Cardamom sweet rolls

Time 50 minutes
Yields Serves 12
Print RecipePrint Recipe

Cardamom adds a powerfully sweet, somehow magical note to the simplest pastry or dessert. It’s deeply, transportingly aromatic. It’s like a gift the magi could have brought. Somehow, cardamom seems celebratory.

Green cardamom is the one you want to use for baking. When you buy it, look for plump pods; they have the most flavor. Inside are three compartments containing small seeds -- about 15 or 20 total. When the cardamom is fresh, the seeds are slightly sticky. Although you’ll find green cardamom in a good supermarket, the best place to buy it is an Indian or Middle Eastern market, where it’s available in bulk and more likely to be fresh.

Always grind the cardamom yourself -- the essential oils responsible for the beguiling flavor and aroma dissipate soon after grinding. Before you grind, lightly crush the pods with a rolling pin. Pull the pods apart and scrape out the seeds, then go at it with the mortar and pestle or grinder. Store uncrushed pods in a tightly covered container.

From the story: Put this in your shaker, baker


Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and stir to dissolve. Let the yeast mixture stand while preparing the remaining ingredients.


Heat one-half cup of the milk in a small saucepan to just simmering. Remove it from the heat and add the cut-up butter, stirring until melted. Stir in 2 teaspoons cardamom, one-half cup granulated sugar and the salt. Allow the mixture to cool to warm.


Pour the warm milk mixture into the large bowl of an electric mixer. Add the yeast mixture. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then beat in 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Add enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.


Lightly flour a board and turn out the dough. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.


Put the dough into a buttered bowl, turning to coat all sides of the dough with butter. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.


Roll the dough with a rolling pin into a h 18-by-12-inch rectangle. Spread 2 tablespoons of the softened butter to within half an inch of the edge of dough. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar combined with remaining 1/2 teaspoon cardamom.


Using your hands, roll the dough up tightly from the long side to form a cylinder. Slice into 12 rolls. Place the cut rolls in a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Bake in a 350-degree oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes.


While the rolls are baking, make a glaze by combining the powdered sugar, the remaining one-fourth cup milk, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the vanilla. Stir until smooth.


Remove the rolls from the oven and let them stand for 5 minutes, then drizzle with the glaze and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.

From Donna Deane, Times Test Kitchen director.