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When the holidays are past and your heart is full of memories made with family and friends, you might find yourself with one last bag of fresh cranberries hiding in the back of your fridge. If this is your scenario, I hope you will give these Cranberry Swirl Buns a try. To say “my husband went nuts for these” is an understatement. The fresh cranberry filling scented with a little orange zest is the perfect combination of tangy and sweet.
The yeasted buns are soft and flavorful and so much fun to make in a muffin pan. I get excited over the little things and love this rustic freeform style.
The dough is flavored with almond extract (big surprise!) and comes together in minutes in your stand mixer. There are two rise times at 60 minutes each so this is a great project when you’ll be home for a few hours. I really don’t care for doing the laundry but if I get to bake in between folding clothes and starting another load, it seems to be much more fun! The hands on time is minimal and the results are fantastic!
Drizzled with an icing made with confectioners’ sugar and fresh blood orange juice (pink!) they’re just sweet enough!
Cranberry Swirl Buns
For the dough:
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water, about 90 degrees on an instant read thermometer
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a few extra tablespoons if needed
- 3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk (I use Carnation brand)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
For the cranberry filling:
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
- zest from 1/2 a fresh orange
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
For the icing:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Juice from 1/2 an orange, more or less as needed for the desired consistency
To prepare the filling:
- Combine the fresh cranberries, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the cranberries burst. Mash the cranberries and continue cooking until the filling thickens, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the orange zest. Set aside to cool or refrigerate. Stir before spreading on the dough.
To prepare the dough:
- Add the lukewarm water to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and set aside for 5-10 minutes or until the yeast is dissolved. Add all remaining dough ingredients to the water and yeast mixture, and mix on low until combined. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead until you have a soft, smooth dough. If the dough appears sticky add a little more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place free from drafts for 1 hour, or until puffy.
- Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin pan and set aside.
- Gently scoop the dough out of the mixing bowl and place on a clean, lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 16x18 inch rectangle, taking care to make sure the dough is even from one side to the other with the short sides (16”) at the top and bottom.
- Spread the cranberry filling evenly over the dough leaving a 1-inch wide border at the bottom. Starting at the top (farthest away), roll the dough tightly, coming toward you. As you roll, stretch the dough away from you then roll toward you tightly, repeat until the entire roll is done. By stretching the dough and rolling it tightly, you will achieve the cork-screw top (hopefully - that’s the idea anyway)
- Slice the log into 12 equal pieces.
- Lightly push the bottom of the bun up in the middle to start the spiral. Place the buns in the muffin tins (cut side up). Once the pan is full, move to a warm place and let them rise for 60 minutes (I use my microwave as a proofing oven to let bread rise - with the task light on the microwave stays warm.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the buns for 24-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan while preparing the icing.
To prepare the icing:
- Combine the powdered sugar and orange juice. Whisk until smooth adding more orange juice or sugar as needed for the desired consistency. Drizzle on the warm buns and serve.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Buns can be microwaved for about 20 seconds to rewarm.
- Yeast bun recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
Don’t forget your PIN!
I went to the mall today – it was crazy! Last minute shopping is not my thing – hope you didn’t have to go out there 🙂
I also hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with family fun and fabulous food. Blessing to you and yours!