Who doesn’t love a good cinnamon roll? And if it has Nutella in it? And if it’s mini?! The ultimate!
I already have a fantastically popular Nutella Cardamom Cinnamon Roll recipe up on the blog. It has an Espresso Glaze. So yeah, kinda hard to top, wouldn’t you say?! They are pretty decadent. And filling. One is definitely enough for breakfast.
Do you have concerns over Nutella? I know some people have a love hate relationship with the stuff. Mostly due to the fact that the spread contains palm oil. I won’t go into all the reasons that palm oil is on the Naughty list. ‘Wellness Mama’ has done a fabulous job outlining all the concerns with Nutella, what the various ingredients have or don’t have, and most of all, the healthier alternative to Nutella. Her article is here. I had already discovered the organic alternative to Nutella, and really love it. I love Nutiva’s Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, and have been using it wherever I used to use Nutella. Now this blog post has NOTHING to do with promoting Nutiva’s Hazelnut Spread (I am NOT being sponsored in any way) But I do know that some of you reading this may refuse to purchase Nutella. And I did want you to know that there is a fantastic alternative. We’re all constantly learning, and trying to make wise and yet tasty choices, right?!
Anyway, off the soapbox now. Consider these little bites, the younger cousin of your classic cinnamon roll. They are still a roll. There is still an amazing filling. But there is no glaze. Don’t be sad. Instead of a glaze, these little babies get covered in chopped hazelnuts and toasted sesame seeds. After baking they are dusted in icing sugar.
This recipe takes about 1 3/4 hours from start to finish. And that includes proofing, because the dough is a yeasted one. But it really doesn’t require too much work or waiting at all.
The dough is simply flour, yeast, sugar, olive oil, salt and some water. It comes together easily, and then you’ll get a little bit of a workout as you quickly knead it until it becomes soft and elastic. Then you’ll let it proof in a covered bowl. In no time it is ready to roll out in traditional cinnamon roll fashion.
While the dough is proofing, hazelnuts are toasted and finely chopped. Then sesame seeds are toasted in the same frying pan. Add them to the bowl with the hazelnuts. And over both of them, sprinkle some ground cardamom. Stir them all up to get everything evenly distributed.
Once the dough has doubled in size, it gets rolled out, and the chocolate hazelnut spread is spread out over the dough evenly. Then I do something fun: I take my cardamom bitters (from Fee Brothers which can be purchased on Amazon) and give the entire surface a few shakes of my bottle. Six or so shakes should do it. Don’t go crazy! Then the chopped toasted hazelnuts and sesame seeds are strewn over it all. And the best part: the zest from a large orange. The orange and cardamom are such a bright citrusy contrast to the rich hazelnut spread.
Everything gets rolled up as usual. Then you’ll brush the top of the roll with a bit more olive oil, and sprinkle more hazelnuts and sesame seeds over it all. Then cut the log into 10 pieces. And bake. Seriously, ten minutes later, you have the most luscious little morsels ready to munch on. Dust with more icing sugar and let them cool enough so that you won’t burn the roof of your mouth.
The texture and the ingredients remind me slightly of rugelach. Not overly sweet, but still an adorable little nibble to have with a strong cup of Turkish coffee! They definitely have a Middle Eastern vibe going on. Even without my cardamom addition. It does make sense, since the original recipe is one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s! I couldn’t resist adding the cardamom powder or bitters. And I use more orange zest than called for. I love that the orange flavour isn’t an after thought. These are fantastic year round, but with citrus season upon us, these will be so much fun to make often over the next few months.
And because they are so easy, you can whip these up in the evening, or in the morning before breakfast. And because they are easy, make a double batch. I have learned that this is one recipe that will go quickly, and suddenly there is no proof that they were even around. But with those extra ones, you’ll have some ready for coffee break or when friends come over for a cuppa tea! 😉
Mini Dark Chocolate Hazelnut and Sesame Rolls
A mini cinnamon roll meets the middle east with the sesame seeds, orange zest and cardamom. There is crunch from finely chopped hazelnuts, and the filling is a dark chocolate hazelnut spread. Perfect little bites to go with coffee or tea.
- 1 cup plus 3 tbsp (150 grams) bread flour
- 3/4 tsp fast-acting Instant dried yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp olive oil plus a little more for greasing
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup (65 ml) lukewarm water (have the water brimming to the edge of the measuring cup) don't err on the side of cooler rather than warmer
- 1/4 cup (40 grams) hazelnuts, mounded just above the top of the measuring cup
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup (150 grams) Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Spread or Nutella, softened to make it easily spreadable , this can be done in the microwave or gently on the stove top
- 5-6 shakes of cardamom bitters
- 1 large orange zested (use the rest of the orange as you see fit!)
- 2 tsp icing sugar
Place the flour, yeast, sugar, 2 tbsp of the olive oil and the salt into a large bowl. Stir to combine.
Gently pour in the water and bring the mixture together using a rubber spatula. It should be completely combined.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oil surface and using lightly oiled hands, bring the dough together and knead well for 5 minutes until soft and elastic. It may take longer than this time, but don't be discouraged, it will soften. If the dough sticks to the counter at all, add a little more oil.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and let it rise in a warm spot, until almost doubled in size (should take about 45 minutes, depending on the temperature of your room)
Preheat the oven to 425F
While the dough is proofing, toast the hazelnuts in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. After about 8-10 minutes, they should be fragrant and turning brown. Turn the nuts into a dry tea towel and wrap them well. Rub the towel all over the nuts, releasing the skins. Shake and rub. You should be able to pull out all the nuts from among the skins and place them on a cutting board. Finely chop these and place them into a medium bowl.
Place the sesame seeds into the same skillet and toast gently till just turning golden. Add these to the hazelnuts. Add the ground cardamom and stir the contents of the bowl together.
On a lightly floured surface roll the proofed dough out into a 12x16" (30x40 cm) rectangle, with the 16" going across, so that you are facing a rectangle set in landscape position.
Using a spatula, spread the dark chocolate hazelnut spread across all the dough, just leaving a 3/4 inch (2cm) border along the top edge.
Give 5-6 shakes of the cardamom bitters over the spread evenly.
Sprinkle the orange zest over the spread evenly.
Then scatter all the nuts and seeds over the dough (except for 1 tbsp!)
Starting with the longest edge in front of you, at the bottom, roll the dough up evenly and firmly. Make sure the seam is along the bottom when finished.
Using a brush, spread out the remaining tbsp of olive oil all along the top of the roll.
Sprinkle the remaining tbsp of nuts and seeds across the top of the roll, over the olive oil. Push these gently into the dough so that they are secure.
Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 10 even pieces.
Transfer these to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake on the centre rack until golden brown, or about 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, let cool 2 minutes and then dust with the confectioners sugar. Cool on a wire rack.
Recipe adapted from Nutella Hazelnut Sesame Rolls by Yotam Ottolenghi