Friday, 14 October 2011

White Chocolate and "Pepernoten" Sweet Rolls

It's fall - it's that time of year again when suddenly I feel like baking a whole lot more - nice to warm the house up with yummy cinnamon-y smells. Can't think of anything better than sweet rolls to make - that's because there is nothing better!

My very good friend requested a special sweet roll for a special occasion. She gave birth to her second daughter and wanted something yummy to eat. She said, please make me some with that good buttercreamy frosting - you know I like it thick!

She also requested white chocolate and a little something extra - so we decided together that pepernoten deserves a chance in these rolls. Pepernoten are little spice cookies that come out this time of year in the Netherlands. They are kind of like gingersnaps - but not that gingery. Originally, they were spiced with black pepper - until more spices came along. We still call them pepernoten - translated literally as pepper nuts - however, they also sell under the name "kruidennoten" - meaning spice nuts. Although there are no nuts contained in - they are just small and snackable like nuts.

So I used a very sticky dough - that rises a lot. They turned out very large - extra large - kind of like a Cinnabon - large roll. Here's what I did:

In a large glass bowl, combined 1 cup warm water with 2 tablespoon sugar, 2 teaspoons yeast, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon oil. Mix around then blend in 2 cups white flour (I used a combination of 1.5 cups white all purpose flour and 1/2 cup fresh ground whole wheat flour). Cover with plastic wrap then let rise 1 hour in warm place. Mix again to get bubbles out and let rest 20 minutes. Then pull out of bowl and knead slightly with 1/2 cup flour - and roll out with rolling pin into good size rectangle.

Filling: melt 2 tablespoons white chocolate together with 1 tablespoon butter and spread over dough. Sprinkle with 2 handfuls crushed pepernoten and about 1/4 cup brown sugar. Sprinkle a generous amount of ground cinnamon over that. Roll up and slice into 8 equal slices - careful - it's sticky. Place cut side up into buttered pie plate or casserole dish. Let rise in warm place 20-30 minutes then bake 15-20 minutes at 190-C degrees.

Prepare frosting: warm a small bowl of about 1 tablespoon whipping cream together with half vanilla pod - slit down the center. Scrape out vanilla speckles into the cream. Melt 25 grams white chocolate, set aside. In a mixer, whip 4 ounces cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter till creamy. Blend in melted white chocolate and vanilla cream. Blend in around 2 cups sifted powdered sugar or a bit more or less to desired consistency. 

When rolls come out of oven, you may pour the frosting over top - and then you will have more of a glazed effect with the frosting. Or you can wait till they cool a little and then put the frosting over - which is how my friend prefers the frosting... she likes it thick! Then sprinkle another handful crushed pepernoten over top.

(Note: in the photo, I did not use a lot of frosting - definitely should have poured quite a bit more on top - it's just that it was so so sweet!)

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