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Let's Roll - Almond Cinnamon Streusel Rolls

Part of my bid for a more fulfilling Christmas this year includes more holiday baking along with more homemade gifts, learning Christmas songs on the piano, doing some volunteering and, if there's time, more time for myself (oh, the holidays are rife with irony).

This morning I was off to the races on my holiday baking with a new favorite holiday treat--Almond Cinnamon Streusel Rolls. Almond Cinnamon Streusel Rolls are something I invented last night because I love almond paste and want to put it in everything, but my husband hates it and only wants cinnamon rolls. So I thought I'd make something I could pack with delicious almond paste for me and layer with cinnamon sugar for him.

Thus, the Almond Cinnamon Streusel Roll was born and we learn that the secret to surviving both marriage and the Holidays is the same...compromise!

Start with a classic cinnamon roll dough and create two fillings, one cinnamon and brown sugar, the other homemade almond paste mixed with sugar and some almond extract. Spread the two fillings on each half, roll, cut and bake two treats in one.

Almond Cinnamon Streusel Rolls

For the Dough:

3/4 cup warm water

3/4 cup warm milk

4 tbs butter melted into warm milk

2 packet Active Dry Yeast (I like Red Star)

2 large eggs

4-5 cups All Purpose Flour

1/2 cup Almond Flour (this adds a little extra almond flavor and helps the rolls stay moist and tender)

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

For the Almond Filling:

1 cup almond flour or meal

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 egg white

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tbs softened butter

1/4 tsp almond extract

Combine first five ingredients and mix by hand or with hand mixer until smooth. You've just made homemade Almond Paste!

Add in remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.

For the Cinnamon Filling:

1 cup brown sugar

2 tbs cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

4 tbs softened butter

Combine and mix until smooth.

For the Topping:

2 tbs All Purpose flour

3 tbs sugar

2 tbs butter

Combine smooshing between fingers to make a shaggy mix.

For Drizzle:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp Vanilla

Milk as needed until smooth and loose enough to drizzle

Make Dough:

Heat milk and butter gently on stove or in microwave. Dissolve yeast in 3/4 cup warm water along with a pinch of sugar. Add 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup of almond flour and all dry ingredients along with eggs to a large bowl. Add water and yeast. Let milk cool slightly then add to bowl. Mix all ingredients continuing to add flour half a cup at a time until dough comes together.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and springy. Dough will still be a little sticky and should be very soft. Cover and let proof until doubled in size (about an hour in a warm and cozy spot).

While dough proofs, make fillings.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and roll to 10"x15" rectangle. Cover one half with almond filling and the other half with cinnamon sugar filling.

Roll up form the long end and divide into 12 equal pieces starting in the middle.

Place in a buttered baking dish, cover and let proof until doubled in size again. Cover with streusel topping and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until internal temperature reads 190 degrees.

Drizzle that drizzy and ENJOY!

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