Monday, January 9, 2012

Sweet Orange Buns

Have you ever been flipping through a food magazine or cookbook and suddenly, you stop, and gasp, and start drooling? And your husband looks up and asks what caught your attention? And you are so transfixed by the glorious food photo that you cannot even answer? That happened to me when I was flipping through the latest issue of Saveur. The culprit: Sweet Orange Buns.
I love orange buns. In college, I kept a supply of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls and Orange Rolls in my little dorm refrigerator. I baked them in my (illegal) toaster oven. Much as I love cinnamon, there was something about those orange rolls. They were yummier than the cinnamon rolls. You might be wondering, "Pillsbury Orange Rolls? Is she crazy? I've never seen such a thing in my grocery store." But I assure you, once upon a  time, these existed, and I loved them, and I mourned the loss when I could no longer find them in the grocery store.

They might have disappeared from grocery stores, but those rolls lingered in my mind. I never tried to make them myself because, well, I am scared of yeast. I know. Crazy. But it intimidates me. Yeast and kneading and dough rising. It's magical. And intimidating.
Fortunately, SP is not at all intimidated by yeast. He mocks me for my fear of yeast baked goods. Also fortunately, he likes orange rolls, too. So we decided that he should make them for me. After all, he's the one not afraid of yeast and rising dough and kneading. Plus I needed something to console myself after that football game on Sunday. His team won so he was happy. I was stunned and unhappy about my team.

These orange buns take a bit of planning. The yeast & milk need to sit and get frothy for ten minutes. Then the dough needs to sit and rise for about 1.5 hours. After rolling the dough out, spreading on the filling, rolling it up like a log, slicing it into rounds, and placing the rounds into a baking dish, they need to sit 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator before baking for 25 minutes.
I hovered over him as he made the dough for these. Are you doing it right? Is it getting frothy? Did you cover it with plastic wrap? Is it rising? Are you sure it's warm enough in here? Is it too cold? Is the dough growing? I think he was pretty happy when I made my evening tea and disappeared into the living room with tea & ice cream. Of course, I still called out from my comfy chair. Are you sure 1.5 hours was enough time? Are you rolling it the right size? Did you get the glass pan or metal? Will that make a difference? Did you zest lots of orange zest because I like lots of orange zest?

He did. Look at that orange zest:
 And the buttery filling that melts and oozes out the bottom of the pan:
 A close up of the filling ooze:
SP made the rolls Sunday evening after dinner. He baked them Monday morning before work, so I woke up to the scent of orange. Mmmmm. These are really tasty. Sweet. Lots of orange. So good. I ate two buns for breakfast.
I have a wonderful husband. These sweet orange buns almost made me forget about the football game. Except that I ate them while reading the newspaper...

Saveur Recipe Page here.

Sweet Orange Buns

1¼ cups milk, heated to 115°
1 ¼-oz. package active dry yeast
⅓ cup sugar
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus 16 tbsp., softened
1½ tsp. kosher salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 cups flour
½ cup packed light brown sugar
⅓ cup orange zest (from about 4 oranges)
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. orange extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. fresh orange juice

1. Make the dough: Combine milk and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar, melted butter, 1 tsp. salt, and egg; add flour, and mix on low speed until dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high; knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap; let sit until dough doubles in size, about 1½ hours. Meanwhile, beat softened butter, brown sugar, and zest in a bowl on high speed of a mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add remaining salt, confectioners' sugar, and extracts; beat until smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer ¼ cup filling to a bowl; stir in juice to make an icing. Set filling and icing aside.

2. Transfer dough to a work surface; using a rolling pin, roll dough into an 18″ × 10″ rectangle, and spread filling evenly over dough. Lift up bottom edge of dough and roll it into a log; trim ends and cut log into 12 rounds. Transfer rounds cut side up to a greased 9″ × 13″ baking dish; cover with plastic wrap. Chill 6 hours or overnight.

3. Heat oven to 375°. Uncover rolls and bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Drizzle icing over rolls before serving.


  1. And just to clarify - by "his team won" she's referring to the New York Giants, not the (shudder) Denver Broncos.

  2. Oh dear - I didn't mean to imply that you might have been cheering for the (shudder) Broncos! I figured most readers knew you were a NYG fan!