 3 days.