Apricot Buns That Won't Make Your Buns Bigger
Well, actually they probably will if you eat too many. Nonetheless, these little buns are much more nutritious than the usual versions you find at the CoffeeBucks place. They also are cheap to make, taste incredibly good, and will make your house smell wonderful as they rise and bake. The buns are easy to make, too. To be frank, I'm not much of a yeast bread baker. I lack patience, and the business of having to let the dough rise is kind of a drag. I do make exceptions, though, like in the case of these Apricot Buns. I mix the dough in one bowl, don't knead the dough, let it rise, stir it down, and refrigerate it overnight for better flavor. Nothing hard there. I also plop the refrigerated dough into muffin tins--no rolling or finesse involved. I do make the apricot filling for the buns, which takes time (about half an hour) but is simple to do and can be done in advance. If you don't want to make your own filling, you can substitute apricot preserves. The buns bake up puffed, oozing apricot filling, and with crunchy streusel topping making a golden brown crown. The buns aren't elegant, but they are high-level comfort food. I suspect your buns will become quite popular--if you decide to share them!
Apricot Buns -- Makes 12
1 cup of milk
1/3 cup of sugar
1 cup of flour
2 tablespoons of canola oil
1/4 ounce (1 packet) of active dry yeast (don't use rapid rise)
2 cups of white whole wheat flour
3/4-1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup of apricot filling or preserves
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar
1/4 cup of butter or Earth Balance
1/2 cup of flour
In a large microwave-safe bowl, heat the milk in the microwave for a minute. Whisk in the sugar, 1 cup of flour, and oil until well blended. Whisk in the eggs and yeast until blended and the yeast dissolves. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 20 minutes or so until the mixture bubbles and/or increases in volume (it may take a little longer, if your kitchen is cold). With a wooden spoon, stir in the white whole wheat flour and the salt until well blended. You should mix the dough in the bowl for 3-5 minutes or so, but you don't need to knead it. The dough will be wet and shaggy looking, and that's fine. Spray the top of the dough with a little non-stick cooking spray and cover it with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for 60 minutes or until about doubled. Stir the dough down, spray the top with non-stick cooking spray, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight (mine is fine for a full day). When you're ready to bake your buns, remove the dough from the refrigerator and coat a 12-well muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Stir the dough and tear off small bits of dough, small walnut-sized pieces, and press them into the bottom of the muffin tins. You'll only be using about half the dough at this point. Spoon a couple teaspoons of apricot filling on top of each piece of dough. Tear the remaining dough into 12 small bits and place them on top of the apricot filling, mashing the dough just a bit to cover the filling as best you can. It's okay if the filling oozes out a little. In a small bowl, blend all the streusel ingredients together with a fork. You'll have some fine and some large crumbs. That's good. Sprinkle the tops of the buns with the streusel, pressing it into the dough a little. Let the buns rise for 30-45 minutes until they are topping the rims of the muffin tins, preheating the oven to 350 degrees during the last 15 minutes of the rising time. Bake the buns for 25-30 minutes until golden. Let the buns cool for 10 minutes before serving them.
2 cups of water
2 cups of dried apricots
1/2 cup of sugar
Zest of an orange
1 cinnamon stick or about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon or ginger
In a medium saucepan, combine all the ingredients and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring gently. Reduce the heat to medium low and partially cover the pot. Let the apricots simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring them periodically and mashing them a bit with the back of a spoon. Remove the lid and let the apricots continue to simmer, uncovered, until they break down and the filling thickens. Remove the cinnamon stick, if you used one, let the filling cool to room temperature, and refrigerate the filling, if you're making the buns later. You'll have plenty of filling for your buns and extra to use on toast, to top pound cake, to spoon over ice cream, to top grilled chicken--whatever you'd like!