recipe + photography KATE SHAFFER

Fast and Easy Orange and Almond Cinnamon Rolls with Chocolate Ginger Icing

With Father’s Day coming up, a new recipe might be a welcome addition to your breakfast repertoire.

The idea with this breakfast pastry is to not knock you over the head with sugary sweetness, but to blend complementary scents and textures so the overall experience is sublime and slightly mysterious.

You can prepare these rolls up to the point of baking the night before you plan to serve them, and then store them in the refrigerator. The next morning, just pop the pan into the preheated oven (allowing for a little extra time to bake) and serve them warm with globs of chocolatey icing.

A note about cocoa powder: Cocoa powder is made by pressing roasted, hulled and conched cocoa beans (otherwise known as chocolate liquor or cocoa mass) in order to extract most of the cocoa butter. The remaining dry “cocoa cake” is ground into powder. Sometimes this powder is further processed with a potassium carbonate solution to reduce acidity. This is commonly known as Dutch cocoa. I use both natural cocoa (nonalkalized) and Dutch cocoa (alkalized) in my kitchen. Natural cocoa is lighter in color and tends to have a slightly acidic, citrusy flavor. Alkalized cocoa can be quite dark, is round and robust in flavor and is more easily dissolved in liquids. Of course, there are endless variations on both, including fat content, color, origin, etc., and their flavors vary widely. But in general, I like to think of alkalized cocoa as the “cozy cocoa” and natural cocoa as “summer cocoa.” Whatever you have on hand will be fine with this recipe, so long as it is unsweetened.

Makes 12 rolls

1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup sliced toasted almonds
½ cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

3¾ cups flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1½ cups whole milk
¼ teaspoon almond extract
Grated zest of 1 large orange

2 tablespoons strong ginger ale, such as Maine Root
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1¼ cups confectioner’s sugar

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin, or line the cavities with parchment paper or paper baking cups.

To make the filling, place the 1 cup brown sugar, ¾ cup granulated sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and ¼ teaspoon sea salt into a small bowl. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Then stir in the sliced almonds and chopped chocolate. Set aside.

To make the dough, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ¾ teaspoon sea salt and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar in a
large bowl.

In a large glass measuring cup, stir together the milk, 12 tablespoons
of melted butter, almond extract and grated orange zest. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and stir until a shaggy dough forms.
Don’t over mix.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat into a rectangle—roughly 11 x 17 inches and about ½-inch thick—with the long sides facing you.

Spread the filling mixture onto the entire surface of your rectangle and pat it down lightly.

Working from the side closest to you, roll up the dough jelly-roll fashion. Cut this log into 12 discs. Place each disc into a cavity in your greased (or parchment-lined) muffin tin.

Bake for 20–25 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

While the rolls are baking, make the icing. Place the ginger ale, butter and cocoa powder into a small saucepan over low heat and whisk until melted and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the confectioner’s sugar.

Pour the glaze thickly over the slightly cooled cinnamon rolls.

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