Almond Joy Shortbread Bars

Almond Joy Shortbread BarsI don’t want to write about baking today—I want to write about how much I love the Olympics. I’ve watched the coverage every night and had it on in the background while I’ve baked during the day. This isn’t a recent habit—I grew up in a family that gathered to watch the games (summer or winter) every night they were on, and I even once had a wall of my teenage bedroom dedicated to the decorated short track speedskater Apolo Ohno.

Yeah…when it comes to the Olympics, I’m a real big nerd. I’m also a baseball nerd and an Oscars nerd, so…well, maybe I just watch too much TV. That’s probably it.

Almond Joy Shortbread BarsAnyway, this isn’t an Olympics blog. It’s a baking blog. So, let’s talk about baked goods, specifically Almond Joy Shortbread Bars.

Almond Joy Shortbread BarsIf you’re going to try to improve on the practically perfect combination of chocolate, almonds, and sweet coconut filling, layering it all onto a buttery chocolate shortbread crust is a pretty good way to start.

Almond Joy Shortbread BarsAll the layers in these bars make them look like they take hours to prepare, but in reality, they take about 90 minutes from start to finish and are nearly no-bake. That easy chocolate shortbread crust is the only layer that has to spend time in the oven.

Almond Joy Shortbread BarsIt’s topped with a thick layer of coconut filling and dotted with whole roasted almonds…Almond Joy Shortbread BarsAlmond Joy Shortbread Bars

…and a layer of milk chocolate. You can use dark chocolate if you like, but apparently Almond Joys are made with milk chocolate. I’ve been wrong for two years. Oh well.

Almond Joy Shortbread BarsAlmond Joy Shortbread BarsBut back to the bars. Slice ‘em up and admire your handiwork. #thoselayerstho

The flavor is everything you love about sweet, chewy, crunchy Almond Joys, but better because they’re homemade. Oh, and because they have a crispy layer of chocolate shortbread offsetting all their sweetness. After sinking your teeth into one of these, you’ll never be able to go back to the mass-produced candy bar.

Y’all, these are seriously good. I know I say that about everything on this blog, but I really mean it today. These are a gold medal recipe for sure.Almond Joy Shortbread Bars

Almond Joy Shortbread Bars
makes one 9-inch square pan, about 16 bars

Chocolate Shortbread Crust:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

Coconut Filling:
1/2 cup whole raw almonds
5 fluid ounces (10 tablespoons) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups sweetened flaked coconut

Chocolate Topping:
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil and grease well with butter. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, light brown sugar, and salt. Use your fingertips to rub butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. It will be powdery, but should hold together when pinched. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan before using your hand to pack it down into an even layer. Prick several times with a fork. Bake 14-15 minutes, until no longer wet-looking. Let shortbread crust cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Make the filling. Place almonds on a dry baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in coconut. Mixture will be very thick. Drop filling in spoonfuls over the cooled crust and spread across the entire surface. Arrange almonds in lines (or as desired) over the top of the coconut and press down to adhere. Freeze full pan for 15 minutes.

Make the chocolate topping. Combine chopped milk chocolate and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, just until melted. Drop chocolate over filling one spoonful at a time. Use a small offset icing knife (or a silicone spatula) to carefully spread it over a section of the filling. Continue dropping and spreading chocolate until it’s all used and the almonds are covered. Freeze until chocolate has hardened, about 15 minutes.

Use foil overhang to remove bars to a cutting board. Carefully peel foil down the sides. Use a lightly-greased sharp chef’s knife to slice bars. Lift bars from foil with a thin spatula. Serve.

Bars may be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Layer them with wax paper if they are to be stacked.

Almond Joy Shortbread Bars

Chocolate Mint Magic Bars

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsSo far this season, I’ve posted Cashew Butter Ginger Cookies, Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams, Pecan Florentines, an Eggnog Puff Pancake, Maple Spice Stars, gluten-free Mexican Hot Chocolate Crinkles, and my mom’s recipe for Wassail. If none of those strike your holiday fancy, there are at least twenty more Christmas-appropriate recipes in the archives.

