Recipe: morning buns
Hey, I didn’t need to wash my car because it RAINED all day Wednesday! What does that say about me when my car is cleaner on a rainy day than a sunny day? Don’t answer that. Even better than the rain, was the snow falling at my house! It was too warm for any of it to stick, but the sentiment was there, and I’m pretty sure those clouds hugging the mountains will clear out eventually to reveal REAL SNOW on the high peaks. This is good. A month later than I prefer, but it’s still good.
As we shifted from cloudless, sunny, warm days to this cloudy, rainy, cold weather, the in-between was rather wonderful. A couple of mornings in a row granted us the right conditions for some impressive light shows, where sun and clouds and rain work together for a greater good. Of course, I was awake and alert well before the first faded rosy glow in the east appeared – because Neva stepped on my stomach at 5 am to snuggle down in the space between the two humans. From then on, it’s fitful sleep for me, so why not just get up and get to work? Thanks to Neva, I found chanterelles this summer and I have caught a lot of great sunrises.
we almost had the whole rainbow in this sunrise
but looking west, there WAS a rainbow (or two)!!
Earlier this week, Jeremy gave a lecture (A Tour of the History of the Universe) at the Chautauqua Community House in Boulder, hosted by the Colorado Chautauqua Association. It was a great talk and the sold out crowd loved it, asking several thoughtful and engaging questions afterward. I mean, who doesn’t love talking about black holes, dark matter, dark energy, the big bang, and where our universe is headed? Jeremy works hard when he has to speak in public, because he’s a bona fide introvert. I know a lot of people who claim to be introverts who aren’t actually introverts. In fact, most of the true introverts I know never say one way or the other because they don’t want to draw attention to themselves and because the extroverts never shut up (I’m an extrovert, by the way).
all eyes on jeremy
As you can imagine, after his talk Jeremy was completely exhausted. He spent the entire day on telecon, teaching class, attending his student’s oral exam, and then giving this lecture well into the night. He didn’t eat beforehand because he didn’t want to puke during the talk, so we had a very late dinner and then it was to bed so we could prepare ourselves for Neva’s early morning wake up leap. But in the morning, I did have some delightful homemade pastries on the counter for him while I rushed out the door, pajamas under my jacket, to shoot sunrise. The day is infinitely better when you start it with pastries. I am particularly fond of the aptly named morning buns.
the dough: sour cream, sugar, salt, egg yolk, orange juice, ice water, yeast, butter, flour
the filling: sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, brown sugar, vanilla
Given a choice, I will stand at a bakery counter and select a savory croissant. If there aren’t any savory pastries for the asking, then I’ll opt for a kouign amann or a morning bun. But I don’t frequent bakeries all that often and morning buns have been on my “want to make” list for years. I was reminded of that the last time we visited with Jeremy’s parents and my MIL commented that morning buns were really quite easy to make. Well, if I’m not good for a morning bun, what AM I good for? Let’s get this party started. A key to this recipe is using a ziploc bag. A large one. I tend to love recipes that employ a ziploc bag – espresso chocolate chip shortbread cookies, roast turkey gravy, and the recent bourbon-glazed beef tenderloin. In this case, you place all of the dry dough ingredients into the bag, add the butter, and alternate between rolling the (sealed) bag over with a rolling pin and shaking it around to coat the butter. Keep doing this until you get nice big flat flakes of butter. That means good things as far as pastries are concerned.
place the dry dough ingredients in the ziploc bag
slice the butter (that’s a bowl of beautiful if i ever saw one)
add the butter to the ziploc bag
seal and roll and shake and roll and shake and…
add the remaining dough ingredients
The resulting dough is pretty sticky and wet to work with. I may have over-kneaded it a tad because of the stickiness, so just bear in mind that this is a wet dough and it’s okay that way. Otherwise you sacrifice some of the flakiness in the final pastry. Work it into a cohesive ball and then roll it out, roll it up, and smoosh it a little. Pop the dough in the freezer for about 15 minutes while you mix the filling.
