Orange scented sticky buns with olive oil dough

November 26, 2011 § 35 Comments

Thanksgiving is over.  Sigh…

Now let’s turn up the “Jingle Bells” and start preparing for Christmas!!!

Okay, just kidding.  I’m not ready to start decking halls and listening to Christmas carols quite yet, no matter what the advertising industry wants me to do.  Though the twinkle lights that have been appearing on the trees in the squares, making them look as though a little fairy has flown through and sprinkled holiday cheer dust everywhere, are bringing me a great deal of joy (thank you fairy and/or city decorators!).

But ready or not, it turns out, Christmas has, in a way, come a little early for us this year when this adorable little ball of fur rolled into our lives.  We’ve been wanting a dog – an Australian cattle dog mix, specifically – for a while, but the decision to get little Squid (yeah, that’s her name) was made suddenly.

A friend forwarded us an email from the shelter where she had gotten her dog, ‘homes urgently needed for four little Australian cattle dog mix puppies.’  We fell in love with Squid’s little face in the picture on the email, and within a couple of hours it was decided.  We would become her new family.

And so, for the past week the sum total of my thought waves has been, “Puppy.  Puppy puppy.  puppy.  Must remove that from puppy’s mouth.  Must take puppy out again.  Must teach puppy that it’s ok to be in her crate for an hour.  Good puppy.”

All of my maternal instincts, cares, and anxieties are currently being channeled into this teeny four legged critter whose favorite pastime seems to be to snuggle into a ball on my lap and look flat out, idiotically adorable.  Both Joel and I are totally melted into piles of cooing mush.  I’m befuddled by how I can possibly adore a puppy, a member of a different species whom I have known for less than a week, so much.

But there you have it.  I mean, I find myself already worrying about her future and how to make sure she grows up a well-balanced and fulfilled dog.  I’ve got it bad.

Squid is remarkably perspicacious.  Which is great, in that she is already (at 9 weeks!) learning to sit and stay on command, how to signal she wants to go out, and some of the things she can and can’t chew (admittedly there is a pretty limited number of things for which she has that distinction down).  However, it’s also problematic in that, she’s totally learning how to manipulate us into giving her treats and she gets bored of her toys easily and wants new, more exciting things to do.  Now.

Suddenly I can only get things done while she’s sleeping because otherwise I have to be continually watching what she’s trying to chew on in order to swoop in and replace it with an appropriate toy.  Redirection is a consuming pastime.   My work is getting done in 15-30 minute spurts.

That’s how these sticky buns got made.  In snippets of time during Squid naps – limited to naps of the variety during which she was not attempting to become one with my lap.

These rolls are a little whiff of Christmas come early as well.  Appropriately decadent for sharing on a lazy holiday morning, the wafting scent of the orange zest conjures up everything Yuletide-esque, and the sticky drippy filling languidly coats your fingers and mouth in that way that is a special occasion treat, rather than a mess.

If the composition of Christmas Day breakfast weren’t already predetermined and well nigh sacred in both of our families, I would make these as an offering for that table.  As it is, I got the idea, I had an itch, and over the course of several puppy naps (yeast doughs are actually quite amenable to the restrictions of napping) I scraped them together for Thanksgiving breakfast.  (Why not start off a feast day with something that is a harbinger of the deliciousness to come?!)

I haven’t traditionally cared much for sticky buns.  They’re usually a bit too sweet, the bun-ness of them completely smothered by the thick avalanche of caramel that coats them.  I decided I wanted a sticky bun where the bread was a key player in the flavor mixture, and where the sticky sweetness would be tempered by a bit of tang and some spicy or fruity perfume.

I started by wondering if Joanne Chang’s (of Flour bakery) focaccia dough would work for sweet rolls. It is, quite possibly, my very favorite bread dough, amazingly rich, tender, and pillowy, but enriched only by olive oil (quite a bit of it!). This gives it a lovely, lively floral flavor. Mulling over this made me think, in turn, of olive oil cakes and how enticing they are, particularly olive oil cakes with a bit of orange flavor and zest worked into the mix, bringing just a hint of bitterness along with fragrance.

The decision from there to make to make a sticky filling with orange zest and juice (plus a little squeeze of lemon juice to add some refreshing extra acidity), was an easy one.  And stunningly delicious.

After this, while looking at a Melissa Clark recipe for olive oil and orange cake, I noticed there was buttermilk in the batter. This gave me exactly the little directional nudge I needed to go ahead and gild these lillies.  Playing off of that idea, I decided to make a buttermilk glaze, simple and sweet but with the light tang of buttermilk.

