These buns are stuffed with dried fruits, nuts, and/or chocolate chips. Part of their beauty is how customizable they are!
Fruit and Nut Buns
Inspired by Joanne Chang’s Baking with Less Sugar
Yield: 8-12 buns
- 1 recipe of bun dough
- 2 cups of walnuts, pecans, dried fruit (such as cranberries or raisins), and/or chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)
- Prepare the bun dough.
- While dough is rising in a warm spot, toast the nuts at 350ºF for 8-10 minutes. Let them cool.
- Poke at the dough to deflate it. (Mine is always very sticky and gooey, so I just poke it a few times with my fingertips.)
- Cover a work surface very liberally with flour. Liberally flour your hands and rolling pin too. I keep a little mound of extra flour on the side.
- Scrape dough onto the floured surface and sprinkle it with flour.
- Roll out the dough into a 12″ x 12″ square about 1/4 inch thick. The dough will be a bit stretchy and may spring back, but keep rolling gently until it holds its shape. You may have to pause to re-flour your rolling pin.
- In a small bowl, mix together the butter, nuts/fruit/chips, and cinnamon (if using).
- Spread mixture over the dough square, leaving a strip about an inch wide clear at the top.
- Flour your hands and begin rolling the square from the bottom up. This will be difficult because of how sticky the dough is, but don’t worry. Just get it into a log shape.
- Using a bench scraper or chef’s knife, cut the log into 8 or 12 equal pieces, depending on how large you want your buns. (At this point, you can wrap the unbaked buns in plastic wrap, either individually or as a stack, and freeze them for up to 1 week. To use, leave them wrapped and thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or at room temperature for 2-3 hours.)
- Butter a 9″ x 13″ baking pan and arrange buns in it, spacing them evenly (2 rows of 4 buns each, or 3 rows of 4 buns each). If some are weirdly shaped, you can rearrange them in the pan into round buns.
- Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap and let buns proof for 1-2 hours at warm room temperature or in the oven with the pilot light on. The dough will be puffy and soft, and the buns will expand until they touch.
- About 15 minutes before the buns are ready, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 400ºF. (Remove pan first if you’ve been proofing the buns there!)
- Bake for 40-50 minutes. The buns will be light golden brown.
- Let pan cool on wire rack for 10-20 minutes
- Serve buns within 4 hours of baking for best results. If you’re eating them the next day, warm them in a 300ºF oven for 6-8 minutes.