Category Archives: Sweet Rolls

Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns

Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsSome recipes I’m posting during this time are going to be super pared-down and simple, and others are…well…not. What can I say? Bakers gonna bake.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsThese Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns came to be because I went into this time of quarantine with a ton of heavy cream in my fridge. It’s usually reserved for making buttercream for the various layer cakes I make every month, but there are no cakes on my calendar for…who knows how long.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsSo, what to do with all that cream? Whip it, make ice cream, make biscuits, and—oh yeah—combine it with the giant bag of pecans in my pantry and roll it all into super soft, tender sticky buns. Yesssss.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsThis is not the first time I’ve used biscuit dough to make sweet rolls on here, but it is certainly the prettiest (forgive those photos—I was a baby blogger). Assembly is super simple and, aside from the lack of rise, pretty similar to regular sweet rolls. Make a dough, make a filling, roll it all up, slice, arrange, bake over a lake of sticky pecan stuff, invert, eat. Boom, done.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsCream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsCream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsI’ve designed this recipe to be for just nine rolls. I figure most of us don’t need more than that sitting around to taunt us from the kitchen counter. If nine still seems like too many, know that these keep remarkably well in the fridge for a few days and can be reheated on demand.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsNow for the social distancing swaps so you don’t have to go to the store.

-Have nuts that aren’t pecans? Use ‘em.

-Don’t like nuts? Leave ‘em out entirely. Nothing terrible will happen.

-Don’t have honey for the topping? Use maple syrup, agave, light corn syrup, or golden syrup.

-Use any milk you like for the topping. I went with almond. In a pinch, you can swap the milk for 2 tablespoons of cream and 3 of water.

-Don’t have cream at all? You can use another biscuit dough. I’d be careful about making sure the dough stays cold and probably give the sliced & arranged rolls a good chill before baking.

-Feel like making traditional yeasted sticky buns? Click here. (You can leave out the bananas.)Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns

Even with all those swaps, these buns may not quite qualify as quarantine-friendly for some, but they do for me. In an effort to stay home, I’m baking with things that are already in my pantry and fridge, as we all should be. To see more social distancing bakes, click here. And if you’re more inclined to cook than bake right now, head over to my Instagram. I’m posting easy dinner recipes over there a few times a week.

For now though, have a great weekend, and for the love of yourself and everyone else, stay home and make yourself a special breakfast. You’ve earned it! We all have.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns

Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns
makes 9 medium-large buns

Topping:
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup milk of choice
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Biscuits:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream, cold

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan with butter. Set aside.

Make the topping. Place pecans on a dry baking sheet. Toast for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool for a few minutes. Chop finely. Set aside 1/2 cup pecans for the filling.

Combine butter, brown sugar, milk, honey, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir constantly while mixture boils for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into prepared pan—it will seem thin. Tilt pan slightly to coat evenly. Scatter 1 cup chopped pecans evenly over the topping. Refrigerate full pan while you prepare the rolls.

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, until it’s completely combined. Set aside.

Make the biscuit dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in heavy cream, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Dough will be shaggy.

On a floured surface, roll half the dough into a 10×14-inch rectangle so that the edge closest to your body is 14 inches. Drop spoonfuls of filling over dough and use an offset knife (or butter knife) to spread it out, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edge. Scatter on reserved pecans. Starting at the long edge furthest away from your body, tightly roll the dough toward you until you have one large cylinder. Slice into 9 pieces, and place close together in the prepared pan. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes, until light golden and fully cooked.

Let cooked rolls rest in the pan on a rack for 3 minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan. Place a large serving plate (or cutting board) upside down on top of the pan. Wearing oven mitts, tightly grab the plate and the pan and flip them over, inverting the rolls onto the plate. Remove pan. Nudge any leftover topping onto the rolls and smooth to distribute evenly. Serve warm. If rolls do not release, return pan to the oven for a minute to warm the topping before trying to invert again.

Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns are best served the day they are made, but may be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsCream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsCream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns

Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls

Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsToday is alllll about meyer lemons, y’all! As far as I’m concerned, they’re the queen of winter citrus. If you’ve never tried them, they’re what happens when you cross a mandarin orange with a lemon. This goes without saying, but they’re very, very good in baked goods.

Exhibit A: these Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls!Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsThese tall, fluffy rolls make excellent use of meyer lemon juice and zest. They’re bright and tangy and just a little bit sticky, but in the best sort of way.Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsMeyer Lemon Sweet RollsMeyer Lemon Sweet RollsThese rolls get three doses of meyer lemon flavor. The first is in the filling, which is simply a paste made of meyer lemon zest, sugar, salt and melted butter. It’s spread onto the dough before it’s rolled up, sliced, risen and baked.Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsNext up: a glaze! I got the idea for painting on a glaze from last year’s Meyer Lemon Drizzle Cakes and I regret nothing. This simple syrup is made of meyer lemon juice and a few tablespoons of sugar, and brushed onto the rolls right after they come out of the oven. It makes them a little sticky and a little glossy and I am very much here for it.Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsMeyer Lemon Sweet RollsIt’s all rounded out with a layer of meyer lemon icing. Ohhhh, the icing. It’s the crowning glory of this whole operation! To make it, just whisk a couple tablespoons of meyer lemon juice and a pinch of salt into a cup of confectioners sugar, and then spoon/pour/drizzle/spread it all over the tops of the rolls so that they’re absolutely impossible to resist.Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsAnd then eat the dang rolls and bask in the sunshiny goodness that is the union of perfect winter citrus and fluffy pastry. Bask, I tell you.Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls

Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls
makes 12 rolls

Dough:
2 2/3-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature

Filling:
2 tablespoons meyer lemon zest (about 2-3 meyer lemons)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh meyer lemon juice (1-2 meyer lemons)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Icing:
1 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2-3 tablespoons fresh meyer lemon juice (1-1 1/2 meyer lemons)

Grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish or rimmed baking pan. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until hot to the touch, about 110F.

Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold milk mixture into dry ingredients , followed by beaten eggs. Add more all-purpose flour in 2 tablespoon increments until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Knead 5-6 minutes before forming into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes (you may do this in a bowl, but I just do this on my surface).

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use your fingertips to rub meyer lemon zest into sugar. Add salt and melted butter and stir with a fork until a paste forms.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12×18-inch rectangle. Drop filling over the dough by the spoonful. Use an offset knife or the back of a spoon to spread filling mixture over the dough, keeping a 1/2-inch perimeter on all sides. Starting with the long edge closest to your body, tightly roll filled dough away from you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 12 rolls. Place rolls close together in prepared pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Place covered pan in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes, until rolls have doubled in size. Remove pan from oven.

Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls. Bake 25-30 minutes (mine took 27), tenting the rolls with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

While rolls are baking, make the glaze. In a small bowl, use a fork to stir together meyer lemon juice and sugar. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until the sugar has dissolved (45-60 seconds total).

Remove rolls from the oven. Let cool 1-2 minutes, then use a pastry brush to paint glaze all over all exposed pastry. Use all glaze. Let sit 5 minutes while you make the icing.

Make the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons of meyer lemon juice. Add more juice by the teaspoon (up to 3 teaspoons) until icing is thick, but pourable.

Spoon/pour icing over the rolls and use an offset icing knife or the back of a spoon to spread icing over the rolls as desired. Serve.

Meyer Lemon Sweet Rolls are best served the day they are made, but will keep covered at room temperature for a day or so.Meyer Lemon Sweet RollsMeyer Lemon Sweet RollsMeyer Lemon Sweet Rolls

Orange Cardamom Morning Buns

Orange Cardamom Morning BunsThere’s little rhyme or reason as to what I choose to blog—it’s usually just whatever I’ve felt like making lately. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a breakfast kick. I’m not exactly sure how many fall breakfast options I think you need, but it’s at least three: waffles, a pumpkin-spiced oven pancake, and these Orange Cardamom Morning Buns.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsI mean, look at these sticky, swirly things! You need them. I need them. Preferably on Saturday morning alongside my daily French press.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsThey’re flaky and fluffy, filled with a fragrant orange-cardamom sugar, and twisted to perfection. The crowning glory is a brush of orange-cardamom glaze as soon as the buns come out of the oven, which gives them an extra layer of flavor and their gleaming appearance.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsOh, and they take two hours start-to-finish—a rarity in the from-scratch breakfast bun realm. And their twists? Much easier than they look. My motor skills are seriously lacking (I am comically bad with scissors), so if I can shape them, anyone can.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsJust twist a strip of dough and tie it in a knot. Boom, done.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsEven if you do it “wrong” (which is near-impossible), I promise they will still turn out beautifully. And even if they don’t (which is also near-impossible—can you see that I did this with one hand?), call ‘em rustic. That’s what I do. If anyone complains, eat theirs. That’s also what I do.Orange Cardamom Morning BunsWhat?! You don’t need that negativity at breakfast.Orange Cardamom Morning Buns

