Apricot Sweet Buns

Once a precious commodity traded on the Silk Road, jewel-hued dried apricots offer a chance to enjoy the delicately tart fruit after their notoriously short season has come and gone. We use dried apricots as the sweet golden filling of our almond-flecked sweet buns and top them off with a sticky drizzle of Brown Sugar Glaze.  

Our Editor-in-Chief, Brian Hart Hoffman, baked these beautiful sweet buns live on Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family show. Click here to see how he literally twirls them up!

Apricot Sweet Buns
 
Makes 12
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (240 grams) warm whole milk (105°F/40°C to 110°F/43°C), divided
  • 2¼ teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • ⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup (76 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) sour cream
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • 1½ teaspoons (6 grams) almond extract
  • 4 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
  • Apricot-Almond Filling (recipe follows)
  • Brown Sugar Glaze (recipe follows)
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine ¾ cup (180 grams) warm milk and yeast. Let stand until mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together sugar, melted butter, sour cream, egg, almond extract, and remaining ¼ cup (60 grams) warm milk.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together 3⅔ cups (458 grams) flour and salt. Stir half of flour mixture into sugar mixture. With mixer on low speed, add yeast mixture, beating just until combined. Beat in remaining flour mixture. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Add remaining ⅓ cup (42 grams) flour, if needed (dough should not be sticky). Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Loosely cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Lightly punch down dough. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 21x13-inch rectangle. Spread Apricot-Almond Filling onto dough. Fold dough in thirds, like a letter, creating a 13x7-inch rectangle. Roll dough into a 13x8-inch rectangle. Cut ½ inch off each short end of rectangle. Cut dough into 12 (1-inch) strips. Twist each strip, and tie in a knot, tucking ends under. Place on prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until puffed, about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  7. Bake buns, one batch at a time, until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes, covering with foil halfway through baking to prevent excess browning. Brush buns with Brown Sugar Glaze. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes. Serve warm. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Apricot-Almond Filling
 
Makes about 1½ cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (128 grams) dried apricots
  • ⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (57 grams) sliced almonds
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring apricots and water to cover by 1 inch to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cook until apricots are softened, about 20 minutes. Drain apricots, reserving 2 tablespoons (30 grams) cooking liquid.
  2. In the work bowl of a food processor, place warm apricots, reserved 2 tablespoons (30 grams) cooking liquid, sugar, butter, and cinnamon; pulse until mixture has the texture of jam. Stir in almonds; let cool completely. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Notes
You can replace the dried apricots with 1 cup of any dried fruit you prefer, or even your favorite jam.

Brown Sugar Glaze
 
Makes about ½ cup
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) water
  • ¼ cup (55 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring ¼ cup (60 grams) water, brown sugar, and vanilla bean and reserved seeds to a boil over medium heat. Remove vanilla bean, and let cool completely. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

 

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