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsWhat can I say? I love holiday baking ❤️💚❤️💚❤️💚❤️💚❤️💚

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsToday’s recipe–the last one before Christmas–is everything you could want this close to the 25th. Chocolate Mint Magic Bars come together quickly and easily, don’t require a mixer or any unfamiliar techniques, and are so. freaking. good. If you love chocolate and mint, this is your lucky day 😊

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsI mean, who can resist chewy, chocolaty Andes mint-studded filling and a buttery chocolate cookie crust?!

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsChocolate Mint Magic BarsTo make the bars, start by blitzing two sleeves of chocolate sandwich cookies into crumbs. Add some butter and then press the mixture into a foil-lined pan. Bake the crust for five minutes, just to set.

Chop up some Andes Creme de Menthe candies…

Chocolate Mint Magic Bars…and whisk together a can of sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, vanilla, peppermint extract, and a tablespoon of melted butter.

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsChocolate Mint Magic BarsPour that mixture over the crust and top it with the chopped candy. I like to add some chocolate chips, too. Bake the bars for half an hour, until they’re still a little jiggly–they’ll set as they cool. Once they reach room temperature, slice ‘em up.

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsLook at those streaks of candy in the filling 😍😍😍

Chocolate Mint Magic BarsThese bars, y’all. They’re so delicious. The filling is chocolaty and minty without being too rich, and has a fudgy brownie-like quality that I absolutely love! And then there’s that crumbly, buttery chocolate cookie layer. Seriously, what’s not to love?!

Merry Christmas, y’all!Chocolate Mint Magic Bars

Chocolate Mint Magic Bars
makes 1 9-inch square pan, about 16 bars

24 chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (not fat free)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (not mint extract)
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
30 Andes Creme de Menthe candies (1 9.5 ounce package), chopped
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving overhang on two sides. Generously butter foil. Set aside.

Place chocolate sandwich cookies the bowl of a food processor and process until pulverized. Add 5 tablespoons of melted butter. Pulse until combined. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan. Press into an even layer. Bake for five minutes, until set. Set crust aside to cool while you prepare the filling.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, vanilla and peppermint extracts. Whisk in cocoa powder.

Drizzle sweetened condensed milk mixture over the crust. Scatter chopped Andes Creme de Menthe candies and chocolate chips over the top. Bake for 30-32 minutes, tenting pan with foil at the 10 minute mark. Bars are done when the center jiggles just slightly when the pan is jostled.

Let bars cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use foil overhang to remove bars from the pan to a cutting board. Peel off foil. Slice with a lightly-greased knife and serve.

Chocolate Mint Magic Bars

Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsDo you listen to the Stuff You Should Know podcast? My sister turned me onto it a few months ago and it was love at first listen. As my job is very solitary, I spend my days listening to Josh and Chuck talk about all sorts of things I have never given a passing thought. Imagine my surprise to find that yesterday’s episode was about something that I know all about: cake!

Yes, I spend many waking hours thinking about cake. Really. At any given moment, I am thinking about baking, layering, decorating, or eating cake. If you listen to the podcast (which you should!), it sounds like Josh, Chuck, and I may have that in common…the eating part anyway 😉

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsOne thing we definitely agree on though is that we all occasionally eat cake solely as a vehicle for frosting. For some *unknown* reason, it’s socially unacceptable to eat a bowl of frosting, so we eat cake to get our fix 😉 Until now, anyway…

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsEnter buttercream candies: literally frosting coated in chocolate.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsFrosting. coated. in. chocolate.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsFrosting for frosting’s sake.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsIf you’re anything like me (or Josh and Chuck, apparently), this is basically the best news ever. These are the no-bake treat of my dreams.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsYou can make buttercreams using any flavor of frosting you can imagine–if it can be whipped into buttercream frosting, it can be rolled into candy. As we’re just a few weeks out from Christmas, I’ve decided to go with Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams today 😊

The frosting base of these candies is a classic American chocolate buttercream that I’ve souped up with 1/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract and some instant espresso. It comes together in just a few minutes and is super fluffy and luxurious.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsChill the peppermint mocha frosting before scooping it by the teaspoon and rolling it into balls. This is not a glamorous process, but it is helped greatly by coating your hands in confectioner’s sugar.