Orange Cardamom Morning Buns
makes 12 buns

Dough:
2 3/4-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature

Filling:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
4 teaspoons ground cardamom
pinch of fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Glaze:
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Make the dough. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and milk together until just warm to the touch, about 95-110 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, add the butter/milk mixture in a thin stream until completely combined. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together. A shaggy dough should form and be pulling away from the bowl. Gradually add flour in 2 tablespoon increments until the it pulls away a bit.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Gather dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, making sure to get a little oil on all sides. Stretch some plastic wrap over the top and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

In the meantime, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Make the filling. Combine sugar and orange zest in a small bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release the oils in the zest. Use a fork to stir in cardamom and salt.

Shape the buns. Return dough to floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Brush dough with butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Mentally divide the dough into thirds, like an unfolded letter. Place half the sugar mixture in the middle third of the dough—it’ll be a 12×6-inch section surrounded by two buttered sections of the same size.

Carefully grab one short side of the dough and fold it over the center, so that the dimensions are now 12×12-inches. Brush the top of the folded section with more butter and scatter on the remaining sugar mixture. Fold the other short side over the top so that the dimensions are 12×6-inches. Tap edges “closed” with your rolling pin.

Carefully lift and turn dough over so that the seam is against the floured surface. Roll the dough so that the dimensions are 14×8-inches.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim the short edges of the dough by about 1/2-inch. Slice dough into 12 strips. Working with one strip at a time, twist the ends until you have a loosely-twisted rope of dough. Carefully bring ends toward one another until they cross over one another and create a small hole. Tuck ends into that hole. Place shaped buns on prepared pans, leaving about 6 inches of space between (I can get 6 on a half-sheet sized pan).

Cover pans loosely with wax paper (or parchment) and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for another 25-30 minutes. Remove wax paper (or parchment). They will not seem to have changed drastically, but if you poke one with your finger, the indentation should remain. If any ends have come loose, just nudge them back into the centers.

Place oven racks in the center positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake buns for 10 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown.

While buns are baking, make the glaze. Combine orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in cardamom and butter.

Use a pastry brush to brush warm buns with glaze. Buns are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.

Orange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning BunsOrange Cardamom Morning Buns

Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts

Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsA few weeks ago, there was a Facebook poll going around asking if a cinnamon roll is a doughnut. I don’t know where or why it started, but I compulsively swiped it every time it came up on my feed just to make sure everyone I know understands that cinnamon rolls are not doughnuts.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Rolls = baked pastry.

Doughnuts = fried* pastry.

*Baked Doughnuts = muffins in disguise.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsOf course, there are exceptions to every rule and, oh, do I love finding an exception. Today’s recipe, Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts, are exactly what they sound like: fluffy, brown sugary cinnamon rolls made from doughnut dough, fried ‘til golden and dunked in a classic sugar glaze. They are both cinnamon roll and a doughnut and they are exactly as delicious as they sound.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsThe inspiration for these comes from my childhood doughnut shop, Dale’s Donuts #9.* They made (and I assume that they still make) a version of these, and since I didn’t grow up with much home baking, I just assumed that all cinnamon rolls were doughnuts. As has been established, they are not, but I didn’t know at the time and I don’t think I would have cared…unless there wasn’t one left for me after a Sunday doughnut run.

