Here it is…February already. And tomorrow, my favourite varmint, Punxsutawney Phil, will be stepping out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob and letting everyone know if there will be 6 more weeks of winter or if instead Spring is on the way. Now I think I can say with a fair amount of confidence, and much to my dismay, Spring is already here. There has really been no Winter to speak of this year. Total snow free zone! Given that, I must say I’m hoping that the little Punxsutawney critter sees his shadow!
Phil & all the folks up in Punxsutawney aren’t the only ones celebrating now. February 1st, which falls half way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, also marks the festivals of Imbolc, St. Brigid’s Day and Candlemas, all of which are associated with fertility, fire, purification and weather divination. Quite an auspicious time of year! I’m very happy to be marking an event today as well. February 1st just happens to be the 9th year anniversary of the my cooking blog! Yup… Nine years ago today I posted my first recipe. It was for Cream Tea Scones with Currants.
I’ve done an anniversary post nearly every year since. One of my favorite recipes that I shared was: Model Bakery’s English Muffins:
Some of my other anniversary edition recipes are the completely decadent Banana Rum Muffins:
That jaw-dropping, over the top Crack Pie:
And who can forget that magical “caviar of the South” – Pasture’s Pimento Cheese:
Last year, I shared a recipe for English Muffin Toasting Bread, which is ridiculously easy to make and superb for toasting – just like a craggy English Muffin – but without all the work.
This year’s recipe, Fruit Filled Morning Buns, wasn’t as easy a recipe to pull off, but oh my stars was it worth it!
These delightful little devils are made with a yeasty dough, layered with butter, caramelized sugar, cinnamon and gooey chocolatey raspberry jam! And as if that weren’t enough, as soon as you pop them out of the oven you roll them in a bit more sugar. Breakfast bliss I tell you!
I should say here that you can use whatever your favorite preserves happen to be or even leave the jam part out all together. I had just made up a batch of scrumptious chocolate raspberry jam for Christmas, so I decided to go with that. I chose to spread a thin layer of jam over the dough before rolling it up, however you can also just spread the butter/sugar mixture over the dough and add a dollop of jam on top of the bun prior to baking.
These treats were definitely worth the effort, but there was without a doubt, effort going on. You see, these buns are made with Baker’s Croissant Dough. This type of dough is a yeasted laminated dough. Basically you mix up a yeasted dough, roll it out and place a layer of butter on top of it. You then enclose the butter within the dough and proceed to roll it out and fold it over and over again. This creates a dough which has multiple alternating layers of dough and butter. The butter evaporates when baked and that is what forms all those lovely flaky layers in a croissant or in this case – a morning bun.
I guess this doesn’t sound terribly difficult, but there are quite a few steps involved, a lot of rolling out dough and an overnight refrigeration to complete before you can even begin to assemble the morning buns.
Again – totally worth it. Labor of love and all that stuff. No regrets. But I do want you to know what you’re getting into and allow enough time.
And some great news is that the recipe for the Baker’s Croissant Dough is double what you need for the Morning Buns. So you can freeze the other half and be ahead of the game next time whether you’re making more Morning Buns or trying your hand at homemade croissants! That time saver for next time is most definitely a “win”!
But not to get ahead of myself talking about the next thing you are going to bake. Stay in the moment – which will be oh so memorable once these little gems come out of the oven and you’ve had your first nibble. Crispy on the outside, soft, tender and flaky on the inside with an enchanting caramelized chewy bottom. Just Brilliant! Happy Blog-a-versary to me!
Fruit Filled Morning Buns
For the Pastry:
- 1/2 recipe Baker’s Croissant Dough (recipe detailed below)
For the Filling:
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar plus more for coating the pan
- 1 tablespoon viennese cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon grated orange rind (zest)
- 4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup (53g) packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (170g) fruit preserves, of your choice, optional
Generously butter the wells of a 12-cup muffin pan. Spoon a teaspoon of granulated sugar into each of the wells, then tap the pan in all directions to coat the insides. Turn the pan over and lightly tap out any excess.
To make the filling: Combine the sugars, cinnamon, and orange zest, stirring well with a fork to distribute the zest.
To assemble: Roll the dough to an 18″ x 8″ rectangle.
Brush the rectangle with melted butter. Spread a thin layer of jam over the dough if you are using. Sprinkle the dough generously with the sugar mixture and go over it lightly with a rolling pin to press it into the butter/jam. Roll the dough up from the long edge into a tight cylinder. Cut into 1 1/2″ slices. Place the slices, cut side up, in the wells of the prepared pan.
Let the buns rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a room no warmer than 75°F (any warmer and the butter may begin to leak out). The buns should increase to one and a half to two times their original size. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
If desired, just before baking, butter the back of a spoon and press down on the center of the buns. Place 2 teaspoons of the preserves in the indentation.
Place the pan on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the buns are deep golden brown.
Place a cooling rack over a piece of parchment. Remove the buns from the oven and immediately (and carefully) transfer them out of the pan onto the rack. If desired, roll the warm buns in granulated sugar and sprinkle the tops once more. Let cool slightly and eat warm or at room temperature.
Store, lightly covered, at room temperature for up to two days; freeze for longer storage.
Baker’s Croissants Dough
For the dough:
- 2 large eggs + enough warm water to make 2 cups (454g) of liquid
- 1/4 cup (50g) sugar, divided
- 5 1/2 to 6 cups (659g to 723g) All purpose Flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons (28g) butter, melted
- 1/2 cup (71g) Bakers Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk, optional
- 1 scant tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional; for sweet pastry)
For the Butter:
- 1 7/8 cups (425g) unsalted butter, cool to the touch
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (60g) All purpose flour
For the dough: Put the eggs and water in a large mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar, 3 cups (362g) of the flour, and the yeast. Mix until well blended; set aside to let the sponge work.
For the butter: Cut the butter into 1˝ chunks and combine with the salt and flour at low speed in a stand mixer just until smooth, with no lumps. Be careful not to beat too much; you don’t want to incorporate any air.
Spread the butter on a piece of plastic wrap and shape into an 8˝ square. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Finish the dough: Add the melted butter to the sponge. Whisk together the remaining sugar, 2 1/2 cups (298g) of the flour, the dry milk, and salt and add to the sponge. Mix until the dough forms. Knead for 5 minutes; touch the dough lightly with your finger. If it’s still sticky, add the remaining flour 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough is the desired consistency. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, pat it into a 9˝ square, then wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Laminate the dough: Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and gently roll it to a 12″ square.
Unwrap the butter square and place it in the center of the dough at a 45° angle, so it looks like a diamond in a square. Pull the corners of the dough into the center of the butter diamond. Moisten the edges with a little water and pinch the seams together well to enclose the butter. Dust the top with flour and turn the packet over.
Tap the dough all over with a rolling pin, encouraging it into a rectangular shape. Once it’s pliable, roll it to a 20˝ x 10˝ rectangle, picking it up and dusting lightly with flour as needed.
When you’ve reached the proper size, use a dry brush to sweep off any excess flour and fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter. Take care to keep the edges straight and line them up directly over each other. If the dough slides around, use a little water at the corners to tack them in place. This is your first turn.
Rotate the dough out so it looks like a book about to be opened. Roll the dough out once more to 20˝ x 10˝ and fold it as before. This is the second turn. Wrap the dough and refrigerate it for 30 minutes to allow the gluten in the dough to relax.
Give the dough two more turns after its rest, then wrap the dough well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight before using. You can also freeze the dough at this point.
Fruit Filled Morning Buns brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Fruit Filled Morning Buns: