Buttery Almond Stuffed Morning Buns
I wrote this post as part of the Plugrá Butter Brigade. Thanks, Plugrá, for sponsoring this post and for making my favorite butter!
Mike and I accidentally celebrated our 5-month wedding “anniversary” yesterday. You may wonder how it’s possible to accidentally celebrate an anniversary. Allow me to regale you with a tale of intrigue and fondue (okay, or incompetence and fondue.)
Mike and I have always been bad at anniversaries. It’s not because we don’t love each other or whatever. It’s just because dates and times and calendars and schedules are hard and stupid and I hate them. And apparently I’m a sullen 5-year-old about it. So there.
I have trouble knowing what day of the week or month it is at any given time (I’ve even surrendered the job of writing the date on the board in my classroom to my students’ more capable hands). So year after year while dating, we let our anniversary pass us by (and we had around 14 of those before getting married!)
When we got married, I was pretty sure this phenomenon of forgetting anniversaries would end. In fact, we were so honeymoonish and in love and gross that I was pretty sure we were going to start celebrating monthly anniversaries like those cloying couples on Facebook. YOU KNOW THE ONES.
Then we missed the first one. And the second. BUT I WAS BUSY. We were up to our ears in moving boxes! Whatever! It would happen.
Three months, four months. Every now and then I’d count up how long we’d been married and be shocked. Time goes so fast! Who has time to celebrate? We were still unpacking!
Another thing we were similarly lame about was using the awesome fondue set my parents had given us for our wedding. I kept promising Mike (who was for some reason really adorably excited about fondue?) we would set it up and have fondue when we were finally “settled in.” You know, SETTLED IN: boxes recycled, apartment assembled, some semblance of normalcy achieved. Only we never seemed to get there. Who can clean when you’re planning 3 entirely new English curricula plus two other preps and trying to keep up with Dance Moms?
Finally, winter break came and we were able to fully clean the apartment for the first time since we’d moved in. I was shocked my vacuum cleaner still worked. I hadn’t seen my feather duster in months. I found I’d grown kind of sentimental about the pile of unsorted mail towering on the bookshelf. Stop looking at me like that.
One night we were sitting in our newly cleaned living room and I realized I finally felt home. It was time to celebrate! Mike and I decided to have a New Year’s celebration with (drumroll) THE FONDUE SET. We couldn’t manage it on New Year’s Eve, though (midweek and all that), so we moved it to the weekend.
YOU KNOW, THE WEEKEND. JANUARY 4. OUR FIVE-MONTH ANNIVERSARY. And that’s the story of how, with no actual planning or intention, we managed to finally, accidentally celebrate our flippin’ anniversary. Now someone please set an alarm for August 4. And hire someone to clean my apartment. Thanks.
It was pretty snazzy accidental celebration if I do say so myself! The fondue was fancy-schmancy and delicious (we made a traditional Swiss fondue with Gruyère and Chardonnay). We watched the finale of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, because we’re nerds and we do that sort of thing. And for dessert, we had these incredible Buttery Almond Stuffed Morning Buns.
These buns are definitely a special occasion treat. They’re the best yeast rolls, soaked with butter (using my favorite Plugrá Butter), stuffed with an indulgent almond mixture, and drizzled with a sweet almond glaze. Basically, they’re insane. If you’re an almond croissant fan like me, you’ve gotta try them! Maybe it’ll accidentally be your anniversary? You never know . . .
Buttery Almond Stuffed Morning Buns
Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking
Yield: 24 buns
If you love yeast rolls and almond croissants, you’re going to adore these incredible Buttery Almond Stuffed Morning Buns. The buttery texture and incredible almond flavor make these my new favorite breakfast item!
1/4 cup warm water (100-110 degrees F)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 cups milk minus 2 tablespoons, room temperature
5 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup cold shortening
2 tablespoons butter, melted, for after baking
1 pound butter, softened (I use Plugrá Butter)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups almond paste (this is about two 8-ounce cans)
1 teaspoon almond extract
dash of salt
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
Note: I don’t recommend halving yeast recipes; instead, if you don’t want 24 rolls at once, consider freezing some for later. To freeze some of the unbaked rolls, just wrap them well before the second rise and freeze them. Once frozen, pop them out of the pan all together and store in the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap and in a zip top bag or wrapped in foil. When you want to bake them, stick them back in a greased pan, thaw them in the fridge overnight, proof for the instructed amount of time, and bake like usual. I also love making a full dough recipe and using half to make savory buns (like these or these) and half to make sweet buns for dessert. If you do this, just half the filling recipes and roll out the dough half at a time.
Make the yeast dough: Mix the warm water and yeast in a medium bowl and let the yeast foam for about 10 minutes. Put 2 tablespoons white vinegar in a measuring cup and then add milk up to the 2 cup line. Set this aside. In a separate large bowl (or the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook), whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and cut the shortening into the mixture with two knives or a pastry cutter until the shortening looks like small peas. Stir yeast mixture and milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well, kneading just a few turns. Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly sprayed with cooking spray, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and store in refrigerator overnight.
Make the filling: The next morning, in a large bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar until pale, fluffy, and smooth. Add in almond paste, dash of salt, and almond extract and mix until well combined — it’ll be a little lumpy, and that’s okay. Beat in egg.
Roll out the dough: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish (or two smaller baking dishes) with cooking spray. Turn the chilled dough out onto a well-floured surface and roll it into a large rectangle about 1/8-inch thick (I carefully cut the dough in half and worked with half at a time to make it more manageable; if you do this, just spread on half of the filling ingredients for each half you roll). Spread the almond paste mixture gently and evenly all over the dough and sprinkle on about half of your sliced almonds. Gently roll the dough up into a spiral and cut it into rolls, placing them close together in your prepared baking dish (at this point, you could wrap and freeze the rolls for later if you wanted).
Proof the rolls, bake, and glaze: Cover the rolls with a clean dish cloth and let them rise in a warm spot (I set them on my oven’s heat vent) until they’ve nearly doubled, about 2 hours. Bake them for about 15-20 minutes or until browned on top (if you take them out at just lightly golden brown, they may still be doughy in the center). Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter and return to the oven for 1 more minute. Whisk together ingredients for the glaze and drizzle it over the rolls. Sprinkle with remaining sliced almonds. Serve immediately.