Wednesday, November 27, 2013

cranberry-orange breakfast buns.

Oh I'm sorry.  Were you expecting me to discuss something virtuous?  I know tomorrow is the day of over-indulgence but in my world you can't start Thanksgiving with a breakfast of yogurt and granola.  That feels wrong. 

Start your day with these instead. You can thank me later.  

Maybe you think I am a little crazy to even suggest you making something else when your kitchen is in havoc mode.  There are pie crusts to be rolled, biscuits to be cut, and turkeys to be brined.  And maybe it is a little absurd for me to think you have time to make something else.  But I assure you, if you can devote the minimal time and effort (and I promise it really is minimal) it takes to put these together you will be rewarded in the best possible way.  

These are magical.  The buns are soft and tender and when pulled apart reveal a yeasty orange scented interior. The tart cranberries pair brilliantly with the orange (so reminiscent of cranberry sauce) and brown sugar.  When the buns bake the brown sugar and cranberries melt down and create a gooey glaze at the bottom of the pan that you want to lick with a spoon.  The orange glaze at the top?  That's what makes these holiday worthy. (Or if you are like me you can just declare every Sunday morning a holiday in order to validate making these once a week. No judgments here. You're welcome.) 

Cranberry-Orange Breakfast Buns
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 12 buns. This recipe could be halved and baked in a 9-inch round or 8×8-inch baking pan.


4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (85 grams) butter, melted, plus additional to grease pan
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated (to be used in dough and filling, below)
3 3/4 cups (470 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
1 packet (7 grams or 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt, or more to taste
1 teaspoon oil for bowl


1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) butter
1 cup (190 grams) packed light brown sugar
1 cup (115 grams) fresh cranberries
Orange zest leftover from above


3 1/2 tablespoons (55 ml) orange juice
2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar

Make the dough: In the bottom of the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, buttermilk and 3/4 of the orange zest together (saving the rest for the filling). Add 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; stir until evenly moistened. Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour and let the dough hook knead the mixture on low speed for 5 to 7 minutes. The dough should be soft and moist, but not overly sticky. Scrape the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl (I usually scrape my dough briefly onto the counter, oil the mixing bowl, and scrape the dough back into it) and cover it with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled, which will take between 2 and 2 1/2 hours.

Prepare the filling: Melt the butter and set it aside. Coarsely chop the cranberries.  Set them aside.

Assemble the buns: Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish, a heavier ceramic or glass dish is ideal here. Turn the risen dough out onto a floured work surface and roll it into a rectangle that is 18 inches wide (the side nearest to you) and 12 or so inches long. (It’s okay if it goes longer/thinner.) Brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle it with the brown sugar. Scatter the ground cranberries over it, then the remaining orange zest.
Roll the dough into a tight, 18-inch long spiral. Using a sharp serrated knife, very, very gently saw the log into 1 1/2-inch sections; you should get 12. Arrange the buns evenly spread out in your baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or up to 16 hours.

The next morning, bake the buns: Take your buns out of the fridge 30 minutes before you’d like to bake them, to allow them to warm up slightly. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake your buns until they’re puffed and golden (the internal temperature should read 190 degrees F), approximately 30 minutes.

Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cool slightly. Make the icing by whisking the orange juice and powdered sugar together. Spread a little on each bun, or drizzle it over the whole pan. Serve immediately.

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