Christmas Rolls

Just to let you know, this post was written before I started the paleo diet to help ease my psoriasis. Nowadays I eat a more allergy-friendly diet, but leave these older, non-paleo posts up in case they are useful to readers, as I know not everyone eats the same as I do. Thanks for your understanding. 

So I was flicking through January's Good Food magazine and came across a Paul Hollywood section on excellent things to bake for Christmas time. There was a lovely marzipan twist, and some little Christmas buns. The thing is, I love marzipan and quite fancied baking it into some swirling buns, full of the flavours of this time of year: cinnamon, rum, dried fruits. What I really wanted was a cross between the two breads. So, boosted by the success of the recent Cinnamon and Apple Rolls, I pottered about a bit in the kitchen and made it! Make them now, to start the festivities early or make them up later, and give away as presents. I love them warm, straight from the oven. 

Christmas Rolls
Makes about 15-16

For the dough:
  • 500g strong white bread flour, plus more for rolling out and kneading
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7g sachet fast-action yeast
  • 300ml milk
  • 25g butter, unsalted
For the filling:
  • couple handfuls dried apricots (about 16)
  • 20ml dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons mincemeat, from a jar
  • 100g marzipan
  • icing sugar, to dust
  1. The night before you make this, put the dried apricots into a bowl and tip over the rum. Cover with clingfilm and leave overnight.
  2. When you're ready to make the rolls, tip the flour into a large bowl with the salt. Mix gently. Heat the milk gently with the butter until the butter has just melted and the milky mixture is lukewarm. If it's too hot, give it a few minutes to cool.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the yeast. Add the milk and butter mixture and stir to make a soft dough. Once it comes together, tip out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes, until elastic and no longer sticky.
  4. Place in a bowl, cover with clong film and leave to rise in a warm place (I tuck mine between towels in the airing cupboard) for about an hour.
  5. When the hour's up, punch the dough a few times - it will shrink. Tip out onto a floured work surface and roll out to a rectangle about 1cm thick. Brush over the melted butter, and then scatter over the brown sugar.
  6. Roll out the marzipan and place patches of it all over the buttery sugary bread. Spoon over the mincemeat and spread it out right to the edges of the dough. Chop the rum-soaked apricots and scatter these over too.
  7. Starting with the longest edge, roll up the dough tightly to make a swiss roll shape. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into approx 2cm wide rounds, and place in a lined and buttered cake tin, baking dish or whatever you have handy. I managed to get 16 rounds with my dough -  you might need two tins!
  8. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes more. Preheat your oven to 200C.
  9. Slide the buns very carefully into the oven, taking care not to slam your oven door and bake for 20 minutes, or until the buns are risen and golden.
  10. Leave to cool slightly and dust with some snowy icing sugar. Eat while still slightly warm.


  1. I was tempted by both of those bakes in the magazine too. I love your version! Well thought out.

    Oh and I got a free sample from Fattoria La Vialla the other day too after I got a catalogue from them at the time of your original post. It was a sweet dessert wine in a really cute little bottle and some sweet little biscuits. Once I had finished everything for the evening, I took some time out to enjoy them. Their clever little marketing has probably worked as I think I will get some Christmas presents from them.

  2. Thanks :) ! It was a cross between the two bakes in the magazine with a bit of the cinnamon bun thrown in too! Pleased about La Vialla - yes their marketing is really slick and I always think that they make a real effort with samples/catalogues etc. It all looks really well thought out.


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