Orange and Honey Frangipane Soft Sourdough Sweet Rolls

orange and honey frangipane rolls

A few days ago, I wandered around a grocery store for the first time in what feels like forever. It’s funny the things we take for granted — I used to drag my kids to do grocery shopping regularly. For a truly gold star outing we’d visit a store with “special carts” — you know, the ones resembling fire engines or tractors complete with mini steering wheels. Yes, it would take us longer to get dressed and in the car than actually shop; but these grocery store trips were a needed diversion during the week, often fueling ideas for the week’s meals and recipes for this blog. I’ve missed it.

Anyways. I managed to snatch a few blood oranges on aforementioned trip, because if you don’t make something with blood oranges are you even a food blogger? Some of my bounty went towards these frangipane sourdough sweet rolls, a variation on my favorite sourdough cinnamon rolls.

These soft, lightly sweet breakfast rolls swap traditional cinnamon-sugar filling for nutty frangipane. Frangipane is truly one of my favorite baking components — whether piped into a tart or spread between layers of dough, it adds rich flavor and a bit of bakery pizazz to any treat (though it couldn’t be simpler to make). Frangipane is also easy to customize: swap the almonds for another ground nut, switch out the sugars, add some spices. Here I opted for fragrant honey rather than regular sugar and added a bit of blood orange zest for extra punch.

These rolls aren’t too sweet, which means you should definitely not hold back on the citrus glaze. Sadly my blood oranges weren’t particularly pink inside so I didn’t achieve that perfectly hued glaze. No big deal. Still delicious.

Baker’s notes:

  • If you don’t have einkorn/spelt/whole wheat flour, you can omit it and increase both the bread and all-purpose flours to 142g (284g total) in the final dough ingredients.
  • If you want to have these rolls ready to bake on, say, a Saturday morning, I suggest the building your stiff levain Thursday night, mixing the dough and doing the 2-hour room temp proof on Friday morning, and shaping the rolls right before going to sleep that night. Leave them out on the counter to proof overnight. Then preheat the oven and bake first thing when you get up in the morning. Note that you need a ripe, active 100% hydration starter to build the levain, so make sure your starter is nice and happy by giving it a feeding or two beforehand.
  • Just for fun, I baked a few of these rolls off in my Nordicware giant popover pan. The rolls turned out cute but this method was messier than I’d like; so next time if I want individual rolls I’ll just use a regular muffin tin. If you do want to try the popover pan, I’d recommend cutting the individual rolls a little smaller (into 10 or 11 pieces rather than 9) and tucking the tail underneath before placing in the pan. Also, make sure to grease the pan well before filling.

Orange and Honey Frangipane Soft Sourdough Sweet Rolls

Makes 9 rolls | Adapted from Baked to Order


For the stiff levain:

  • 18g ripe sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 31g milk
  • 57g bread flour

For the final dough:

  • 125 g bread flour
  • 125 g all-purpose flour
  • 34 g einkorn, spelt, or whole wheat flour
  • 45g granulated sugar
  • 21g milk powder
  • 1 large egg, cold
  • 100g milk, cold
  • 80g heavy cream, cold
  • All the levain
  • 7g kosher salt
  • 45g unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the honey frangipane filling:

  • 45g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 70g honey
  • Zest of one small orange (about 2 tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 75g almond flour
  • 12g all-purpose flour

For the orange glaze:

  • 90g icing sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • ~1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (as needed)


  1. Make the levain: In a medium bowl, mix the starter, milk, and flour together to form a stiff dough. Cover the bowl and ferment the levain at warm room temperature until more than doubled in volume, puffy, and domed, about 8 to 12 hours.
  2. Autolyse and mix the final dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together flours, sugar, milk powder, egg, milk, cream, and levain until just combined. Cover and autolyse (rest) for 45 minutes.
  3. Add the salt and knead on medium-low speed until the gluten is moderately developed, about 5 minutes. The dough will start out sticky and rough but should gradually come together and feel quite smooth and stretchy. Turn the mixer to low and add the butter about 1 tbsp at a time, incorporating each batch before adding the next. Turn the speed back up to medium-low and continue kneading until the gluten is very well developed and the dough passes the windowpane test, about 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth and supple. Shape the dough into a smooth ball and transfer to a lightly oiled container.
  4. Bulk fermentation: Cover and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours. The dough will be noticeably expanded, but not doubled. Stretch and fold the dough, cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, and up to 24 hours.
  5. Make the honey frangipane: In a small bowl, mix together the butter, honey, zest, spices, and salt (I just use a spatula). Add the egg and mix until smooth. Fold in the almond and all-purpose flour.
  6. Shape and proof the rolls: When ready to shape, lightly grease a 9 x 9–inch (23 x 23–cm) baking pan or a 9- or 10-inch (23- or 25-cm) round cake pan (preferably aluminum).
  7. Take the dough out of the fridge and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 14-inch (36-cm) square, doing your best to maintain an even thickness.
  8. Spread the filling mixture evenly over the dough, going all the way to the edges. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll, pinching to seal. Turn the roll so the seam side is down.
  9. Cut into nine even pieces using a sharp knife or unflavored dental floss (my preferred method).
  10. Transfer the rolls, cut side up, to the prepared pan, leaving space between each (they will grow into each other during proofing).
  11. Cover the rolls with a piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap. Proof at room temperature, about 74-76F, until the dough is very puffy and roughly doubled, about 8 hours or overnight.
  12. Preheat the oven and bake the rolls: About 45 minutes before you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400F with a rack in the middle. Bake until the rolls are lightly golden and register 195 – 200F in the center, about 20 minutes. (Tent with foil partway through baking if browning too quickly.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool while you prepare the glaze.
  13. Prepare the orange glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the icing sugar and salt. Whisk in the orange juice a teaspoon time until you get a thick glaze that drizzles easily off the whisk (I used the full 1 Tbsp). Drizzle glaze over the rolls and serve immediately.