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Chocolate-Filled Orange Buns

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As you know, I’m a member of the Secret Recipe Club.  On September 14, one of our members, Daniel of The Haggis and The Herring, passed away suddenly and expectantly.  He had just made dinner for his family and bam.  He was gone.  I don’t know the details, but what a shock.  His wife was expecting their third child, and just thirty minute before he died he was telling his wife how much he loved her and how everything was going to be OK.  There are so many stories like this that make us realize how fleeting and precious life is, that you never know what to expect, and yet we are never fully prepared when caught by surprise.  Not even half-prepared.  It can turn your world upside down.  My heart breaks for his family.

Despite being in this club with Daniel, I was never in the same group and him and I don’t believe I ever visited his blog until he was gone.  I debated whether I should join the special tribute reveal with other members of the club, to remember him by posting a recipe from his blog.  I felt strange about it since we never once communicated while he was alive that I know of, but being in the same club, both being food bloggers, and now having read some of his blog, including the beautiful eulogy his wife shared when she announced his passing, I felt his life deserved to be commemorated this way, and I couldn’t not join the tribute.

I chose this recipe because these buns were very special to Daniel.  His grandmother made them while he was growing up and were his favorite sweet, but for a long time, he couldn’t’ find her recipe to duplicate them after she had passed away.  His aunt finally found a copy his grandmother had written in Spanish and she translated it for Daniel to make and share on his blog.  He was so happy to be able to finally enjoy them again.

I didn’t have orange blossom water, so I upped the amount of orange zest in the recipe to make sure the orange flavor still came through and I thought the orange and chocolate flavors were very nice.  I didn’t make these small like they should have been, so the amount of chocolate to bread was off, but they were still tasty. I loved how light the bread was, even when at room temperature. I took these pictures with room temperature buns so you can imagine how melty the chocolate and how light the bread is when warm. These aren’t very sweet, so I thought they were very nice as a breakfast treat with coffee. I brought them to work and they were gone in an hour-I couldn’t believe it. Either that means they are good, or people at work are starved for homemade goodies! I need to feed them more often, I think. :)

I hope that Daniel would be honored by this tribute to his life, and that his favorite buns have found their way into the hearts of others through his willingness to share his family heirloom recipe.

Chocolate-Filled Orange Buns

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

4 eggs
½ cup oil
¾ cup sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange zest (from about two oranges)
1 packet (2 ¼ teaspoons) instant yeast (aka bread machine yeast)
6-7 cups all-purpose flour
1 (12 oz) bag semisweet chocolate
1 egg for egg wash
Confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, oil, sugar, milk, orange juice, orange blossom water and rind. Whisk together. Mix the yeast with 4 cups of the flour and stir into the liquid mixture with a large spoon.  Continue stirring in flour until it is too stiff to stir, then turn it out onto a floured surface and begin kneading more flour in until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.  Roll into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat in oil.  Cover bowl with a cloth and allow to rest in a warm draft-free place until doubled in size, about one hour.

To make the rolls, press a small handful of dough into a 3 x 3 square. place some chocolate at one end and roll it up. Place rolls on a non-stick baking sheet. (I put mine into two greased 9×13 baking dishes.) Cover rolls with plastic and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350F. Beat egg for wash and brush onto buns with pastry brush. Bake for 20 minutes or until buns are slightly golden-brown on top. Sprinkle buns with confectioners sugar when done. Buns can be frozen for later use.

Makes 24 large rolls, or 48 small.



Oatmeal Sandwich Bread


This isn’t my favorite bread, but it does have a great, wholesome & hearty flavor. It is an excellent loaf for slicing and making sandwiches. My favorite use for it is making grilled cheese sandwiches, and I also made some yummy ham and cheese melts (with apricot preserves spread on the insides) that this bread was wonderful with. This makes a very large, tall loaf, so if you prefer you can make two smaller, shorter loaves with the dough as I chose to, which makes the bread go further, although your sandwiches will be smaller.  I’m on a mission to lose these last 15 pounds so the smaller sandwiches totally fits in with my plan!  I love it when I can eat real food (read: non-“free” stuff.  Free is good as long as it’s not associated with fat or sugar!) and stay within my calorie budget.

Be sure to check out the recipe source at the end–this gal has tons of healthy, delicious recipes!  I won her low-fat cinnamon rolls in an online bake sale auction and I have to say they are crazy good.  I never thought to replace butter in the filling with applesauce–brilliant!

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
3 tablespoon molasses
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 cup rolled oats
4 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tablespoon salt

For optional topping
1 egg, beaten with a teaspoon of water
2 tablespoons rolled oats

Butter a large bowl and a 9″ loaf pan and set aside. In a large mixing bowl or food processor fitted with a dough hook, mix together water, yeast and molasses. Allow the yeast to stand for 5 minutes until it begins to bubble. Add the whole wheat and bread flour, the oats and the melted butter. Stir to combine. Cover with towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Add in salt and then mix until dough pulls away from sides and becomes a ball. You can add a tablespoon or two of flour or water if necessary. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5-10 times. Place into the large, buttered bowl. For the first rise, scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it a few times. Put the dough into the buttered bowl, cover with a towel, and leave it to rise for about 1 hour or until it doubles in size. Turn dough out onto floured surface after first rise. Shape by folding into a square, folding top down towards center and bottom up towards the center. Pinch the new top and bottom together to seal, roll to shape and place in the loaf pan, seam side down. Allow to rise in a warm place, covered with a towel for one hour or until dough rises an additional half its size. Preheat oven to 400° F. Right before placing in oven, brush egg wash over the top of the loaf and sprinkle on the rolled oats. Bake for 40 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. The loaf slices best when at room temperature.

