My junior year of college, I lived in a house with a bunch of my closest friends. On Sunday mornings, I used to make the original cinnamon version of these sweet buns. They come together quickly, especially since they don’t require any yeast. This skipped step is great because it frees up your time to shape homemade apple sausage patties or fry up some hash browns instead.
We’d all sit down to a huge breakfast, family-style, and it was the perfect way to begin a Sunday. An excuse to procrastinate that term paper a little longer, a chance to clarify gaps from the previous night, and a cure-all for a hangover.
My Sunday mornings aren’t quite like that anymore, but I still appreciate a chance to slow down and taste, in the calm before the business week starts all over again. Seated at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee, and gazing out the window at the mountainside, I can’t think of a better place for relishing these sweet buns.
In my adaptation, I made an almond orange filling using muscovado sugar instead of the standard brown. By all means, you can certainly use brown sugar. Muscovado sugar is simply a bolder, deeper tasting brown sugar. I felt it would be nice paired with the bright flavors of the orange, and the sweetness of the ground almonds.
The beauty of these buns is that they are nearly identical tasting to a yeast-raised sweet bun, but instead use chemical leaveners (baking powder and baking soda), which I adapted to my altitude. This means that once the dough is mixed, you can bake it right away, versus letting it rise.
Topped with an orange glaze, they are almost as bright and cheery as that soul-warming Colorado sunshine peeking in the window.
Sweet Almond Orange Buns (adapted from At Home with Magnolia by Allysa Torey)
Almond Orange Filling:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
3/4 cup almond flour (finely ground almond meal)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
Sweet Orange Glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.
Start with the almond orange filling. Cream the butter and muscovado sugar until light and creamy. Add the ground almonds, orange zest, and vanilla. Beat until blended. Set aside.
For the bun dough, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Add the oil and mix until incorporated. The mixture will be crumbly and dry in some spots. Add the buttermilk and stir until it comes into a ball. Knead the dough a few times until smooth. Roll out into a 15 x 8 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread the almond orange filling over the dough and roll up, starting from one of the long sides, into a cylinder. Make sure the seam is facing down. Cut the roll crosswise into eight 1-1/2 inch slices. Place the buns in the greased cake pan and bake about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sweet orange glaze. Combine the confectioner’s sugar, orange juice, milk, and orange zest until smooth. You may add more sugar or liquid to adjust it to your liking. When the buns are done, drizzle the glaze over them. Enjoy warm with a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains.