I have 3 kinds of cardamom: whole, just the seeds, and ground up.
The ground cardamom, which is the most common in these parts, was all out of stock when I took this picture.
Quite a few months ago, I made some really delicious puff pastry cookies stuffed with ground almonds, rose water, and cardamom. They were super delicious, but the real star was the filling itself. I couldn't stop eating it. So, it occured to me, "Wouldn't it be cool to put this stuff inside a cinnamon roll?!"
picture by VeganForTheWin!
Guess what? It WAS cool! For a recent Bake Sale for Farm Sanctuary, I finally did it, and made Cardamom Rolls with Almonds and Rosewater. I think these are probably one of the most delicious things I have ever baked in my whole life. I love love love them. The almonds are a little crunchy, the sweetness level is not at all overbearing, and the rose water gives an amazing hue to the flavor. So lovely. Even if you are gluten-free or just too lazy to make the rolls themselves, make the filling and snack on it by itself. It's that good.
This is almost verbatim the cinnamon bun recipe from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, and then the filling recipe is from Silk Road Cooking, and I put the two together for magical results. The hardest thing is to not keep calling them "cinnamon rolls," even though they don't have any cinnamon in them. I kept calling them Cinnamon Rolls with Cardamom, which is still wrong!
Cardamom Rolls with Almonds & Rosewater
makes 12 rolls
1 packet active yeast, or 2 1/4 tsp
1/3 c sugar, + 1 tsp
1/2 c warm water
3/4 c milk, at room temp (I used almond milk)
1/3 c canola oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cardamom
3 1/2 - 4 cups of all-purpose flour
(this makes a little extra, but you will need it, because you will need to snack on it)
1 1/2 c blanched almond slivers
3/4 c sugar
4 1/2 tsp cardamom
4 1/2 tsp rose water
1/4 c Earth Balance
1 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbsp almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
To make the filling:
While your dough is rising, make the filling. Mix the almonds and sugar together in a medium-sized pot, and then toast over medium heat for about 10 minutes (or less), until the sugar is lightly caramelized and partially melted. Stir often so that it doesn't burn. Add the cardamom and rose water, mix well, and then remove from heat. Set aside to cool.
Once it's cool, put it in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times until you get a coarse powder with some bigger chunks still there - I made it sort of half-powdery and half-nutty, but obviously you could leave them or grind them all up.
To make the dough:
In a big bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and 1 tsp sugar. Whisk it to combine and then let it rest for 5-10 minutes to make sure your yeast is active. It should look a little foamy and frothy. Then, add in the rest of the sugar, the milk, oil, salt, cardamom, and 2 cups of flour. Stir well, and then start adding in the rest of the flour, until you've added about 3 1/3 cups total. Knead it for about 5 minutes, until it is a soft, smooth dough... adding a bit more flour as needed.
Take a big clean bowl and lightly oil the inside of it. Place your dough in there, and cover with saran wrap. Set it in a warm place for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size. While it is rising, make the filling (see below).
Once it has risen, punch it down (fun part!) and let it rest for about 10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle about 12 x 18 inches. Sprinkle the filling evenly all over the surface. You'll probably have a little left over, which is fine. Then take the Earth Balance and cut it or break it into little pieces and dot that all around.
Starting from the long edge, slowly roll up the dough into a long tube. Take care to roll slowly and keep the roll pretty tight. At the end, I use a little water to moisten the edge (like on an envelope) and then I pinch it shut a little.
Take an 11x13 baking dish and lightly spray it or oil it with some veggie oil. Using a sharp knife, take your long tube and slice it into 12 equal pieces. (cut it in half, then cut each half in half. Now you have 4 pieces. Cut each piece into 3 equal pieces. Easy! )
Place them into your baking pan sliced side down. Cover the dish with saran wrap or a towel and let it rise for about 45 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Bake for 18-24 minutes until they are lightly browned and very puffy! Remove from the oven. In a small bowl, mix together the icing ingredients and drizzle that over the buns.