After another chill, it’s time for a dip in melted chocolate…

Peppermint Mocha Buttercreamsand a smattering of crushed peppermints, or perhaps some holiday sprinkles.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsPeppermint Mocha ButtercreamsOne more quick chill later, the Peppermint Mocha Buttercreams are ready to eat. And oh, are they good. I mean, how could the combination of a chocolate shell and a melty espresso-mint center be anything but delicious?!

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsThey’re basically holiday perfection in a mouthful.

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsLooking for more Peppermint Mocha? Try my Peppermint Mocha Cookies ❤️💚❤️💚

Peppermint Mocha ButtercreamsPeppermint Mocha Buttercreams
inspired by and heavily adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes about 4 dozen candies

1 tablespoon instant espresso granules
2 teaspoons warm tap water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (NOT mint extract)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
16 ounces dark chocolate (not chocolate chips)
crushed peppermints, for decorating (optional)
sprinkles, for decorating (optional)

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together espresso granules and warm water. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla and peppermint extracts, followed by espresso mixture. Add heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy. Press plastic wrap to the surface of the frosting. Chill one hour in the refrigerator.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Remove chilled frosting from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Scoop frosting by the teaspoon, roll into balls, and place on prepared pan. Coating your palms in confectioner’s sugar may help the rolling process. Chill rolled frosting uncovered for one hour.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to chop chocolate. Place in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring between, until smooth. Alternatively, melt chocolate in a double boiler. Let cool five minutes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Remove buttercreams from the refrigerator.

To dip, drop one ball of buttercream into the melted chocolate. Use a fork to coat buttercream in chocolate. Drain briefly by scraping the tines of the fork on the edge of the bowl. Use the fork to gently lay the buttercream on the prepared pan. Immediately top with crushed peppermints or sprinkles. Continue until all buttercreams have been coated and topped.

Chill buttercreams for at least fifteen minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Easter Egg Hunt Cake

Easter Egg Hunt CakeEaster is coming up this weekend! I grew up celebrating in style–a week full of church, family brunch at The Fort Worth Club, and a HUGE egg hunt on a friend’s grandparents’ property. As far as I can tell after nearly ten years (!) in New York, Easter is not a big holiday here. I see a few families in their Easter best, but other than that, it’s just like any other Sunday. That said, just because I’m not planning to wear any pastels or attend any holiday brunches, there’s no reason I can’t celebrate with this adorable, surprise-candy-filled Easter Egg Hunt Cake!

Easter Egg Hunt CakeY’all. Y’ALL. This might be the most sickeningly cute thing I’ve ever made. I had the idea when I saw this Piñata Cake on Sally’s Baking Addiction, and I’ve been hellbent on making this Easter Egg Hunt Cake ever since. From the outside it looks springlike and holiday appropriate (hey there, sweetened flaked coconut!), but then you slice in to find a veritable treasure trove of Easter egg-shaped candy! Seriously, y’all. How cute is this Easter candy avalanche?!

Easter Egg Hunt CakeNow, before you go clicking away, thinking that this cake is too much for you to handle, hear me out:

  1. If I can make this cake, anyone can. I can frost a cake, but my decorating skills leave something to be desired. If you can use an offset icing knife, you can decorate this cake!
  2. Hiding the candy in this cake is waaaaay easier than you’d imagine. 
  3. Easter Egg Hunt Cake is made with my tried-and-true Vanilla Layer Cake* recipe. That cake and its corresponding buttercream frosting are my two most-requested recipes, and for good reason. They’re simple to put together and sooo good.

*Please forgive those horrendous photos–I’ll be updating them soon.

Easter Egg Hunt CakeAre you still reading? I hope so.

Let’s talk cake construction. First and foremost, bake and cool four 9-inch round cake layers and whip together a double batch of (dyed-green) vanilla buttercream frosting. Yes, four layers (1.5 times my standard recipe) and a double the usual amount of frosting. This cake is huge–gotta have plenty of space for all that Easter candy!

