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This Sweet Yeasted Bread is Everything You've Wished For (& 3 Variations)

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I almost don't know how to begin telling you about this bread. Okay, no—I do: It's phenomenal. It fulfills the rare baking trifecta of delicious-tasting, impressive-looking, and easy to execute.

Cinnamon-Sugar Cardamom Rolls
Cinnamon-Sugar Cardamom Rolls

Let me pause there. This is a yeast bread with some shaping required, so if your definition of "easy" means boxed cake mix, then this is not easy. But as shaped sweet breads go, this dough is mellow and simple to handle.

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The addition of sour cream, eggs, butter, and evaporated milk makes it rich without being sticky. I've made my fair share of braided breads and brioche doughs that just didn't turn out: They felt finicky, or required candy thermometers, or had filling that spilled out as they baked.

Apricot Cardamom Bread
Apricot Cardamom Bread

So this recipe felt like a breath of fresh air: a pleasure to make and a joy to eat. The original comes from Land O'Lakes: a cardamom-scented braided loaf filled with a brandied apricot mixture. The bread manages to be both airy and moist, with a crumb that's tight but still quite delicate.

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Apricot Cardamom Bread

1e4d7b52 fd4f 4798 ae19 d0f715768358  ry 400 Posie Harwood

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Makes 2 loaves

For the bread:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 ounce (2 packages or 4 1/2 teaspoons) instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs

For the filling & egg wash:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 6 ounces dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Swedish pearl sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
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You'll split the dough into three long rectangles, fill each with a quick brandy and apricot jam, then pinch and seal them to create three strands. Braided together and shaped into a circle, the strands make a pretty wreath shape. I like to brush the loaf with an egg wash to get a golden crust, and if you want to go all out, sprinkle some Swedish pearl sugar over the top, too.

After just one bite, I loved the dough so much that I went back and created two more variations with it as my foundation. But instead of making more loaves, I decided to slice the dough into thin strands, spread the filling over the dough, and then twist it into little intricate rolls.

Cinnamon-Sugar Cardamom Rolls

Cinnamon-Sugar Cardamom Rolls by Posie Harwood

Tahini Brown Sugar Sesame Rolls

Tahini Brown Sugar Sesame Rolls by Posie Harwood

I filled one with cinnamon sugar and one with tahini, brown sugar, and toasted sesame seeds. Think of the options! You could fill yours with chopped dark chocolate and coconut, Nutella, a thick raspberry jam, or almond paste.

Don't be intimidated by the look of the rolls. To create the complicated twist, you'll take a strip of filled dough and wrap it twice around your first two fingers, then tuck the ends inside the roll. The most important thing to remember? Rich, sweet, delicate dough smothered in a cinnamon sugar paste is going to taste pretty exceptional, no matter how it looks. So go for it!

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Cinnamon-Sugar Cardamom Rolls

1e4d7b52 fd4f 4798 ae19 d0f715768358  ry 400 Posie Harwood

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Makes 24 rolls

For the bread:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 ounce (2 packages or 4 1/2 teaspoons) instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
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A77d787d bb3e 4320 b5cd 78744030735d  tahini

Tahini Brown Sugar Sesame Rolls

1e4d7b52 fd4f 4798 ae19 d0f715768358  ry 400 Posie Harwood

50 + Save View Recipe
Makes 24 rolls

For the bread:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 ounce (2 packages or 4 1/2 teaspoons) instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (add more, up to 1/2 cup, if you prefer a sweeter filling)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
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