Nutella and Orange Buns

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Cinnamon buns have always been a staple baked item in our family. Family trip? Time to make a dozen cinnamon buns. Someone was asked to provide snacks at a meeting or at school? Cinnamon buns are an easy solution. Siblings are complaining at a perceived lack of options at breakfast? Fine, there will be a pan of cinnamon buns tomorrow morning. There hasn’t been a time I can recall when we bought cinnamon buns instead of making them. (Sorry IKEA… I’ll save my money for the Swedish meatballs and some furniture. Maybe unsurprisingly, cinnamon buns are quite popular in Sweden [1])

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The other day, I was preparing a double batch of cinnamon buns for friends at the King’s University, and for my younger brother’s ‘team’ at a school event. As I reached the last two portions of dough out of eight total, I stopped for a few minutes, having become alarmed at the rate at which the brown sugar and cinnamon were disappearing. A couple desiccated oranges were sitting nearby, and as I worried about the cinnamon buns, I recalled an idea from several months previous – Nutella and oranges. (I wasn’t the first to think of this combination – here is an alternative method of making Nutella and orange buns. [2]) I had used Nutella in baking before (Nutella filled chocolate chip cookies) but this was a little different. The first difficulty (there were none of these making the cookies) arose when I added the oranges juice to the Nutella. The second was trying to roll up the sticky, sweet mess to resemble a cinnamon bun shape. Regardless, I somehow succeeded, and the product was enjoyed and complimented by many former classmates and professors.

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It’s a little late for Cinnamon Bun day (whether by the Swedish calendar, or the American version [3] [4]) but who needs a special day? To make regular cinnamon buns, replace the Nutella and orange filling by brushing dough with melted margarine and then spreading a liberal amount of brown sugar and cinnamon.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup margarine or butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 cups flour
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of 1-2 oranges

Preparation:

Filling:

  • Using rasp or grater, remove the skin of one orange, and set aside. Cut orange in half, and remove as much juice as possible.
  • Combine orange zest (skin) and Nutella.
  • Add the orange juice and mix thoroughly. (*The Nutella will appear dry after addition of a small amount. Continue adding orange juice until it is a smooth consistency)

 

Dough:

  • Combine all ingredients in a mixer on low speed for 3-4 minutes, then increase the speed to medium for 4 minutes.
  • Place dough in a bowl and cover. Rest 30-45 minutes.
  • Divide dough evenly into 4 portions. Rest again, 20 minutes.
  • Roll out one portion of dough to approximately 24”x12”, then spread with Nutella and orange filling.
  • Starting from one end, roll up the dough.
  • Cut into 12 equal pieces, and place in greased baking pan. Rest for another 30-60 minutes.
  • Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove from pan immediately, and leave on cooling rack until completely cool. Serve immediately, or place in plastic bread bag.

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Massa Sovada

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Since Easter is just around the corner, I’ve decided to tackle my Avó’s Massa Sovada recipe!  Massa is a traditional bread popular during holidays especially Easter. There is a festival in Portugal called the Festas do Espírito Santo” which originally started in the 1300’s with Queen St. Isabel of Portugal who devoted her life to helping the poor.  Queen of Portugal

In today’s Easter celebrations, in honour of the Queen, women participate in a procession wearing white dresses and carrying baskets of sweet bread and flowers on their heads to be blessed by the church.  Festas do Espírito Santo

For Easter it is traditionally made with a hard boiled egg in the center, then made plain for the rest of the year.  Check out this video…Massa Sovada

 

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What you will need:

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup (lukewarm) water

1 cup of scaled milk, cooled

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

3 eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup butter, softened

5 cups all purpose flour

1 egg plus a pinch of salt (egg wash)

1 teaspoon of sugar

 

Steps:

1)  Grease with butter and flour (2) 9″ x 1.5″ pans, set aside.

2)  Pour milk into a saucepan and scald, set aside to cool.

3)  Dissolve the yeast into the lukewarm water, set aside.

4)  In a large bowl pour the yeast, milk, 3 eggs, salt, sugar, softened butter, sugar and 3 cups of flour.  Mix together until creates a smooth, sticky batter.

5)  Slowly add the remaining 2 cups of flour until dough is formed – If the dough gets too dry add some melted butter.

6)  On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth.

7)  Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise.  This should take about 1 1/2 hours or until it’s doubled in size.

8)  Punch the dough and divide in half.  Shape each half into round loaves and put into the greased/floured pans.

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9)  Cover with a towel and place in a warm room to rise for about 1 hour.

10)  Preheat oven to 350°F

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11)  Create an egg wash (whisk one egg with a pinch of salt) and brush onto the loaves.  Sprinkle tops with 1 teaspoon of sugar.

12)  Bake the loaves for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.

13)  While still warm move onto wire rack to cool.

 

Feliz Páscoa / Happy Easter!

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