First, place a layer of cake on a serving plate and frost the top of it, just like you would for any layer cake. Then (and this is where it gets weird), use a large round cutter to remove the centers of two of your layers. Save those centers for another task, like making a mini-layer cake or a trifle.

Place one of the cut-out layers on the frosted base layer. Top it with a layer of buttercream and the second cut-out layer. Frost that one too.Easter Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeSee that hole? Fill it with any egg-shaped Easter candy you like! I used Reeses Pieces Eggs, but you could use chocolate eggs or even jelly beans. I also added some little bunny & carrot-shaped sprinkles, because sprinkles are my love language.

Easter Egg Hunt CakeAt this point, you should have one intact cake layer left. Use it to top the other layers, and then frost the tallest layer cake you’ve ever seen.

Easter Egg Hunt CakeTo decorate, press dyed-green flaked coconut into the frosting, and then arrange some Easter candy on top. I found this easiest to do by piping little blobs of frosting over the coconut and sticking the candies to them.

Easter Egg Hunt CakeAt this point, this cake will look like any old layer cake. Sure, it’s a huge one that’s clearly decorated for Easter, but nobody will suspect the surprise inside. And you, being cool as a freaking cucumber, will act like it’s any old vanilla cake.

Easter Egg Hunt CakeBut then, you’ll start to slice the thing…

Easter Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeWhat’s that?! A layer cake full of candy Easter eggs?! How clever of you, you beautiful, talented, homebaking human, you.

Easter Egg Hunt CakeEaster Egg Hunt CakeLooking for more Easter-appropriate desserts?
Check out these Carrot Cake Blondies, this Lemon Yogurt Cake, and my Coconut Cream Pie! Oh, and keep an eye out for another layer cake coming later this week 💕🐣🐰🍰🎂

Easter Egg Hunt Cake
inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes one four-layer 9-inch round cake

For greasing the pans:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)

Vanilla Cake:
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 large eggs + 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups buttermilk, room temperature

Vanilla Buttercream:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 pounds confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
15-20 drops liquid green food coloring
5-8 tablespoons heavy cream

For Decoration:
1 14-ounce bag sweetened flaked coconut
6-8 drops liquid green food coloring
egg-shaped Easter candies (I used Reeses Pieces Eggs)

For Assembly:
2-2 1/2 cups egg-shaped Easter candies (I used Reeses Pieces Eggs)
1/2 cup sprinkles, optional

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare the pans. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together greasing mixture ingredients. Use a pastry brush to paint mixture onto the entire insides of four 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating completely after each addition. Beat in buttermilk. Add dry ingredients in three installments, beating just until combined. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.

Divide batter evenly into prepared pans. Tap each full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake cakes 23-27 minutes, rotating top to bottom and back to front at the halfway point. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for fifteen minutes. Run a small thin knife around the edges of the pans and invert the cakes onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in three installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla and food coloring. Add in heavy cream until desired consistency is reached.

Prepare the decoration. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to combine coconut and food coloring until desired color has been reached. Set aside.

Assemble the cake. Place one round on a serving plate and top with a layer of frosting. Set aside.

Use a 4-6 inch cutter (or a wide-mouthed cup or jar) to cut the centers out of two layers. Set centers aside for another use. Place one cut-out layer on the bottom layer and top with a layer of frosting. Place the other cut-out layer on top and frost. Fill the hole in the cake layers with candies and optional sprinkles. Top with the last (fully-intact) layer of cake. Frost cake as desired. Cover with dyed green coconut. Decorate with additional Easter candies as desired.

Layer cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls

Marzipan Cinnamon RollsThese Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls were not the plan. They weren’t even Plan B (I rarely have a Plan B–I’m not that organized).

