There is one time of year that I make a point of baking bread… and not any bread will do. Given that we’re celebrating resurrection this Sunday, I like to make a yeast bread. It too shall rise!
Our traditional Easter bread is the Finnish cardamom loaf Pete’s family always made. It’s very good, and I posted the recipe last year.
However, we have a son-in-law who loves honey, almond flavoring, and coconut, so I went hunting for another bread to make in his honor. These Honey Almond Buns are amazing. Totally decadent. Too bad he lives so far away—and the buns do not ship well (you need to eat them warm from the oven!). On the other hand, that means there are more for us.
This recipe is based on one I found in the Sunset Bread Book, an old cookbook published by Sunset Magazine that has served me well through the years. It calls for shredded coconut, which I not only find pretty icky, but which I’m also allergic to, so I leave it out. However, if you like that stuff, go ahead and include it.
Honey Almond Buns
Makes 18 buns
1 pkg. dry yeast
¼ C warm water
¼ C honey
½ C milk
¼ C butter, melted & cooled
2 eggs, slightly beaten
½ tsp. salt
3½ to 4 C flour
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in water; then stir in honey, and ½ cup of flour. Let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. Add the milk, butter, eggs, and salt. Gradually add three more cups of flour, mixing until well blended. Dough will be sticky.
Turn the dough over in a greased bowl, cover (I use a damp kitchen tea towel—the kind without a fuzzy nap) and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1½ hours). I use an oven preheated to about 150°F and then turned off.
Either using a heavy duty mixer with dough hooks, or kneading by hand on a floured board, knead until smooth and satiny (5 – 20 minutes), adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Shape dough into a ball, pat down, and roll out into a 12 x 18-inch rectangle. Spread almond filling evenly over dough. Starting with a long side, roll up; cut into 1-inch slices and arrange cut side up in a well-greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Cover and let rise until almost doubled (about 45 minutes).
Bake in a 350°F oven for 35 minutes or until buns are well browned. Immediately invert onto plate or serving board; quickly scrape out any syrup left in pan and spread it over buns.
½ C butter
½ C firmly packed brown sugar
½ C honey
½ C flour
½ C sliced almonds
1 tsp. almond extract
½ tsp. orange extract
½ C shredded coconut
Beat together softened butter, sugar, and honey. Stir in flour, almonds, extracts, and coconut.