The end recipe has a number of components and steps, but no one of them is too complicated to be accomplished during the span of  a critter nap, and is likely even easier when you can keep both eyes on the mixing bowl.  And, like most rolls, you can make them the day before and then refrigerate them overnight to be assigned to the oven the next morning, ready to come out warm and gooey just as the breakfast crowd is stumbling in, and without you needing to get up hours early.

Though you may decide that you want a nap later too anyway.

Orange Scented Olive Oil Sticky Buns (makes 12 large rolls or 18 smaller ones)

Bun dough:

  • 1 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup good, fruity, olive oil

Orange filling and buttermilk glaze:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a bread hook, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar, and allow to stand for 5 minutes to let the yeast foam.
  2. Add the salt and half of the flour. Turn the mixer on low, and continue to add the flour allowing the mixer to mix it all together. When the dough has come together in a shaggy ball (this may take slight more or less flour, err on the side of a slightly sticky dough to keep it from being tough), pour in the olive oil in a drizzle as the dough hook keeps stirring.
  3. On a medium low speed, let the dough knead for 4-5 minutes. (All of this mixing and kneading can also be done by hand.) When the dough is smooth and satiny, gather it together and turn it into a deep, oiled bowl. cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp, clean kitchen towel, and put somewhere warm to rise until doubled in volume (mine took about 90 minutes, but my apartment is a bit chilly).
  4. While the dough rises, make the filling. Combine the cup of sugar with the orange zest. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes while the zest releases its oil into the sugar. Then, rub it together until well mixed and slightly moist. Next combine the orange and lemon juice and stir it in a bit at a time until you have a thick mixture about the consistency of wet sand (you may not use all of the juice.  I made mine a bit too liquid and it was messy!  But still delicious.). Set aside.
  5. Butter a 9X13 inch baking pan. When the dough had risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into a large rectangle that is a bit under a half an inch thick. (You can also make a half batch of rolls and use the other half of the dough as a fantastic pizza crust. Just sayin’.)
  6. Spread the filling mixture onto the dough, leaving a half inch border clear along one of the long ends. Roll the dough up tightly like a jelly roll starting at the long end without the border. Slice into either 12 or 18 equal slices.
  7. Pinch one of the cut sides of each slice closed as much as possible, to help keep the filling in (it will leak out some anyway, but it will work out fine). Then fit the slices into the buttered pan, with the pinched sides down and the unpinched cut sides up. Cover and allow to rise for another 45 minutes to an hour, until puffed. You can also put the rolls in the refrigerator at this point and let them slow rise over night and bake them in the morning. If you refrigerate them, just let them stand at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before putting them in the oven.
  8. When ready to bake, heat your oven to 350F. Bake the rolls for 35-40 minutes until the rolls are nicely browned on top and baked through. Then remove from the oven.
  9. While the buns are baking, make the glaze by whisking the buttermilk into the powdered sugar bit by bit until it is the consistency that is thick, but pourable, When the buns are finished baking, spread the glaze on the warm buns. Serve warm, preferably with some espresso or strong coffee, and moist napkins for cleaning off your deliciously sticky fingers.

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§ 35 Responses to Orange scented sticky buns with olive oil dough

  • young mare says:

    OK that breakfast looks amazing and would make me the wife of the year if I made it for my husband.

    I, for one, am very anti-puppy (preferring to rescue adult dogs in the past), and somehow last month ended up with a little pit bull mix rescue myself. Turns out it is quite fun molding puppy personalities!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      It is fun! Although I feel this heavy sense of responsibility too! 🙂 Anyways, make the buns! You guys will love them!

  • Congrats on little Squid! What a cutie.

    I love these rolls because they use olive oil rather than butter. I’d love to try these.

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Thank you! And *definitely* give the olive oil dough a try. It’s so good. Joanne Chang is really a master baker!

  • jess white says:

    mmmmm i love these! they remind me of when i was a kid and would eat sticky buns all the time! eeek i cant WAIT to make these!

  • Christine says:

    Hey Foodies, this Orange Sticky Bun is a Recipe Guessing Game on Knapkins. Think your friends can win?

  • vintagejenta says:

    You had me at olive oil dough. I love orange rolls! They are so very good. I also love caramel rolls (especially with pecans) but so many times the dough gets dried out and hard. Not my favorite.

