In case you haven’t noticed, I have a thing about less-than-mainstream flavor combinations. Blackberry/Lavender/Chocolate in my Blackberry Lavender Brownie Pie. Chocolate/Coconut/Coffee in my Coconut Mocha Pie. So many times I come up with a flavor profile first, then decide how to execute it. It was the same story with these Cherry Almond Sweet Rolls, and I’m so happy with how these flavors shine together!
Filled with homemade almond filling and topped with a gorgeous cherry glaze, you need these Cherry Almond Sweet Rolls at your next brunch! Or…anytime, really. 😀 They’re soft and chewy with the sweet/bitter flavors of cherries and almonds!
Making the Sweet Roll Dough
Fair warning: this dough sits in the fridge overnight before baking for the best texture and flavor. On one hand it’s hard to wait, but I also enjoy that the recipe is broken into parts so that you don’t have to complete all the steps in one day!
The recipe calls for almond flour for an additional kick of almond flavor. If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can find some here. You can use almond flour made from blanched or unblanched almonds. I had unblanched on-hand, so that’s what I used.
Making the Almond Filling
You’re essentially making a spreadable almond paste for the filling. I used blanched almonds so that they’d be easier to process, with the added bonus that the filling would be a little lighter than the dough so you could see those swirrrrrls a bit better.
If you can’t find blanched almonds (I couldn’t!), you can blanch them yourself! Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the almonds for about one minute, then drain and cool. The almond skins will pop right off! It’s a great activity to get the kiddos involved in. My kids loved squeezing the almonds from their skins (though there were more almonds flying to all corners of the kitchen when the kids were helping)!
Once your almonds are ready, the filling blends up quickly in your food processor. I added almond extract paste for even more almond flavor. You can buy extract paste here, or you can substitute with an equal measure of almond extract.
I suggest making the filling right when you need it. It’s thick, it’s sticky, and it seems to get thicker (and somehow stickier??) the longer it sits. For easier spreading out on the dough, make the filling and then use it right away.
Assembling the Sweet Rolls
Rolling the dough out on a pastry mat keeps the dough from sticking to your counter! Mine also has handy measurements on it so I know exactly how large I need to roll the dough out without having to measure. You may have to use a teensy bit of flour on the pastry mat to keep this sticky dough from sticking, but not nearly as much as if you were to roll it out on your countertop. If you’re looking for one, you can find them online here.
Once you’ve rolled out the dough and spread it with the filling, it’s time to cut! Using a thin, serrated knife, cut the roll into 14 equal pieces. The filling is quite sticky! I found that I got cleaner cuts when I used a clean, wet blade for each cut. If you clean the blade between cuts and dip the knife in a drinking glass filled with water before cutting (letting excess water drip off), you’ll have better success.
As I mentioned, the filling is quite sticky, so I lined my baking sheets with a nonstick parchment to ensure no sticking and easier cleanup! If you’re interested in getting some nonstick parchment for yourself, you can find some here.
Making the Cherry Glaze
This cherry glaze could not be simpler or easier to make! Cherry juice and powdered sugar. That’s it! You’re going to want to use the best cherry juice you can find so that the cherry flavor shines through!
I didn’t want to buy cherry juice just for this recipe, so I used the juice of fresh cherries. Just warm about 2 ounces of fresh cherries on the stove until they break down and release their juice, then press the cherries in a fine-mesh strainer to get as much juice out as possible. You only need two tablespoons of juice for the recipe. Pour the glaze over the sweet rolls and you’re doooone!
Making Sweet Rolls in Advance/Freezing
I have a few helpful tidbits here:
- The recipe indicates that the sweet roll dough needs to chill for about 8 hours. I’ve left the dough in the refrigerator for up to 36 hours and they still turn out fabulous
- If you’d like to make the sweet rolls in advance, I recommend baking them up, then freezing without the glaze. When you want to serve, thaw them prior to glazing.
- The almond filling is rather sticky and can be difficult to spread. It becomes more difficult the longer the filling sits, so I do NOT recommend making the filling in advance. You want to use the filling immediately after making it.
- You want to wait until you’re ready to serve to glaze the sweet rolls. A few hours ahead of time is fine, but the glaze will absorb into the sweet rolls and not be nearly as pretty if you glaze them too far ahead of time (they are still mighty tasty, though).
So these Cherry Almond Sweet Rolls take some time…but they’re a fantastic weekend project, and totally worth the effort! My family flipped over sweet Rolls! Even my ‘I-only-eat-granola-bars’ five-year-old enjoyed these (although he only ate the centers)! 😉 So serve them up for breakfast, brunch, an afternoon pick-me-up…just make sure you make them! <3
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Cherry Almond Sweet Rolls
Sweet Roll Dough:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup sugar (+1 tsp to activate yeast)
- ⅓ cup water, warm (100°-110°F)
- 2¼ tsp yeast (1 envelope)
- 2 eggs
- 3½ cups flour
- 1 cup almond flour (see note)
- 2½ cups whole, blanched almonds (see note)
- 3 cups powdered sugar, divided
- 2 egg whites
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ tsp almond extract paste (see note)
- 2 Tbsp cherry juice (see note)
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- In a small saucepan, combine sour cream, butter, salt, and ¼ cup sugar. Warm mixture over medium-low heat just until the butter melts. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool to 110°F-115°F, about 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Combine sour cream mixture, yeast mixture, and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook attachment on medium-low speed, gradually add the flour and almond flour until a soft dough forms. The dough will be sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Try to add as little flour as possible while kneading.
- Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning the dough over to grease the top. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough overnight (8-24 hours).
- After refrigerating, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into a 20"x16" rectangle. Introduce as little additional flour as possible. Alternatively, you can roll the dough out on a nonstick pastry mat (see note),
- Place almonds (see note) and 1 cup of the powdered sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the almonds are ground as finely as possible. Add the remaining powdered sugar and pulse to incorporate.
- Add egg whites, butter, and almond extract paste (see note) and process well to combine. Use as soon as possible after processing. The filling will set a bit and be harder to spread the longer it sits.
- Spread the almond filling evenly over the dough. Roll the dough up from a long edge. Trim rough ends, if necessary, and discard.
- Using a thin, serrated knife, cut the roll into 14 equal pieces. The filling is quite sticky! I found that I got cleaner cuts when I used a clean, wet blade. If you clean the blade between cuts and dip the knife in a drinking glass filled with water before cutting (letting excess water drip off), you'll have better success.
- Place the cut pieces on baking sheets lined with parchment (see note). Cover the pans and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Tuck the ends of the sweet rolls underneath so the rolls maintain their round shape while baking. Bake sweet rolls 15-18 minutes, or until just golden.
- Combine cherry juice (see note) and sifted powdered sugar in a small bowl, and mix until smooth. Pour the glaze over the sweet rolls and serve immediately. (I suggest not glazing the sweet rolls until you're planning to serve them.)Enjoy!