I love black rice! It’s so tasty and chock-a-bock FULL of vitamins and antioxidants. And the COLOR… Be. Still. My. Heart! Ever since I first discovered it, I have been inspired to figure out creative ways to incorporate it into more of my dishes. Then, I became slightly obsessed with making my own flour for gluten free and higher nutrition dishes. Which brings us to this experiment with black rice flour that I milled by inappropriately using a kitchen device that we will call “Blister Foffy” to protect its identity. (FYI: Blister Foffy also made short work of my fresh spices, coconut meal, almond flour, etc… etc… etc…)
1 Tbs active dry yeast
2 cups warm coconut milk
5 cups black rice flour
3 cups coconut flour
2 tsp powdered xanthan gum
¾ cup organic sugar
1 tsp sea salt
5 large eggs
1 stick melted butter (or vegan butter or ½ cup coconut oil)
2 Tbs cinnamon (fresh ground if possible)
2 Tbs cardamom (preferably fresh ground)
1 Tbs allspice (fresher is better)
3-4 cups fresh (or frozen and thawed) pineapple
1 ½ cups pitted dates (the fresh, gooey kind, not the sad, dried-out kind)
1 cup chopped pistachios
1 cup chopped pumpkin seeds
¼ cup (real) maple syrup
¼ cup melted butter
Dissolve the yeast into ½ cup of the warm (105-110 degree) coconut milk in a heat- proof bowl. Set yeasty milk somewhere warm to bubble (*I’m no baker, but I’ve heard if it doesn’t get bubbly and turn into a big, creepy eggy looking monster, your yeast might be bad. Get fresh yeast).
While “proofing” the yeast, combine all the ingredients for the “Spice Mixture” in a small bowl and set aside.
Combine all remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl, including 1 Tbs of the spice mixture.
Once the yeast has bubbled about 30 minutes, whisk the eggs, remaining 1 ½ cup milk and butter into it, then add to the dry ingredients. (*after assisting me with my second delicious batch or Black Rice Rolls, Kira informed me that this method is appropriate for muffins, but not breads… the proper method would be to stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. As I was already up to my ears in more rolls than I could possibly eat, I have not compared the techniques.)
Work the dough by hand or stand mixer until consistently combined. Divide dough in half and form into a ball.
Put each ball in a larger, greased bowl and set in a warm area, covered, to rise for about an hour.
Pulp the pineapple and dates in a blender or food processor until mostly smooth, with small, recognizable pieces. This will be the filling for the rolls.
After the dough has risen (it won’t have risen excessively), roll one of the balls of dough onto parchment paper into a large rectangle approximately ¼” thick. *you can mostly press the dough out by hand and just use the rolling pin for smoothing it at the end. Dough will have similar texture to wet play-doh, and will be easy to trim and reform to make as rectangular as possible.
Evenly spread half of the pineapple/date filling over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle half of the chopped pistachios and pumpkinseeds over the mixture. Dust with approximately 1 ¾ Tbs spice mixture.
Slowly and carefully pry up one long edge of the rectangle and start to roll the dough into a long log… trying not to disrupt the filling or create air pockets. The parchment paper can be used to help hold the dough together during rolling (fold parchment paper back while rolling the log forward, to avoid rolling paper INTO the dough).
Once dough is completely rolled, use a large clean, sharp knife to slice the log into wheels approximately 1-1 ½ inches thick (aim for 16 wheels per dough log). *if the dough is very wet or soft, move whole dough log to the refrigerator to chill and somewhat harden before attempting to cut.
Carefully transfer wheels onto lightly greased baking sheet or pan. It is easy at this point to adjust the shape of the wheel if you desire a more uniform result. Repeat process with other ball of dough and remaining filling.
Set all pans of rolls in a warm place to rise 30 minutes.
Mix the maple syrup into the melted butter and brush the tops of all the rolls until all the mixture is used. Dust with remaining spice mixture.
Bake 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven. This dough is too dark to rely on color (i.e. “golden brown”) as an indicator that the rolls are “done”. Be diligent about monitoring the time, but you may have to eat one to determine when they can be removed from the oven. The life of a Baker is a hard one, indeed.
*This nutritional data is based on information from various online sources and my highschool math skills!
**These rolls get stale and depressing after about 2 days. Freeze any rolls you are not immediately eating in order to prolong the enjoyment!
***We did a variation for a friend who has extensive food allergies, including cinnamon. We omitted the cinnamon and added ¼ c fresh orange zest and 1 Tbs ground clove. They were very festive, flavorful and orangey, but they somewhat resembled a cow-patty rather than a purple cinnamon roll.