Every once in a while, I'll see a recipe on a food blog and won't be able to stop thinking about it until I make it. That was the case with these rolls. I thought about them constantly for 5 days until I finally broke down and made them. It's been so long since I've had the luxury of taking a several-hour chunk of time to bake something, and it felt so wonderful. Having some ridiculously delicious snacks after all that hard work felt pretty great too.
These rolls are not quite breakfast-y and not quite dessert-y, although they could pass for either. They're perfect for a mid-afternoon snack, or even as a substitute for a sandwich at lunchtime. I'm so grateful for this recipe for introducing me to my new favorite flavor combination, tahini (sesame paste) and honey. Tahini on its own feels like it's lacking something, but combined with honey it's more delicious than any other nut butter or spread I've ever had (except nutella, of course).
Fair warning: I'd recommend this recipe for intermediate or advanced bakers. The recipe itself is really straightforward and the dough comes together easily, but rolling and shaping the buns required some handiwork that I definitely couldn't have achieved as a beginner.
I've been doing a lot of research on Middle Eastern cooking and baking, and the more I see, the more I fall in love with the flavors and textures of the food around here. Expect to see a lot more of it coming out of the Playing House kitchen going forward!
p.s. I'm so excited for my upcoming 500th post and giveaway. Stay tuned, it will be happening sometime in the next week!
Honey Sesame Rolls (Tahinli)
Adapted from Desert Candy
Makes 12 rolls
3 1/2 cups flour, sifted
2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope, 7 gr) instant yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/3 cup olive oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup tahini
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten with 2 tsp water
1. Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a bowl. In a small bowl combine the egg and oil. Heat the milk to warm (120 - 130F). Add the milk to the flour mixture, then work in the egg mixture with your hands to make a smooth, elastic and not sticky dough. This should take 1-2 minutes.
2. Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes. It will not rise like other breads. While the dough is resting, combine tahini and honey in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, lightly brush them with a bit of oil so they do not dry out and make it easy to roll. Let rest, covered, 15-20 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 325 F. Roll one ball of dough out into a long oval or rectangular shape. Roll it as far as it will stretch without breaking. It should be about 14-16 inches by about 6 inches (Amy's note: this is just an estimate, I didn't measure and it wasn't in the original recipe. Just thought a guideline would be helfpul.) Spread with a thin layer of the tahini mixture, leaving a border around the perimeter of the dough about 1/2 inch. The layer of tahini should be just thick enough to be opaque (you shouldn't be able to see the dough underneath) but don't use too much or it will ooze out.
6. Starting at the longest edge, roll up the dough into a rope. Gently twist the rope so it is spiraled. Roll up the rope to a form a coiled bun. Gently flatten the bun with the rolling pin or a firm press of your hand. Place on a greased or lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. (Amy's note: forming the buns took so long that I went ahead with Step 7 for the first 6 and formed the remaining 6 while the first batch was baking If you're slow like me that will save you some time).
7. Brush the rolls with the beaten egg wash, then sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top. Bake 25-30 minutes, until light brown.