Cherry Almond Cinnamon Rolls

Cherry Almond Cinnamon Rolls
Cherry Almond Cinnamon Rolls

You may remember my story about just how much I loved cherries as a kid and the great lengths I went through to get my hands on some. I still love cherries, but, I no longer resort to climbing my neighbor’s trees to get them! I usually have a bag of them in my grocery cart through cherry season. So, when I was challenged by OXO and the North West Cherry Growers to take on the 10 lb. Cherry Challenge, I didn’t hesitate!

Cherry Almond Cinnamon Rolls
These are the gorgeous cherries courtesy of North West Cherry Growers and the colander is part of a 9 Piece Nesting Bowls & Colanders Set courtesy of OXO.

My problem was narrowing my ideas down to one. I couldn’t. You may have seen these turkey burgers. And in a few days, I actually have the most crazy delicious cocktail with cherries! But today…it’s all about these rolls…

The smell alone of cinnamon rolls makes my knees weak. So, put that together with my life-long love affair with cherries and here you go!

There were a few elements I knew I needed to add to this. A few months ago when these scones happened, I had a conversation with the lovely Alanna, from The Bojon Gourmet. I confessed that I could eat almond paste straight out of the can! She told me about a pastry chef who would dot clumps of it in a baked good, so you’d bite into it and just get wonderful bits of that sweet, nutty paste. And let me tell you…it’s incredible!

The other element I wanted to incorporate, was something unusual, but I’ve used before on my blog. It’s a spice called mahleb. Mahleb is used in Middle Eastern and Greek baking. It comes from the little seed inside of the sour cherry pit. It is warm, sweet and nutty with hints of almond and cherry. This recipe would be incredible even without the mahleb…it just adds a unique flavor.

I know cinnamon rolls are a guilty pleasure, but these have been adapted from a great recipe from Cooking Light. So…I’m not selling these as a healthy breakfast…but if you crave cinnamon rolls…these are the way to go!

Cherry Almond Cinnamon Rolls

 

Cherry Almond Cinnamon Rolls

1 C. non fat milk, warmed for 1 minute 20 seconds in the microwave on high
3 T. + 2 T. butter, melted
1 T. + 1/4 C. sugar
1 pkg. quick rise yeast or 2 1/4 t.
1 large egg, beaten
2 T. mahleb, ground or 2 t. vanilla extract
4 C or 16 oz. all purpose flour (see Notes)
1/4 t. salt
1/2 C. packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 T. cinnamon
4 oz. almond paste
3 C. cherries, pitted and chopped

Icing
1 T. butter, room temperature
2 T. milk
1/2 t. Kirsh (cherry brandy) or vanilla extract
1 C. powdered sugar

In a large bowl, combine the milk, 3 tablespoons of the butter, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the yeast. Put it aside to activate the yeast for 10 minutes, then add the remaining 1/4 C. of sugar, the egg and the mahleb or vanilla. Stir to combine.

Measure your flour (see Notes) and place it in a medium bowl.

Stir in about 1 cup of the flour to the yeast mixture and allow to sit for ten minutes.

Add about 2 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt. Stir with a large rubber spatula to combine into a soft dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead it by pushing it away with the heel of your hand and bringing it back over itself for about 5 minutes. Keep adding more flour very sparingly as needed for stickiness. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover. Allow to sit for 10 minutes while you get the other ingredients ready.

Cherry Almond Cinnamon Rolls
This bowl is the largest in the OXO set. It’s so great for things like this with its tight fitting lid!

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and put aside.

Prepare two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a floured surface, turn out the dough and roll it into an 11 by 18 rectangle. Brush the dough with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter and sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the top. Next, crumble the almond paste into about pea size crumbs and sprinkle that evenly. Then, repeat with the chopped cherries.

Begin at the long side of the rectangle and roll the dough jelly-roll style into a log. Just keep moving from one end to the other as you carefully roll a bit at a time. Finish by rolling the log seam side down on the counter.

Using a ruler and a sharp knife, score one inch marks very lightly down the log, then cut into one inch slices. Use your sharpest knife and carefully cut in a slow sawing motion. The cherries will be juicy, but if you take your time, you’ll be fine.

As you cut the slices, move them onto your prepared baking sheets. Cover the rolls with a clean towel and allow to rise for about 40 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Uncover the rolls and bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes. Check them a few minutes earlier since all ovens can vary.

Prepare the icing by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.

When the rolls are done, cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool just a bit more.

Drizzle the icing over the rolls while they are still warm.

 

Cherry Almond Cinnamon Rolls

 

Notes:

  • I never realized how “off” my flour measurements could be until OXO sent me their Digital Kitchen Scale! If you don’t have one, it’s a great investment if you love to bake. I measured by the cup three times and got a different weight each time!
  • If you are not using a scale, try this method for measuring your flour: Give your flour a stir with a whisk to fluff it up before lightly scooping into a measuring cup, then lightly scrape the excess off the top with the straight edge of a knife.
  • I wanted my rolls to be individual. You could bake them all together to be pulled apart in two separate 8 by 8 pans. You will probably need to bake them just two or three more minutes.
  • Eat these warm from the oven and store the leftover rolls in a container with a lid in the refrigerator. You can pop them individually in a microwave for 15 seconds to warm up or place them on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 3 minutes. They reheat nicely.
Cherry Almond Cinnamon Rolls

 

Cherry Almond Cinnamon Rolls

 

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