Gorgeous AND delicious—a perfect combination in a baked good. I adapted these rolls from this lovely bread recipe on the Land O'Lakes website. The bread is soft, delicate, airy, and still sturdy, with a richness that is somewhat similar to challah or brioche (it has sour cream, butter, evaporated milk, and eggs). The dough is lightly perfumed with cardamom, then filled with a butter/cinnamon sugar spread and twisted into little pull-apart shapes. —Posie (Harwood) Brien
2 hours 6 minutes
For the bread:
(2 packages or 4 1/2 teaspoons) instant or active dry yeast
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cardamom, butter, evaporated milk, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Set aside and let cool until it is warm but not hot.
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
Add 3 cups of flour, the sour cream, eggs, and the warm butter mixture to the bowl of yeast. Stir until well-combined.
Stir in the remaining flour (a little at a time) until the dough is stiff enough to handle. It'll still be quite sticky, so be careful not to add too much flour right away: Add a bit at a time and see how it changes the consistency. You'll add a bit more flour later when you roll it out, so it's better to err on the side of too sticky here.
Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Transfer the bowl of dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours.
To make the filling, stir together the softened butter, cinnamon, and sugar in a small bowl to make a paste. If you like more spice, you can increase the cinnamon level as you like.
When the dough has risen (it should have about doubled in size), divide it in half.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Take the first half of dough and roll it out into a rectangle approximately 9 by 20 inches.
Spread half of the filling in a very thin layer over the dough, leaving about 1 inch around the edges. You don't want to spread it too thickly or it will get messy when you shape the rolls.
Fold the dough in half (so it'll be nearly square, about 10 by 9 inches) and roll it lightly with a rolling pin to flatten it slightly. You don't really need to flatten it too much, but the thinner the dough is, the prettier and more intricate the rolls look.
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough lengthwise into 1/2-inch strips. Take each strip of dough: Wrap the strip around your first and second fingers twice, then tuck the ends inside the circle of dough you've just made. Don't worry too much about the shape! There isn't a perfect way to do this, just form them into a knot as best you can: It's a messy process because the filling seeps out a bit, but they will be delicious regardless of how messy they appear.
Place each knot on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for about 15 minutes.
Bake the rolls for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Depending on the size of your knots they could take more or less time, so start checking around 15 minutes.