*I have never encountered Dale’s Donuts #1-#8. If you ever do, please tell me. I would love to know they exist.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsAnyway…I’ve since learned to make great cinnamon rolls and doughnuts, but the cinnamon roll doughnuts of my youth have eluded me. I’ve looked for something comparable in every doughnut shop I’ve encountered over the years (which has been a lot), but have come up empty-handed…so I figured it out myself.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll Doughnuts are as simple to make as any of my other yeasted doughnuts. They begin like many sweet rolls and doughnuts do: by making a dough and letting it rise slowly in the refrigerator overnight. This makes for prime gluten development (critical for softness and chew) and nuanced flavor, and it means you don’t have to get up at 5am to make doughnuts in time for breakfast.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsThe next day, the dough is punched down, rolled into a rectangle, filled with cinnamon & brown sugar, rolled back up, and sliced.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsThen the rolls are then pressed down with the heel of your hand and the ends are secured with toothpicks before a short second rise. These steps will keep them unraveling while rising and frying.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsAnd speaking of frying, this is when these rolls take a decidedly doughnut-esque turn. Each one is fried in hot oil until golden and fully cooked in the middle. Some filling will escape during frying—that’s the nature of the beast—but trust me when I say your doughnuts will still be plenty cinnamony.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsOnce they’re all fried and golden, the Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts get a dip in a sugar glaze. You could spread them with cream cheese frosting instead, but I really love the contrast of soft doughnut, buttery cinnamon filling and shattering sugar glaze.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsIt tastes like childhood and doughnut victory and a very delicious exception to the rules. The best.Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts

Cinnamon Roll Doughnuts
makes 16 doughnuts

Doughnut Dough:
2 cups bread flour*
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I used Red Star Platinum)
1 cup buttermilk,* room temperature
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten, room temperature
2 quarts shortening or frying oil (like peanut, safflower, or canola), for frying

Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Glaze:
2 pounds confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup hot tap water

For Assembly:
parchment
wooden toothpicks

Make the dough the night before. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together bread flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, nutmeg, salt, and instant yeast. Set aside.

Combine buttermilk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Warm until hot to the touch, about 115F. Use a silicone spatula to fold liquid into dry ingredients. Fold in eggs until a sticky, shaggy dough forms. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes, until dough is smooth. Shape dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, cut a large sheet of parchment into 16 4-inch squares. Place squares on two rimmed baking sheets. Place a separate whole sheet on a third pan.

Fill the dough and form the rolls. Remove plastic wrap from dough and punch down. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14×17-inch rectangle. Use a pastry brush to apply butter to the surface of the dough. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Sprinkle over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Starting with the long edge furthest from your body, tightly roll filled dough toward you, smoothing any seams with your thumbs. Slice dough into 16 rolls. Place each on a square of parchment.

Flour the heel of your hand and press each roll down so that it’s flat and squat. Use toothpicks to secure the end of each roll and use another toothpick to secure the other side of the roll. Do not skip these steps.

Gently lay plastic wrap or a sheet of wax paper over the tops of the pans and allow doughnuts to rise in a warm, draft-free environment* for 45 minutes. Once puffy, remove doughnuts from oven.

Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet, and set in close proximity to the stove.

Heat shortening or oil to 375F. Working in small batches, fry doughnuts 1.5-2 minutes per side, until deeply golden. Remove to rack. Continue with remaining doughnuts.

Make classic doughnut glaze. In a large mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Pour glaze into a shallow dish. Dip one doughnut at a time before transferring back to rack. Repeat with all remaining doughnuts. Glaze will set after 15-20 minutes.

Doughnuts are best the day they are made. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about a day.

Dipped doughnuts are best the day they are made.

Notes:

1. If you do not have bread flour, you may substitute an equal volume of all-purpose flour. Your doughnuts will not have as much chew as those made with bread flour, but they will still be delicious.
2. If you do not have buttermilk, you may make a substitute with lemon juice (or vinegar) and milk. Pour 1 tablespoon of vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Pour in milk until the liquid reaches the 1 cup mark. Let sit for five minutes before proceeding with the recipe as written. Whole and low-fat milks are fine, but I do not recommend skim or nonfat.Cinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll DoughnutsCinnamon Roll Doughnuts

Nutella Morning Buns

Nutella Morning BunsIf I could change one thing about myself, I think I’d like to be a morning person. I really like mornings (especially the lazy variety), but I have such difficulty getting myself out of bed that I rarely enjoy them. It’s a whole horrible, eight-alarm ordeal on weekdays and I almost always sleep past 11 on the weekends, so I’m either a bleary-eyed mess or out like a light for the start of most days. But, on extremely rare occasions, I wake up early of my own volition—usually with the aid of jackhammers outside my window or the sun shining in my eyes—and I get to enjoy the morning, starting with making myself a nice breakfast.Nutella Morning BunsSometimes mixing flour, sugar, and butter is an act of self-care.

