The base recipe is along the lines of the Slovenian Easter Buns – Velikonocni Kruhki which I had done last year during the spring time. Yes this time in spirit of the advent of spring; of the light, bright, and the cheerful; hoping to bring it on soon with these blooming flavors.
Spring seems to have lost it’s way among the moaning winds, the ice and the snow. I am feeling like a prisoner within the closed doors and windows, and within myself for all these months; the soul craves for that balmy air, the invigorating smells and the pretty buds and blooms; the colors and the air that naturally draws one outdoors, and makes one run around and breathe in and awaken and rejuvenate. Well if I cannot control the weather I can at least make my home smell good with the bread.
Coming to the sweet bread now – the Slovenian buns were much loved when I made them last year. Mildly sweet, nice crust, almond flavored, soft, airy and slightly crumbly inside, and with generous bites of raisins. With the abundance of the oranges and mandarins, I had made some orange sugar (orange zest and sugar mixed together) a couple of weeks back. The sugar smells lovely, fresh and vibrant like a pretty garden. It was time I thought I used the sugar to make something equally refreshing! With the base ingredients intact, I replaced the raisins with dried tart cherries and used a lot of orange. I did not use the egg wash this time, so the bread is all vegetarian.
Note: I am still getting used to my convection oven; it takes less cooking time. The first set of the buns were slightly over done; the bottom turned a shade darker which I did not like. So I reduced the baking time to about 20 minutes the next time in my oven.
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Cherry, Orange and Almond Sweet Buns
- 2.5 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup warm milk
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour + some more for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup sugar (I used homemade orange sugar)
- 3/4 stick melted and cooled butter
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract or 1 teaspoon orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Juice of 2-3 small mandarin oranges, with pulp
- zest of 2 small mandarin oranges
- 3/4 cup coarsely ground (not chopped) almonds
- 1.5 cups dried tart cherries, soaked in warm water for about 1/2 hour and then drained
- few tablespoons of milk to brush the buns
- few tablespoons of sugar to sprinkle on the buns (optional) – I used orange sugar
- might need a few tablespoons of milk or orange juice if the dough gets too dry
Combine the orange zest with the sugar and let it sit for a couple of hours.
Sift flour and salt.
Mix yeast, milk and sugar in a small bowl. Stir, cover and let rise for 5-10 minutes until yeast has dissolved and bloomed.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, place flour, yeast mixture, cardamom, orange zested sugar, butter, almond extract, and orange juice. Combine all until it forms a soft dough. (add extra liquid if needed)
Add the ground almond and cherries, mixing well. Knead for 10-15 minutes by hand or 5-7 minutes by machine. Add the additional flour, as needed. The dough should not be sticky.
Make a large ball, Cover the bowl and let dough rise for 5-6 hours or until doubled. (I made the dough at night & let it sit overnight, baking them early in the morning)
Punch down dough and knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a couple of minutes.
Form 10-12 (or about 18 smaller balls like I did this time) balls from the dough and place on a baking sheet. Cover and let them sit for about 30 – 45 minutes.
When ready to bake, brush the buns with milk; sprinkle some sugar on the top if you want.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake 25-30 minutes. (Convection oven; bake for about 20 minutes). Cool on a wire rack and store them in air tight containers.
These were intensely good. I have a weakness for oranges and almonds and those of you following my blog will know it. The cherries, almonds and the orange came together really well in the bread. We have been enjoying these along with our cuppa of tea or coffee.
These sweet babies are Yeastspotted!
On another note: Gera of Sweets Food has awarded me with the Honest Scrap Award. Thanks! I had done a meme before and I do not have much more to say about myself:-) You can read about me here if you are interested.