Growing up a Norwegian in Northern Minnesota, we of course went to Lutheran church. It was all very Garrison Keilor and Lake Wobegon-esque. Complete with taciturn men, hockey on frozen ponds, and lutefisk and meatball suppers.
Beatrice Ojakangas, a well-known known author of Scandinavian cookbooks, also went to our church and took the helm during the organizing of many of the church’s communal meals. This meant that instead of the usual cream of who- knows-what soup filled hot dishes that normally comprise church basement suppers, ours were filled with garlicky roasted vegetables, fine cheeses, savory spreads, and fresh bread that was to die for. I learned most of what I know about baking yeast bread from Bea.
One of my favorite food related activities of my church was the one Sunday a month that the Sunday school baked and sold fresh, goopy, warm sticky rolls. These sticky buns are an homage to that memory, but fused with the idea of an orange olive oil cake, which is one of my favorite desserts. The dough, based off of the focaccia dough Joanne Chang uses at Flour Bakery, is pillowy, soft and amazingly rich, making it perfect for pairing with the bittersweet orange filling. Then, they’re topped off with a gently tangy buttermilk glaze.
These buns are perfect for a lazy weekend brunch or even for a snack with your afternoon coffee, if you’re feeling decadent.
Orange and Olive Oil Scented Sticky Buns (makes 12 large rolls or 18 smaller ones)
1 3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
4 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup good, fruity, olive oil
Orange filling and buttermilk glaze:
1 cup sugar
zest of 2 oranges
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a bread hook, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar, and allow to stand for 5 minutes to let the yeast foam.
2. Add the salt and half of the flour. Turn the mixer on low, and continue to add the flour allowing the mixer to mix it all together. When the dough has come together in a shaggy ball (this may take slight more or less flour, err on the side of a slightly sticky dough to keep it from being tough), pour in the olive oil in a drizzle as the dough hook keeps stirring.
3. On a medium low speed, let the dough knead for 4-5 minutes. (All of this
mixing and kneading can also be done by hand.) When the dough is smooth
and satiny, gather it together and turn it into a deep, oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp, clean kitchen towel, and put somewhere warm to rise until doubled in volume (mine took about 90 minutes, but my apartment is a bit chilly).
4. While the dough rises, make the filling. Combine the cup of sugar with the orange zest. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes while the zest releases its oil into the sugar. Then, rub it together until well mixed and slightly moist. Next combine the orange and lemon juice and stir it in a bit at a time until you have a thick mixture about the consistency of wet sand (you may not use all of the juice. I made mine a bit too liquid and it was messy! But still delicious.). Set aside.
5. Butter a 9X13 inch baking pan. When the dough had risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into a large rectangle that is a bit under a half an inch thick. (You can also make a half batch of rolls and use the other half of the dough as a fantastic pizza crust. Just sayin’.)
6. Spread the filling mixture onto the dough, leaving a half inch border clear along one of the long ends. Roll the dough up tightly like a jelly roll starting at the long end without the border. Slice into either 12 or 18 equal slices.
7. Pinch one of the cut sides of each slice closed as much as possible, to help keep the filling in (it will leak out some anyway, but it will work out fine). Then fit the slices into the buttered pan, with the pinched sides down and the unpinched cut sides up.
8. Cover and allow to rise for another 45 minutes to an hour, until puffed. You can also put the rolls in the refrigerator at this point and let them slow rise over night and bake them in the morning. If you refrigerate them, just let them stand at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before putting them in the oven.
9.When ready to bake, heat your oven to 350F. Bake the rolls for 35-40 minutes until the rolls are nicely browned on top and baked through. Then remove from the oven.
10. While the buns are baking, make the glaze by whisking the buttermilk into the powdered sugar bit by bit until it is the consistency that is thick, but pourable, When the buns are finished baking, spread the glaze on the warm buns. Serve warm, preferably with some espresso or strong coffee, and moist napkins for cleaning off your deliciously sticky fingers.
Via Los Angeles’ March Food Blogger, Emily Vikre “Fiveandspice“
Emily Vikre is the author of the blog Fiveandspice for which she creates and photographs recipes and writes about the meaning she finds from cooking and sharing food with others. She’s been obsessed with cooking and food photography since she was about 6, and is loving having an outlet for this passion. Emily has an M.S. in nutrition communication, but her general approach to food is not to worry too much about nutrients and instead concentrate on eating real, home cooked foods, and doing it with attention and pleasure. Currently, her day job is as a doctoral student in food policy working on a project to empower new immigrant women to make healthy eating and physical activity choices. She lives with her husband in Boston where their kitchen table is always open for a friend to drop in for a snack and a chat.