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by Heather Harris Brady

All my fellow bakers out there probably understand what I’m talking about when I say I rarely make anything just to please myself. After all one of the greatest joys of baking is that you do it for other people, surprising them with the things they love. But there I was, with two rarities in my kitchen: a holiday afternoon and a can of almond paste. I’ve always been a complete pushover for anything almond, since it goes so well with tea. I’m not picky, I’ll take a storebought cookie turned out by the thousands or a handmade croissant. Despite their hefty size and appearance, these rolls are delicate with a strong almond flavor. I hope you’ll take this post as inspiration and bake something for yourself this week!

This recipe is from Beatrice Ojakangas Great Scandanavian Baking Book. It’s a slim, unassuming paperback and if you love baking you owe to yourself to get a copy. Ms. Ojakangas recommends baking these in paperlined cupcake tins, but my rolls seemed too large to fit. If you have larger muffin pans you might give those a try, as my rolls in the corners of my baking dish did rise higher than the rest.

Icelandic Almond Rolls, Makes 15 large rolls
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
3/4 c.  half and half, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
¼ c. softened unsalted butter
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 c. flour, plus an additional ½ c. for kneading

Filling
1 cup almond paste
1 egg
2 T. sugar
4 T. unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Glaze
2 c. powdered sugar
2-3 T. cream
1 tsp almond extract

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

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Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in the milk, butter, sugar, salt and eggs.

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Add flour, beating well.

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Cover and let dough stand until doubled.

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Turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead, adding the remaining ½ c. flour to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and satiny. While the rolls rise, prepare the almond filling. Process the almond paste with the egg, sugar, butter and vanilla until mixture is smooth and spreadable.

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Lightly grease your baking dish (see my note above.) Roll out the risen dough to make a rectangle about 24 inches long by 14 inches wide. Spread to within 1 inch of the edge with the almond filling.

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Roll so it makes a long log.  Cut into 1-inch pieces.

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Place in baking dish and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden.

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While the rolls are baking mix the powdered sugar, cream and almond extract to make a glaze.

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Move the rolls to a cooling rack and drizzle them with the glaze while they are still warm.

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As I mentioned, the rolls are delicate with the buttery almond filling all the way through. Once the glaze has set you can cover them lightly. These are amazing while they’re still warm but they’re pretty fantastic at room temperature too. If you’re keeping them for longer than a day or two I would store them in the fridge or freeze for longer storage.

One year ago: Berry Crumb Cake

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