Cardamom Rolls with Medjool Date Filling


Over the holidays, I conjured up a recipe for these cardamom rolls after thinking how delicious a sweet roll would be with a medjool date filling. Traditionally, cardamom rolls are usually made with a butter and sugar filling, perhaps even with a dusting more of cardamom inside. Switching the traditional filling for one made with soft, sticky caramel-flavored medjool dates gives these rolls a hint of unexpected flavors, a bit of je ne sais quoi, if you will. Not too sweet but just sweet enough, they’re a delicious treat for a special Saturday breakfast or brunch with hot drinks and good company.


Cardamom Rolls with Medjool Date Filling

Makes approximately 12 rolls

For the dough:

  • 2 cups milk

  • 2 packets active dry yeast

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 egg

  • 5 3/4 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom

  • 1 1/2 cups cold salted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes.

For the filling:

  • 15 medjool dates, pitted

  • 3 tablespoons milk

  • Boiling hot water

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • Sugar, for dusting after the egg wash

Before mixing the dough or making the filling, soften the pitted dates by placing them in a bowl and covering completely with boiled water. Set aside to cool and soften while you do the following:

Combine the milk and yeast in a bowl, stirring to mix until the yeast is completely dissolved. Whisk in the egg, then the vanilla. Add this mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.

Add the flour, sugar, salt, and cardamom to the mixer’s bowl and knead on the lowest speed for 8 minutes. Add the cubed butter, and continue to mix the dough for 8 minutes or until the butter has combined with the dough. Allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, make the date filling. Strain the water from the dates and place in a food processor or blender and add the milk. Blend until the dates have turned into a spreadable paste, adding more milk if the mixture looks too thick to easily spread.

After resting, pour the dough out onto a floured surface and roll with a rolling pin into a rectangle shape that is approximately 12 inches by 24 inches. Once rolled, dot the dough with the date paste. Spread with a butter knife or a bench scraper so that the dough is entirely covered.

Fold one third of the dough up and over the middle, then fold the remaining third over the first folded third. The dough should look like a folded letter.

Roll the dough into a square shape approximately 12 inches across each way. Cut strips about 1 inch wide, stretching each piece before wrapping the dough in a circular motion around itself. Place the rolls on a parchment covered baking sheet, giving them space between each roll as they may double in size, and allow to rise for 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator (if keeping in the fridge to bake the next morning, you must give the dough 1 hour to rise after being taken out of the fridge).

While the dough rises, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together the egg and tablespoon of water and brush each roll with the egg wash. Dust with a bit of sugar, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.