    Also – your puppy is SO CUTE! But yeah, Australian shepherds (really, any shepherd dog) need lots and lots of things to do. This is why border collies (the smartest of the shepherding dogs) can run rings into backyards and be nervous. Most dogs like that like to work. Got any sheep in your area that need herding? Lol…. How about India Runner ducks?

    Someday when we have a fenced in backyard and I’m no longer in school, we want a puppy. The boy wants a sheltie and a Leonberger. Lol. Can you think of a more ridiculous pair?

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Thank you! It’s so true about caramel pecan rolls tending to dry out. Someone should figure out a solution to that. Hmmm. And, the idea of a sheltie and a Leonberger playing together is pretty hilarious.

  • Hannah says:

    I’m not sure which I like better the sticky buns or the puppy!!! 🙂

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      They’re both pretty awesome! Only one of them pees in the house…and looks at you with the most adorable big eyes that say “love me!!! I’m stupid cute!!!”

  • jo-el-leo says:

    I tasted these buns – Em’s buns are nothing short of astonishing. 🙂 Seriously.

  • Margo says:

    This is getting printed out and put on the to do list for the upcoming Christmas vacation with the fam! Can’t wait!

  • Hannah says:

    Love olive oil cakes, love Joanne Chang, love puppies – your post has it all! Congrats on Squid (how cute is that name!) and I look forward to making these buns.

  • Sara says:

    I love Joanne Chang too! That book is so dense with amazing recipes, I have hardly scratched the surface. I haven’t baked with olive oil as much as I would like to but this is a terrific inspiration! My parents had an australian sheep dog, they are a wonderful breed. Hello to the new addition!

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Thank you! Her book is really amazing. I want to make everything in it! And, then I would probably burst from eating too much!

  • Sara W. says:

    Hi! I found your blog through I’ve been toying with the idea of making vegan cinnamon rolls, and also have a couple oranges I need to use up… Just curious, if I wanted to also make a vegan glaze, what would be your recommendation to replace buttermilk? My go-to is soy milk, but I’m not sure that taste would match well here. Thoughts?

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      The buttermilk makes it slightly tangy, so you could do a plain glaze – either water or soy milk – and a tiny bit of lemon. Or to spice it up you could use water and a tiny bit of orange blossom water.

  • […] in stone; in case you aren’t already bound and determined to have a strata, or frittata, or sticky buns, or perhaps puffy pancakes or spoon bread; or maybe you’d like to just add some icing to your […]

  • Sara W. says:

    Thanks, Emily! I finally made a batch today, and they’re amazing! I decided to use a mix of lemon and orange juice for the glaze, and added two drops of orange oil as well. Definitely one of the best vegan dessert recipes I’ve made in a while. Thanks again for sharing!

  • […] Fonte: Adaptado do Blog Five and Spice: Orange buns […]

  • Hina says:

    Hello, can you elaborate a bit on how to go about “pinching” one of the cut sides of the rolls? I can’t quite conceptualize, thanks

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      Hi! Sorry it’s a little hard to explain, and I wish I had a picture to show. But, basically, you know how you pinch together the top of a dumpling to keep the filling from falling out? Here, you’re taking the cut rolls, and you’re gently pinching in one of the cut sides (and the other cut side that doesn’t get pinched winds up facing up and creating the swirly top) to try to keep some of the filling from oozing out as it bakes. Of course, a bunch of the filling will ooze out anyway. It helps make them deliciously sticky! Does that help at all?

  • Hina says:

    While the orange and olive oil taste was lovely, I was disappointed in the texture of the rolls. They were too dense and chewey. Might I have gone wrong somewhere?

    • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

      I’m sorry to hear that! I’ve never had that happen. The only thought I have is that the rolls didn’t rise enough. Rising times and the level of yeast activity can vary hugely dependent on your yeast and the temperature in the room where it is rising. The dough needs to rise enough to be puffy on both the first and second round of rising.

      • Hina says:

        It was puffy both times =(…I was thinking about using the orange filling with the dough recipe for molly wizenberg’s cinnamon rolls….maybe it’s simply that I prefer a more brioche type dough with milk and eggs =)

      • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

        Perhaps! This dough is fundamentally a foccacia dough, donut definitely is a bit different in character from a brioche dough.

      • Hina says:


      • Emily (Kuross) Vikre says:

        Haha, donut = a typo version of “so it”

  • Ola says:

    I would not recommend kneading it with hands. Just tried- it was mess of the century in my kitchen, took me 30 minutes to incorporate the oil and the dough didn’t rise in the oven. They were terribly dense 😦
    I still believe that it’s delicious if made with stand mixer… I will have to wait for about two years for mine…

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