I wandered into Starbucks the other morning in search of a pastry for breakfast. Normally they probably wouldn't be my first stop for breakfast (as a non-coffee drinker), but I remembered that I had a couple dollars left on a gift card and that therefore my pastry would be free! I was intrigued by a roll they called "Mallorca Sweet Bread" and decided to give it a go. It was soft and chewy and covered with powdered sugar. In short, it was delicious. Unfortunately, like most mass-produced baked goods, it had a hint of chemical aftertaste, so I set off to do better.
A quick search led me to this post from The Noshery (unrelated sidenote: the homepage currently includes a recipe for "Runny Egg on Creamy Bacon Polenta", which is now added to my must-try list.) What I learned from her post and my other internet research is that mallorcas (or pan de Mallorca) are a popular Puerto Rican sweet roll based on ensaïmada, a traditional bread from the island of Majorca.
I debated halving the recipe, but Carrie talked me into making the whole thing with the reasoning that we would likely eat more than one at a time (we both have an intense sweet tooth). I'm glad that we have plenty of leftovers, but if I'm making these just for the two of us again, I'll definitely go with a half batch--these rolls are big! We also may or may not have eaten quite a bit of the deliciously sweet dough in the process, but we still had plenty for twelve large rolls. The dough is definitely on the stickier side and was a little difficult to shape because of that. Carrie also wants to make sure that I give her full credit: she was quite helpful and skilled at shaping the rolls. (She was also quite helpful at eating the excess dough in the bowl. :))
Unfortunately, I didn't start on this project until close to 8:00 last night, which meant they weren't going in the oven until nearly midnight. I got a little impatient and put both pans in the oven at the same time. As a result, the ones in the pan near the bottom of the oven got a little overcooked on the bottom, but they're still tasty!
We sprinkled a couple with copious amounts of powdered sugar and ate them immediately.
This morning we filled two with cheese, heated them up in the oven, and powdered sugared them. Delicious! Unfortunately we didn't have any ham, so we couldn't try them with ham and cheese as is apparently traditional, but I have a feeling we'll be making these again. If nothing else, it gives Carrie a good reason to play with her beloved powdered sugar shaker!