These honey-buns are a special treat for a weekend or weekday morning. The buns are soft, pillow-like, and rich with honey and orange flavor. Nuts--pecans or walnuts are great--provide a nice crunch, but you can omit them, if you like. You don't need a lot of butter for the buns, as they have plenty of flavor even without the butter. I use instant potato flakes in the buns, which saves me time and lets me easily control the amount of potato I use. Making the buns requires little hands-on time. That means you can mix up the dough, let it sit while you work, finish up the dough, let it rise while you work, and bake the dough while you make dinner. The process really is easy and great for people who work (at least part of the time) at home. I sometimes glaze the buns and sometimes leave them plain. The glaze will help keep the buns moist and also make them sweeter (and stickier). Either way, the buns are delicious! Enjoy!
Sourdough Orange Honey Buns -- Makes 8 - 9 Buns
1 cup of starter/discard
1/4 cup of canola oil
1 large egg
1/4 cup of warm water
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 cup of instant potato flakes
3/4 cup of white whole-wheat flour
In a large bowl mix the starter/discard, oil, egg, warm water, sugar, and instant potato flakes until everything is well combined. Stir in the flour until it is well blended. Loosely cover the mixture with plastic wrap and let it sit for at least an hour (3-5 hours is just fine, too). When you're ready, add:
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes, adding 1/4 - 1/2 cup of flour if necessary to keep the dough from being too sticky. You want the dough to be moist but not too sticky to knead. On a floured board or counter, press the dough out into a (roughly) twelve-inch square. Make the filling by mixing all the ingredients listed below together in a cup:
2 tablespoons of melted butter
2 tablespoons of honey
Grated zest of an orange
If you'd like, sprinkle the top of your dough square with about 1/2 cup of nuts and lightly press the nuts into the dough. Pecans or walnuts work well, but you can leave the nuts out, if you want. Drizzle the dough with the filling mixture. Use the back of a spoon or a spatula to spread the dough with the filling mixture. Starting at one end, roll the dough up, like a jellyroll. Cut the dough, crosswise, into 8-9 pieces, each a little more than an inch thick. Spritz a 9-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray (or line the pan with baking parchment). Place the dough pieces in the pan, loosely cover the pan, and let the dough rise for 2-3 hours or until the dough pieces increase in size by about one-third. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake the buns for about 20 minutes or until they are just set and are a light golden brown. If you'd like drizzle the warm bun with the following glaze.
2 tablespoons of orange juice
1/2 - 3/4 cup of confectioner's sugar
1 - 2 teaspoons of butter
In a cup or small bowl combine all the glaze ingredients. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds and stir it well. Microwave the mixture again, if necessary, for another 15 seconds and stir it again until it's smooth. Drizzle the mixture (it should be fairly thin) over the warm buns.