In the past three weeks, this is what I learned: the heart wants what it wants when it comes to breakfast. I was planning a summer brunch, and of course cinnamon buns came to mind. I mean, why wouldn’t they? So classic. So traditional. So delicious every time. But something about that kept making me think that it was way too fall-like in this warm weather. I needed to summerize them!
And so I did. Raspberries! Orange zest! No fall spices to speak of. No cinnamon or nutmeg or cardamom. And, of course, after I made these, it was exactly these things that I missed, and I was so bummed. Sad that I missed out on what I actually wanted.
I’m so aware of my whining that, it’s unbelievable. I mean look at these! They were incredible right out of the oven. And the fruit made them so bright and fresh tasting. Schmeared with a little orange scented cream cheese frosting and these were over-the-top!
So, make these! Make season appropriate buns for breakfast! Or go with the classic and satisfy your conventional breakfast needs. I would understand either way.
Orange Raspberry Buns (recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
My one tip for this dough is to use instant yeast. Instant. Not the non-instant. Use instant. I guess my one tip for this dough is to follow instructions. Alas, I did not…and I was not met with an instantaneous rise with my dough.
4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted, plus additional to grease pan
3/4 cup buttermilk
Zest of 1 orange, divided
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon oil for bowl
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup frozen cranberries, crushed into little pieces in the food processor (or with a ziplock bag and a rolling pin)
Orange zest leftover from above
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
Zest and juice of one orange
For 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). Mix the yeast with an additional 1 tsp. of sugar and about 1/4 cup warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the flour along with the salt and stir. Add the yeast mixture once it’s bubbly and stir until it is evenly mixed. 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 and cover it with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled, which will take between 2 and 2 1/2 hours. If you don’t use instant yeast, like I did, it will take a much, much longer time to rise. I lost count how many hours it took. So use the instant. You will be a much happier person.
To make the buns: Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish, a heavier ceramic or glass dish is ideal here, or two dishes of equal measurement. 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. This is a rough measurement. No big deal if it’s a bit thicker or thinner. Also, don’t worry if it’s not a perfect rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle it with the brown sugar. Scatter the ground frozen raspberries 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, approximately 30 minutes.
Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let cool slightly, about 15-20 minutes. Make the icing by whisking together all of the ingredients. Spread a little on each bun. Serve immediately.