Caramel Roll

A person could write a thick guide book devoted exclusively to America’s hundreds of outstanding sticky buns and sweet rolls, celebrating their nuttiness, their size (in Iowa, especially), the buttery flavor of caramel, the abundance of cinnamon. But there is little question among many Roadfood devotees where the very best one is: at Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis. This superior sweet roll, the recipe for which the late chef Mitch Omer credited to his father, is a hefty swirl of tender dough topped with plenty of caramel glaze and a spill of roasted pecans. The dough is not the buttery, croissant-like stuff that makes many of the nation’s top buns such delicate delicacies; rather, it is soft and pillowy and, hence, more absorbent. That’s the way it needs to be, because as soon as you press down with your fork edge and separate a bite, you want to mop it through the caramel syrup that has spilled off the roll onto its plate. It is nearly as thin as pancake syrup and as buttery as it is sweet. While pushing the mouthful through the caramel, you need to gather up as many chunks of nut as you can, for it is the nuts that elevate an mmm-good roll to omigod! status. They are broken coarse enough to embody fresh, nutmeat luxury within a roasted-crisp skin, and they are sprinkled with a few grains of coarse salt. Therein lies the magic. The occasional ping of a salt crystal in a sea of buttery caramel gives the glaze a dramatic vibrancy beyond anything that is purely sweet or salty. It is the same flavor alchemy that prevails in those famous little caramel candies from Brittany, but here delivered on a grand scale, for breakfast no less.

Restaurants With This Dish

Rascal’s Cajun Express


Hans’ Bakery


Bread & Chocolate


Hell’s Kitchen


Parrain’s Seafood


Grandma Ruth’s



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