You have no idea how difficult it was to resist the impulse to call these Horny Rolls. In homage to their common name, Cow’s Horn Rolls, obviously. Shaped like a croissant, but far easier and just as versatile in regards to the variety of fillings.
Now that we’re in Taiwan, the notion of making homemade bread is a little redundant, to say the least. There are literally half a dozen bakeries in a two-block radius, selling anything from European crusty bread to the savoury Taiwanese kind, all for a fraction of the price of far inferior bread you get in Australia.
Eating out of boredom is the telltale symptom of Holiday Syndrome, which has been found to immediately follow stress eating one tends to fall victim to during exam season. To stop myself from attacking the chocolate cupboard, I decided to make something slightly healthier involving almonds, and so these were born. These aren’t the prettiest, nor are they uniform in size, but what they lack in attractiveness they make up in good balance of flavour. Not too sweet and plenty nutty, soft spongy spiraling dough enveloping a swirl of crunchy filling, heck if I’m not pleased with myself.
Almond crescent rolls (makes 8)
For the dough:
5 + 25g sugar
1/2 tsp instant yeast
30g plain flour
270g bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
For the almond filling:
25g butter25g sugar
25g beaten egg
35g almond meal
lil’ splash of rum (optional)
handful of chopped nuts
Heat up the milk to 40.5-43°C (105-110°F), then whisk in the 5g sugar, yeast and plain flour. Leave the mixture to foam for about 15 minutes, then add it to the mixer bowl followed by the rest of the ingredients except the softened butter.
Mix the contents of the bowl until a smooth ball forms, takes about 5 minutes with a mixer. Bit by bit, add the room temperature butter while still mixing, and mix for a further 5 minutes. To see if it’s properly kneaded, feel that the dough doesn’t stick to the hands and passes the windowpane test.
Lightly oil a container (I just use the already dirty mixer bowl) and place the dough inside, seam down. Cover and proof for an hour or longer if it’s cold.
The almond filling can be made in the meantime: cream the butter and sugar together, add the beaten egg (save the rest of the egg for the egg wash), then the rest of the ingredients. Set aside at room temperature.
When the dough has doubled in size, take it out onto a floured surface and squeeze the air out. Form it into a ball, flatten it and divide it into 8 relatively equal portions like slices of pizza. Take each slice and roll over it with a rolling pin so that it looks like a really tall triangle. Smear with 1/8 of the filling, leaving a 1cm border all around. Sprinkle on the chopped nuts. Roll from the base to the tip, finishing with the tip tucked under. Bend the ends down, just like a croissant.
Space the rolls apart evenly on a lined baking sheet, cover and proof again for about 45 minutes until doubled. 10 minutes before they’re ready, preheat the oven to 175°C/347°F. Egg wash the tops of the rolls and bake them for approx. 20 minutes until they’re golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.