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Almond Cardamom Buns


Last week, I felt a little under the weather. I spent the weekend in a little mountain town with my 2 nieces and a few other wonderful people, and although it was a joyfully chaotic few days, I came back home feeling like a balloon: stuffy nose, headache, sore throat... the classic "I-just-spent-3-whole-days-with-little-kids" symptoms that I've come to know quite well. Even still, I'm always shocked when it hits me because I spend the entire week beforehand preparing with inordinate intakes of Vitamin C and water. It's inevitable. So for the last 6 days, I've been constantly cold, constantly sneezing and sniffling and honestly just craving a warm cinnamon bun to curl up with next to my coffee.

And yesterday was the first day in a week that I was feeling mostly back to normal, so obviously that called for some cinnamon buns -- with a little twist.

These are Almond Cardamom Buns swimming in almond icing. I don't know about you, but cardamom is one of my absolute favorite flavors - warm, citrusy and just a little bit spicy, it's a short-term cure for a common cold (short-term meaning the time it takes you to eat one) and it's exactly what my lazy Sunday afternoon yesterday needed. A word of warning before you make these rolls: After its first rise, the dough is still very soft and sticky. You will need a generous amount of flour on your work surface while you knead to get it to the right consistency. If you feel like the dough is still much too soft to handle, put it in the fridge for an hour before you roll for it to firm up. Either way, be careful with how much flour you add -- too much will cause the rolls to be dry, and we don't want that!

Recipe adjusted from The Modern Proper

INGREDIENTS

Dough:

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons almond extract

1 package active dry yeast

5 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cardamom

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Almond Icing

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons whole milk

2 tsp almond extract

DIRECTIONS

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, vegetable oil, sugar and almond extract over medium heat until thoroughly warmed -- do not bring the mixture to a boil. Set aside to cool for 20-30 minutes, until the mixture has reached 100-115 degrees Fahrenheit. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Add the 5 cups of flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir until just combined. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise in a relatively warm place for an hour.

After it rises, remove the towel/plastic wrap and add the baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir thoroughly. *Dough will still be relatively soft.

Remove the dough from the bowl. On a floured work surface and using floured hands, knead the dough for 5-7 minutes, until it is soft and no longer tacky. Continue to add flour to avoid sticking if necessary.

Roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10 inches.

In a small bowl, combine all filling ingredients and stir until a thick, soft paste is formed. Using an offset spatula, evenly spread the filling over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border along the sides.

Beginning at the end furthest from you, roll the rectangle tightly toward you, being careful to keep the roll tight. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together. Using a sharp knife, slice rolls into 1-1/2 inch slices.

Arrange the rolls in a greased 9x13 baking pan or two 9-inch round pans, being careful not to overcrowd. You should have about 15-18 rolls. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cover and allow the rolls to rise while the oven preheats, for at least 20 minutes.

Uncover the rolls and bake in the preheated oven for 15 - 18 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown and puffy. Do not allow them to get overly brown.

While the rolls are cooling, whisk together the icing ingredients in a small bowl. The icing should be fairly thick but still pourable. If it is too thin, add more sugar - if it is too thick, add more milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time.

While the rolls are still warm, generously pour the icing all over, being sure to reach the sides and the edges. As they cool, the icing will slightly harden. Serve warm or cover tightly and store at room temperature for a few days

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