Exhibit A: An unfortunately-timed 6am wake-up call last Saturday was turned around when I realized I had time to make myself a Puff Pancake, my childhood favorite weekend breakfast.

Exhibit B: These Nutella Morning Buns, which I made the previous Saturday when my roommate’s cute pup had to air some early morning grievances. They helped change the trajectory of my day: I got to treat myself, and the batch is large enough that I got to share with eleven of my closest acquaintances! Most everyone loves a fresh pastry swirled with warm Nutella ❤Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsFor something so rustic and beautiful, Nutella Morning Buns are surprisingly simple to make and come together in a pretty reasonable amount of time. It takes me about two hours to make a batch from the time I decide that a soft, warm bun full of chocolate-hazelnut spread might be nice to the time I dust them with confectioner’s sugar and dig in.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsThe dough is very straightforward. It’s got all the usual suspects: flour, a little sugar, butter, milk, and an egg. It requires yeast, of course, but I use the instant stuff here, which simplifies the already simple process, making these buns incredibly approachable.

I’m not the sort of person who bestows wishes or blessings on people, but if I were, I think I’d say “May all your yeast doughs be approachable.” Is that weird? It’s probably weird. 🙂 Nutella Morning BunsIf there’s anything that’s intimidating about making Nutella Morning Buns, it’s probably shaping. Never fear though—it’s really simple and satisfying. Once your dough has risen for 40 minutes, punch it down and roll it into a large rectangle. Spread it with a thin layer of Nutella and then fold it like a letter, so that you have alternating layers of dough and filling. Use a sharp chef’s knife to trim off the ends and slice the rest into a dozen 8×1” strips.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsWorking with one strip at a time, twist it up. Then cross the two ends over each other and tuck them into the hole that forms in the center. BOOM! Dough shaped!Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsRepeat with the rest of your strips and then let them rise a little longer. If some ends come untucked, just nudge ‘em back with your fingers before baking. Or don’t. These are the sort of buns that can take all sorts of manipulation and still look gorgeous when all is said and done. And even if they don’t, a swipe of melted butter and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar can cure all manner of ugly pastry.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsBut is there such a thing as ugly pastry when Nutella is involved? I don’t think so. Or if there is, nobody who tried one of these buns during testing found the time to tell me. Oh, and all the test batches were gone (GONE!) within 45 minutes of coming out of the oven, so I’ll just let that speak for itself.Nutella Morning BunsI’m pretty sure it’s impossible to have anything but a beautiful morning when these are around.Nutella Morning Buns

Nutella Morning Buns
makes 12 buns

Dough:
2 3/4-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature

Filling:
2/3 cup Nutella

For finishing:
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and milk together until just warm to the touch, about 95-110 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, add the butter/milk mixture in a thin stream until completely combined. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Gather dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, making sure to get a little oil on all sides. Stretch some plastic wrap over the top and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

In the meantime, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Shape the buns. Return dough to floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Spread dough with Nutella, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Carefully grab one short side of the dough and fold it over the center, so that the dimensions are now 12×12-inches. Fold the other short side over the top so that the dimensions are 12×6-inches. Tap edges “closed” with your rolling pin.

Carefully lift and turn dough over so that the seam is against the floured surface. Roll the dough so that the dimensions are 14×8-inches. You may lose a bit of filling. This is normal.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim the short edges of the dough by about 1/2-inch. Slice dough into 12 strips. Working with one strip at a time, twist the ends until you have a loosely-twisted rope of dough. Carefully bring ends toward one another until they cross over one another and create a small hole. Tuck ends into that hole. Place shaped buns on prepared pans, leaving about 6 inches of space between (I can get 6 on a half-sheet sized pan).

Cover pans loosely with wax paper (or parchment) and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for another 25-30 minutes. Remove wax paper (or parchment). They will not seem to have changed drastically, but if you poke one with your finger, the indentation should remain. If any ends have come loose, just nudge them back into the centers.

Place overnight racks in the center positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake buns for 10 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 7-8 minutes, or until golden brown.

Brush warm buns with melted butter. Let cool 10 minutes before dusting with confectioner’s sugar and serving.

Baked buns are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so. I’ve never had them last longer than 45 minutes out of the oven though.Nutella Morning BunsNutella Morning BunsNutella Morning Buns