January 06, 2011

Super-Flaky Morning Buns

Over the three-day New Year's weekend, I made breakfast each morning.  On Friday morning I made Cook's Illustrated's Best Blueberry Muffins, which were absolutely fabulous.   On Saturday - New Year's Day - I started the day out with Pear Fritters with Lemon and Ginger, taken from the most recent issue of Fine Cooking.  Those were also pretty darn good.   Could I go three for three?

I'd seen the recipe for Super-Flaky Morning Buns in the most recent issue of Cook's Country, and had thought they looked and sounded pretty good... a flaky breakfast roll flavored with cinnamon, sugar and orange.  They looked like a lot of work, but I figured if they turned out as nice as the ones in the pictures, it would be worth it, so I gave it a try.

I actually had to do a lot of the work on Saturday night.  That's when I made the dough, which uses the America's Test Kitchen routine of layering folding chunks of chilled butter into the dough, rolling it out, folding and rerolling it a few times in order to create thin layers of butter within the dough.  This technique worked well for making wonderfully flaky buttermilk biscuits, so it seemed a reasonable thing to try here.

Assembling the buns involved rolling out the dough, freezing it for a bit to keep the butter chilled, rolling it out soeme more, spreading a cinnamon-sugar filling over the surface of the dough, then rolling it up into a cyllinder and cutting that into individual buns, which were placed in a muffin tin and then refrigerated for at least 4 hours.   I got them ready a bit before bedtime and left them in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, the buns went through a routine of rising in a warm oven before being baked for about 45 total minutes.  At the end of that time, they were done.  

Mine unfortunately didn't look as nice as the ones pictured in the magazine.  Or, rather, a couple of them looked sort of close, but some others looked nothing like that at all.   The most striking thing about the pan of buns is that they didn't look anything approaching uniform.  Some were big and puffy, having overflowed the muffin tin, whereas others were squat and stunted-looking, not having risen at all.

They were nice and flaky, though, and the flavor was pretty good.   Not really good enough to justify all the time put into them, though.  Juli and I both agreed on that.  

I'm perfectly willing to blame the motley and misshapen appearance of some of the buns on me having messed up some aspect of the technique involved in rolling them out and slicing them for the muffin tin, but from what I can tell, everything else went well enough.  Thus, I'm inclined to think that while this recipe makes pretty good buns, they're nothing great.  My rating probably isn't helped any by the fact that I'd already made the incredibly-good blueberry muffins only a couple days earlier, and that they'd been truly great while taking a lot less time and effort. 

In any case, I don't plan to make these again.  Not bad, but not good enough to justify the amount of time and effort.

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