I started the holiday season believing I could stick to a semi-healthful diet through December. Sure, I would indulge now and again – a favorite cookie here, a slice of panettone there, but overall keeping a plant based, lean meat, whole grain diet through to 2019. Oh, chimerical intentions!
Now that I’m staring at the back of Christmas, I’m ready to renew (albeit temporarily) my commitment to healthy-ish eating except…my kitchen is stuffed with leftovers from an overindulgent holiday celebration – duck-fat roasted potatoes (mmm…), cartons of whipping cream, half-used packages of dried fruits, nuts, and chocolate, no less than six types of cheese, and a freezer full of glazed, yeasted holiday breads like these cherry apricot sweet buns.
Maybe healthy eating can hold until February?
Cherry Apricot Sweet Buns
Fluffy, slightly sweet buns studded with mixed fruit.
- ⅓ cup dried cherries, chopped
- ⅓ cup dried apricots, chopped
- ¼ cup dried figs, chopped
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 Tablespoons brandy
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg, beaten
- Decorator or pearl sugar
- Confectioner’s sugar icing
- In a small bowl, combine cherries, apricots, figs, zest and brandy and set aside to allow flavors to meld.
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk and sugar until warm (105⁰ – 110⁰ F). Sprinkle the yeast over the milk and let rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour, salt, cardamom, and nutmeg in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
- Add the butter and vanilla to milk mixture (it should be foamy by now) and then mix into the flour to create a shaggy dough. Let dough rest for 15 minutes.
- Knead dough using the dough hook until smooth and elastic, about 12 minutes. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to proof in a warm spot until doubled in size, about one hour.
- Drain the fruit, if needed, and mix into dough. Divide the dough into 9 even pieces, roll into round balls, picking off any fruit on the outside that is exposed, and place the buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and proof again until risen, about one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the buns with beaten egg and liberally sprinkled with decorator sugar. Bake for 17-22 minutes until buns are dark golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, drizzle with confectioner’s sugar icing.