I had the best commute when I lived in Munich, Germany the summer of 2008. Every morning on the way to work via metro, I would pass by a number of bakeries and have my choice of delicious German pastries. At first, Almond Croissants were my go-to, with their delightfully flaky crust and irresistible, warm almond paste filling. Though Almond Croissants remained in the regular rotation, I soon found a new favorite: Mohn Schnecken.
Mohn Schnecken directly translates to poppy seed snails, or the German equivalent of the classic American Cinnamon Roll, but with poppy seeds instead of cinnamon. These amazing, black and white swirl pastry rounds are filled with a subtly-sweet poppy seed paste and topped off with a thick layer of glaze. Whether you bite into them or unravel them as you go along, they are an absolute delight!
So, fast forward seven long years with no Mohn Schnecken in my life to when my friend Nadine from Munich visited, we, of course, had to recreate my German culinary experience in California. In fact, during my last week in Germany, Nadine left me with the parting gift of teaching me how to make Mohn Schnecken myself, but alas I had not tried to remake them until her visit now.
Naturally, we started by grocery shopping for poppy seeds, but they were far more expensive than in Germany, so we improvised. Instead, we decided to make Sesame Rolls and Pecan Rolls covered with an orange glaze.
We collected our ingredients and mixed together the flour, sugar, butter, salt, yeast, and milk in my KitchenAid to create a dough. We used the proofing setting on the oven to keep the dough in a warm place and wait for it to double.
In the meantime, we pulsed the chopped pecans in my Vitamix to create a rough pecan powder for the filling.
After mixing the sugar, cinnamon, and egg together, we split the result up so we could use half of the mixture for the pecans and the other half for the sesame seeds. Once integrated with the respective primary ingredient, we were finished with the fillings.
We rolled out the dough and spread each filling out on either side of the dough rectangle, leaving two inches empty along the top.
We popped the trays in the preheated to 350°F oven for 20 minutes. Then, we rolled up our sleeves for the glaze.
For the glaze, we needed powdered sugar (higher surface area for dissolving), but only had regular sugar. Fortunately, the Vitamix dry ingredients attachment came to the rescue, and, within minutes, we ground up our sugar into powdered sugar.
We also improvised yet again by using Izze Sparkling Clementine soda instead of orange juice for the glaze.
Once the rolls were finished in the oven with a golden brown hue, we applied the glaze and a dash of pecans or sesame seeds for garnish.
They were fantastic to eat fresh out of the oven and even for the next few days as breakfast or an afternoon snack! What a perfect way to celebrate a bit of Germany in California. I hope you enjoy these schnecken swirls as much as I have!
Sesame Swirls with Orange Glaze and Pecan Swirls with Orange Glaze.
- 2.5 cups flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1 stick butter
- 1 packet dry yeast
- 4 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup roughly ground pecans
- 2/3 cup sesame seeds
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
Combine flour, milk, butter, yeast, sugar, and salt in mixing bowl.
Using electric mixer, mix until ingredients form a smooth dough.
Place dough in warm place, such as in the oven with the Proof setting, until it doubles.
Roughly grind pecans if not already ground.
In mixing bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
In separate bowl, whisk egg.
Mix whisked egg into sugar cinnamon combination.
Split sugar, cinnamon, and egg mixture in half. Combine one half with the pecans and the other with the sesame seeds.
In bowl, mix powdered sugar, water, and orange juice into frosting.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Now that the dough has doubled, knead dough for 5 minutes and roll it out into a rectangle.
Thinly spread filling onto each half of dough, leaving an inch or so empty.
Roll up lengthwise and seal with empty side of dough.
Cut large roll into 24 smaller rolls.
Place rolls on baking tray.
Bake rolls at 350°F for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Brush warm rolls with glaze and top with extra nuts or sesame to taste.