Last week, while I was hanging out with my old friend, Erin, I definitely had sweet rolls on the brain, but they weren’t these. I had big plans for Banana Pecan Sticky Buns. The second Erin left to head back to Boston, I whipped up a batch of caramel, toasted some pecans, made a yeast dough and filled it with a cinnamon-banana filling. I let the rolls rise and baked them until golden. I inverted the pan, plated a roll for myself, and…I burnt the caramel. All that work and anticipation and I went and burnt the dang caramel. And I was fresh out of overripe bananas.

Marzipan Cinnamon RollsI did get one thing right with those failed sticky buns–I finally made a yeast dough that I love. I’ve liked my past attempts, but I am all about this new dough of mine. Whole milk and an extra egg yolk make it rich and flavorful, but soft and fluffy enough that eating one roll doesn’t make you feel like you’ve had a brick for breakfast. Knowing I had to get this new dough of mine on this blog ASAP, I rifled through my “special occasion” ingredients until I found a forgotten can of marzipan, an almond paste that is usually reserved for being shaped like fruit or for cake decorating. After a few minutes of debating if almond paste would actually “go” in a sweet roll, I came to my senses. Almonds and cinnamon are magnificent together. Paired with that new dough and an almond glaze, I knew I had a winner on my hands.

Marzipan Cinnamon RollsY’all, these rolls. They’ve got everything you love about classic cinnamon rolls, but with all the sweet almond-scented magic of marzipan. And thanks to instant yeast, they’re easy to make. 

Yes, I just said working with yeast is easy. I know many home bakers are intimidated by it, but it’s really no trouble at all once it’s been proven. The problem is that the proofing step is what scares people away. Instant yeast, however, takes away the need for proofing, making yeast-based recipes just as easy as those made with baking powder and baking soda. Just whisk a packet of instant yeast into your dry ingredients–it’s that easy.
Marzipan Cinnamon RollsMarzipan Cinnamon RollsAnother great thing about instant yeast? It eliminates the need for two long rises. Once your dough is nice and smooth, it needs just ten minutes of rest before it can be filled. Instant yeast still requires one rest, but it’s only an hour–just enough time to have that second cup of coffee, apologize to your significant other/roommate/visiting friend, make another pot, and fall into a Wikipedia hole. Before you know it, your Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls will be nice and puffy and ready to bake.

Marzipan Cinnamon RollsOnce your rolls are golden brown, drizzle a quick glaze over the top, sprinkle on some toasted almonds, and grab a plate and eleven of your closest friends. Trust me, you’ll need them. I ate two of these while they were still warm, took a gazillion photos of them, and then put an announcement on Facebook that I was giving away Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls to anyone who asked. My neighborhood friends are used to me doing stuff like that by now, so I spent Sunday evening running around delivering cinnamon rolls. The friends that tried them immediately understood why I couldn’t keep the whole batch in the house. They’re that good.Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls

Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls
makes 12 rolls

Dough:
1 3/4-2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour*
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, beaten, room temperature

Filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
8 ounces marzipan
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)

Garnish & Glaze:
1/2 cup slivered or chopped almonds
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4-6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Grease a 9×13-inch rimmed baking pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until hot to the touch, about 115F. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in milk mixture, followed by egg and yolk. Add more all-purpose flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 5-6 minutes before forming into a ball and placing in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mash together butter and marzipan. Mash in sugar, cinnamon, salt, and optional almond extract. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 8×14-inch rectangle. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Use an offset knife or spoon to spread filling mixture over the dough, using a 1/2-inch perimeter on all sides. Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free place* for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes, recovering the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

While rolls are baking, prepare the garnish. Place almonds in a dry skillet. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until nuts are fragrant and slightly browned, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, salt, heavy cream, vanilla, and almond extract. Drizzle over baked rolls. Scatter toasted almonds over the top. Serve warm.

Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls are best served the day they are made, but will keep at room temperature for a day or so.

Notes:

1. If you do not have or do not wish to use bread flour, you may use an equal volume of all-purpose flour. The texture will be slightly different, but your rolls will still be delicious.


2. I preheat my oven to 200F, turn it off, and slide the covered pan inside. After 60-90 minutes, my rolls are ready to bake. Works every time.

Marzipan Cinnamon Rolls