knead the dough into a cohesive ball
roll it to 20×12 inches
roll it up into a tight cylinder
pat it down to 12×4 inches
freeze for 15 minutes
Toss the filling ingredients together with a fork and then butter your muffin tins. You can bake these buns in muffin liners, but I wanted to go for maximum mess, so I baked them directly in my muffin tins. If you do go the route of muffin liners, you should still butter the tins. When the dough is ready, roll it out again to that target 20×12 inches as best you can.
place the filling ingredients in a medium bowl
mix together with a fork
sprinkle the filling over the dough
leave a 1/2-inch clean margin
roll the dough up and pinch to seal along the edge
Slice the dough into twelve equal pieces and set them cut-side-up in the muffin tins. At this point, you can give yourself four hours while the dough chills in the refrigerator or call it a day and revisit the dough the next day – up to 24 hours later. It’s either a long day or a two-day affair. Proof the buns in a warm oven and then bake until deep golden in color. One thing that irks me to no end is underdone pastries. We encounter this in restaurants all the time. That dark golden hue is flavor, people! It doesn’t have to be burnt, but color is good.
place in muffin tins and chill
proof the buns in a warm oven until doubled in size
bake to a golden brown
Like I said, I am pretty certain I overworked the dough when kneading it, because the pastry – while flaky – was not as flaky as I like. So don’t be too heavy handed with the dough at the expense of developing those nice layers of pastry. The orange flavor and gooey caramelized bits are sunshine in your mouth. I do recommend removing the buns from the pans after letting them cool for 5 minutes (so you don’t burn yourself with molten sugar). If you wait to let the sugar cool completely, they will be cemented to the tins by the caramel and then you’ll just be eating these straight from the muffin tin because WHO WASTES GOOD PASTRIES?! I’m shouting, but only because I love these buns so much. These are perfect for make-ahead breakfasts that will wow and impress even your harshest critics. How much complaining can they do if you shove a morning bun in their mouth?
swirly buttery cinnamon bundles of deliciousness
oh flaky pastry, how you tempt me
from Brown Eyed Baker
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsps instant (rapid rise) yeast
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices, chilled
1 cup sour cream, cold
1/4 cup orange juice, cold
3 tbsps ice water
1 egg yolk
extra butter, softened (for the muffin tins)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp orange zest, grated
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Make the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a gallon ziploc bag. Shake to mix. Add the butter to the bag, seal the bag, and shake to coat the butter. Press the air out of the bag and reseal it. Roll over the bag with a rolling pin, shaking the bag after each pass until the butter becomes large flakes. Empty the contents into a large bowl. Stir the sour cream, orange juice, ice water, and egg yolk into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead the dough into a smooth, cohesive ball. Roll the dough out into a 20×12-inch rectangle. Starting at the short end, begin rolling the dough into a tight cylinder (like you’d roll a carpet). Pat the cylinder into a a 12×4-inch rectangle. Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with plastic. Freeze for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, generously butter 12 muffin tins.
Make the filling: Mix all of the ingredients together.
Assemble the buns: Roll the dough into a 20×12-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the filling over the dough, leaving 1/2-inch clean margins along the edges. Lightly press the filling into the dough. Starting from the long end, roll the dough up into a cylinder, pinching the final edge to the roll to seal it. Trim the ends of the roll with a sharp knife, then cut the roll into 12 pieces of equal width. Place each roll, cut-side up, in the muffin tin (you can use muffin papers if you like, but I like how the butter and sugars caramelize in the bottom of the tin). Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
Bake the buns: Preheat the oven to 200°F. Remove the buns from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Turn the oven off and proof the buns in the oven for 20-30 minutes until they have doubled in size. Remove the buns from the oven and increase the temperature to 425°F. Bake the morning buns for 5 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to bake until the buns turn a deep golden brown, about 40-50 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes, then remove the morning buns from the tins (if you let them cool in the tins, they may just stick as the caramel turns hard). Makes 12 buns.
more goodness from the use real butter archives
|kouign amann pastry
|huckleberry lemon sweet rolls
|apple cider caramel apple cinnamon rolls
|peach pie cinnamon rolls