Golfeados are a wonderfully delicious Venezuelan take on sticky buns. Adding cheese to a sweet roll might seem unusual, but it adds a wonderful layer of flavor. These sweet treats are definitely worth a try!
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I'm not generally a huge sweet tooth, though I do have a few things I have a soft spot for. And homemade cinnamon rolls are definitely one of them. The eggnog cinnamon rolls I made at the end of last year were so wonderfully soft, tender and flavorful that I quickly made some others soon after.
But then I forgot again for a while, until I came across golfeados. I was intrigued by the idea of adding cheese to a sweet roll. But felt it was definitely something I needed to try.
So, on a rainy day not too long ago, it seemed the perfect excuse to get baking. To say they were popular would be an understatement!
What are golfeados?
Golfeados are a Venezuelan pastry. It's in effect their version of sticky buns but with a couple of distinct twists. The filling is not just butter and sugar, there's also cheese in there. Plus, these sweet rolls are usually flavored with anise.
Actually I say sugar, but both the filling and the syrup are traditionally made with piloncillo, also known as panela, which is an unrefined cane sugar. It's usually sold in cone-shaped blocks.
While it's common in much of Latin America, it's also actually the same as jaggery that you find in Indian and Sri Lankan cooking. If you can't find it, use brown sugar instead.
What type of cheese is in golfeados?
The cheese used in the filling for these sweet rolls is a semi-hard cheese known simply as "queso blanco". Since you may not find that, you can use other hard cheeses with a slight saltiness, such as here I used a mixture of parmesan and manchego. Other recipes I have seen suggest pecorino or gouda.
Golfeados are often served with a softer cheese called "queso de mano". You can substitute this with mozarella of queso fresco. It might seem unusual, but I found the slight saltiness against the sweet syrup was a really delicious contrast.
How to make golfeados
You make these in much the same way as any other sweet roll or cinnamon roll. The dough is pretty soft, but it's relatively easy to work with.
Not all recipes give the dough an initial rise before rolling out and filling, but I have partly as it's what I would always typically do for a nice soft texture. Do as time allows.
Don't skip the glaze after you take the rolls out of the oven as it adds that wonderful sheen, sticky top and just helps bring it all together, I think.
Yes, there are a few steps, but they are easy enough to make. Plus they don't have to be perfect (mine aren't, I know), as they will still be delicious. Just try to have the roll relatively tight and if it's not, you can help it along a little once in the dish, twisting from the middle.
These golfeados are a delicious take on the sticky bun theme. They were enjoyed quickly in our house, which was kind of the point with this smaller batch recipe. But it does mean we might need to make them again soon.
Looking for more international treats for your sweet tooth? Try these
- Millionaire's shortbread
- French lemon yogurt cake
- Kolache cookies
- Eccles cakes
- Plus get more ideas, sweet and savory, in the snack recipes archives.
Tools to make these
I used my Le Creuset baking dish for this which worked well.
See some of my favorite cooking tools and ingredients in the Caroline's Cooking Amazon store.
Golfeados (Venezuelan cheese sticky buns)
For roll dough
- ¾ cup milk 180ml
- 2 tbsp butter 30g
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp dried instant yeast
- 2 cups all purpose flour 280g plain flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp aniseed lightly ground
- 1 egg
For the filling
- 2 tbsp butter 30g, room temperature
- 1 cup finely grated hard cheese 32g, eg any of or a mix of parmesan, pecorino and/or manchego
- ¼ cup brown sugar 40g/4tbsp (or ideally panela, if you can get it)
For the syrup
- ½ cup brown sugar 80g (or ideally panela, if you can get it)
- ½ cup water 120ml
- Gently warm the milk, butter and sugar until the butter melts and milk dissolves. Let it cool until tepid then add yeast and stir.
- Measure out the flour, salt and aniseed then add the milk-yeast mixture and egg.
- Bring the mixture together, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes, adding flour as kneaded. It should be soft but not too sticky.
- Once smooth, put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and put in a warm place to rise for around an hour until roughly doubled.
- Following the rise, knock back the dough, roll or press it out into a square around 10in/25cm square then spread on the butter.
- Sprinkle over the cheese then the sugar/panela then roll up relatively tightly.
- Cut the roll into around 8 slices and put in a baking dish, around 10x7in (25x18cm) with just a little space between.
- Cover and leave to rise again for around 30 minutes until roughly doubled.
- Part way through, preheat oven to 350F/175C.
- Bake for around 30 minutes until golden brown on top.
- While they are baking, make the syrup by warming the sugar/panela together over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer for around 5 minutes to thicken slightly then set aside.
- You can lightly brush the rolls with some of the syrup before the last 5-10 minutes of baking, or else just wait until they are done. Either way, once they are out the oven evenly pour the syrup over the rolls while still warm then leave to cool in the dish. Enjoy warm.
Try these other Central and South American desserts:
- Alfajores - Dulce de Lech Sandwich Cookies by Sneha's Recipe
- Chajá (in Need of Revision) + Pionono de Coco y Dulce de Leche by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Cocada de Forno - Brazilian Baked Coconut by Karen's Kitchen Stories
- Guatemalan Pastel Borracho (Drunk Cake) by Home Sweet Homestead
- Sequilhos de Coco – Brazilian Coconut Cornstarch Cookies by The Schizo Chef
- Tres Leche Cake - 3 milk cake by Recipe Pocket