My friends, what you see pictured above are two things: a yeasted bakery-style sweet bun and a tray of mystery baked goods. The first item is one of the many delightful things I made in my kitchen this past weekend thanks to my newest baking book, A Passion for Baking, by Marcy Goldman. The buns were slightly sweet with hints of vanilla, and a slew of these babies were enjoyed with breakfast every morning from Friday to Sunday. Whether on their own, lightly toasted, or adorned with the likes of amber hued honey, blackberry preserves or pumpkin butter, everyone who sampled them loved their subtle sweetness and soft texture. There is one bun left, and tomorrow morning my husband and I are going to see who gets to it first. Or maybe we’ll share? That would be the romantic thing to do wouldn’t it?
The second item in the photo is, as I said, a mystery, but also part of a Baking and Books holiday game. If you take a look at the left hand sidebar you’ll see a section marked “Upcoming Giveaways” – all the books listed in this section are going to be given away on this site sometime between now and January first. In order to win a book you’ll need to answer a question, one of which will be posted in each entry that is giving a book away. (You can see what I mean here and here.) I won’t indicate which posts are giving books away as I have in the past by putting “Free Book” in the post title – you’ll just have to keep on visiting me to see which entries are also offering to send a cookbook to you.
Are you ready to play? For this first round the mystery item is key, because in order to enter the raffle you need to answer this question:What kind of baked goods are shown in the background of this photo? You don’t have to answer correctly to win the book, you just have to make a guess. Only comments that guess what’s on the baking tray will be entered into the raffle. Sometime between today and November 30th I’ll randomly pick a winner and post their name along with a scrumptious photo of those mystery treats and the accompanying recipe. Yay!
Have fun and keep an eye on that sidebar in case more books are added…. Happy Holidays!
Yeasted Bakery-Style Sweet Buns
Recipe reprinted with permission from A Passion for Baking, by Marcy Goldman.
Ingredients: Makes 12 buns
For the Dough:
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (100 degrees F to 110 degrees F)
- 2 tablespoons rapid-rise yeast (I used active dry yeast, but at the supermarket you can usually find envelopes of “rapid rise” yeast too. You can learn about the differences between the two here, but I just substituted active-dry without modifying the instructions, especially since the recipe proofs the yeast for a short period of time.)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 to 7 cups bread flour (I ended up using all purpose flour. I was all out of bread flour, can you believe it?)
- 2 eggs + a pinch of sugar (for egg wash)
For the Butter Crumb Topping:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixer bowl, hand-whisk water and yeast together and let stand 2 to 3 minutes to dissolve yeast. Briskly whisk in vanilla, sugar, eggs, softened butter, and salt and blend well. Add 3 to 4 cups bread flour and mix. Then knead with dough hook on lowest speed of mixer 6 to 8 minutes, adding more bread flour as necessary to form a soft, bouncy dough. (If you don’t have a stand mixer simply add flour until the dough is too stiff to stir by hand, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Your dough is ready when it’s smooth, soft and bounces back when you press your thumb into it.)
Remove dough hook and spray dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover entire mixer and bowl with a large clear plastic bag (I used saran wrap to very loosely cover the bowl). Let dough rise 30 to 60 minutes or until almost doubled.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate. Cut dough into 12 equal portions. Shape each into a small round roll or bun. Place about 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Whisk 2 eggs and a pinch of sugar together in a small bowl. Brush each bun well with egg wash.
Preheat ove to 350 degrees F.
For butter crumb topping, in a small bowl, rub ingredients together to form a crumbly mixture. Distribute carefully on top of each bun. Cover buns loosely with plastic wrap and let rise about 30 to 45 minutes or until quite puffy and almost doubled.
Bake for 28 to 35 minutes or until browned all over.