Veronica’s notes: I substituted rapid-acting yeast as usual, so I mixed it in with the dry ingredients and then added the wet–no proofing necessary.  You don’t technically have to do two rises when you use rapid-acting/instant yeast, so you can just shape it into a loaf and let it rise once before baking, but I usually go ahead and do two rises anyway to develop a more yeasty flavor.

I calculated the nutritional information based on making two loaves and dividing each into 14 slices.  Per slice: 111 calories; 2.7 g fat; 21 g carbohydrate; 2.2 g fiber; 3.4 g protein

Recipe source: From Apples to Zucchini

Honey Oatmeal Bread


**Note: This post is an eyesore but I don’t want to change the content because I’m keepin’ it real.  This is how the original post looked and read, and I want to be able to read it again ten years from now and cringe as much as I’m cringing now. :)  (Although I am adding a new photo of this in rolls-form, and plan to add more next time I make this into bread again.)

I will let you in on the people I’m identifying here.  This was back in my MySpace days, where I originally posted this, when I was friends with a couple gals who went by Red (Kim) and Kitchen Bitch (Krista).  Red’s white bread was the first yeast bread that required kneading that I’d ever made.  This was the second one and it is still my favorite after three years of baking with yeast.  It has the best, softest, texture and an incredible taste.  I hope you overlook the bad photos and delirious writing and make it!**

Well I’ve made Red’s bread which got me over my fear of making it, so I decided to tackle the Bitch’s bread…Kitchen Bitch, that is!  :)  Kim can have “Red’s Bread” and Krista can have “Bitchin’ Bread”–am I a great marketing schemer or what?  If you guys ever do open bread shops, I want 10% of your profits. Ha!

(It’s after 1 AM and I’m sleep-deprived.  In case you didn’t notice.)

OK, so Krista sent me this recipe quite a while back, but since the directions called for a stand mixer with dough hooks (which I don’t have) and I was scared to make bread in the first place, let alone try to modify a recipe to suit my lack of kitchen apparatus, I saved it for a later date.

The date came today.  Emboldened by my most recent success with the white bread, I decided I was going to go for the Honey Oatmeal Bread, despite my lack of dough hooks and despite the fact that it was nearly 11 PM.  It was a huge success and totally worth staying up for–even better than my first bread attempt!  The taste is unbelievable and the texture is crazy soft.  I’m in love.  I wish I had a good camera to show off the beauty of these loaves, but you can get a general idea from the back-up camera that I’m using.

Honey Oatmeal Bread
from KitchenAid

1 1/2 c water
1/2 c honey
1/3 c butter or margarine
5 1/2 to 6 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 c quick cooking oats (Krista says rolled oats work fine too)
2 t salt
2 pkgs active dry yeast or 4 1/2 tsp jarred yeast
2 eggs
1 egg white
1 T water
Additional oatmeal for decoration (optional)

Place water, honey, and butter in small saucepan. Heat over low heat until mixture is very warm. (120-130 F)

First place oats, then 5 c flour, salt, and yeast in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer. Turn to Speed 2 and mix about 15 seconds.

Continuing on Speed 2, gradually add warm mixture to flour mixture and mix about 1 minute. Add whole eggs and mix about 1 minute longer.

Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 c at a time, and mix about 2 minutes or until dough starts to clean the sides of bowl. Knead on Speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.

Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover (I use plastic wrap) and let rise in a warm, non-drafty place (I use my oven with the light on) about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Sometimes this takes longer than 1 hour. Let it go until it has doubled.

Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place in greased bread baking pans. Cover (I use a clean dish cloth for this) and let rise again in a warm, draft free place (oven again) until doubled in bulk…usually an hour, sometimes a bit more.

Beat the egg white and water and brush the tops of loaves GENTLY. Sprinkle with oatmeal if desired. Bake at 375 F (preheat the oven so it is up to temp) for 30-40 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

Krista recommends brushing the crust with butter or margarine after removing from pans and so do I.

Yields 32 servings (16 slices per loaf). Nutritional info per slice: 134 cal, 4 g pro, 24 g carb, 3 g fat, 13 mg chol, 162 mg sod

Veronica’s Notes:  To make this by hand, mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Beat the eggs in a small bowl.  Pour in warm liquid and mix with a spoon until blended, then dump in the beaten eggs and fold the dough over and over until all the egg is incorporated and you’ve got a ridiculously sticky mass attached to your hand.  Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, kneading it in.  I just knead my bread dough in the bowl to keep from dirtying another surface.  Once you have kneaded in all the flour and continued to knead for a few minutes, follow the instructions on the recipe.   I used instant yeast so I was able to skip the first rising and go straight to shaping the halves into loaves and sticking them in the pans.  Krista wouldn’t recommend this and she’s probably right that using regular yeast and allowing the bread to rise longer develops a fuller flavor, but I seriously can’t imagine bread getting any better than this.  If it’s better her way, the taste would probably give me a heart attack so it’s partly in the interest of my own health that I’m sticking to my own method.

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