Sunday, March 4, 2012

When Life Gives You Coconut Pudding....

Isn't it great to wake up to the aroma of cinnamon, butter and baking bread on a chilly Sunday morning?

It is?

I only ask because you see, I wouldn't know.  Around here, we call cinnamon buns "lunch" because even though I get up relatively early on weekends, enjoying my "me" time and a cup of freshly brewed coffee before anyone else rises, I'm not so good at planning ahead.  The thought of hot, ooey-gooey cinnamon buns strikes at, say, 9:30 or so, and after a half hour of internet time looking for the perfect new-to-me recipe, another half hour scrambling through the cupboards, bread machine dough cycle time, rising time....well, many times Sunday dinner stands around, arms crossed, foot tapping, waiting for its oven time because we're still waiting for "breakfast".

But once I get an idea in my head, there's usually no stopping me.  So this morning I decided to go with a bread machine dough recipe that calls for instant vanilla pudding mix.   Bread machine because I am yeast-bread challenged and if kneading by hand I inevitably knead too much or too little, and instant pudding mix because I knew I had some on hand.  Hubby is one of those people who prefers boxed cake mix to homemade...if I add pudding mix, it not only yields a moister cake, I also feel like I'm adding my own little secret ingredient and actually BAKING something.  Yeah, I know, thousand of people do it, but it makes me feel better!  So I (almost) always have pudding mix on hand.

And like most of my hare-brained schemes, if something can go wrong, it will.  "Bah!" moment number one....I only had coconut cream pudding mix.  I know I bought it for some reason, but can't for the life of me remember what it was!  Ah well, it will have to do.  "Argh!" moment number two, bread machine?  Where are you?  Am I the only one who goes through an insane bout of cleaning and organizing, then two months later can't find anything? Like my potato masher or my bread machine?  Finally found it in the garage.  Potato masher is still MIA, though...

Eventually, bread machine did its work beautifully, handing me this lovely ball of sweet dough, flecked with bits of coconut flakes even!

The recipe, which I've seen countless times online so I'm not sure exactly where it originates from, called for kneading an additional 3 to 5 minutes (again, I trick myself into thinking that I actually made the dough).  I rolled it out into a rectangle and just as I began to spread the cinnamon/brown sugar/butter filling, I had....an idea.

My ideas.  Well, sometimes they work, and sometimes....let us not forget *shudder*  Frankenmeatloaf.  I began to think about that coconut creme pudding mix, and suddenly that decadent brown sugar cinnamon filling seemed to lack something.  So I added 1/2 tsp of ground allspice and 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and spread that over the dough.  I also remembered seeing some shredded coconut and added a bit of that, then rethought my idea of omitting chopped pecans because they go so nicely with coconut.  I almost added chocolate chips....well, we'll see how this incarnation turns out before we go there!  I mean, before you know it I would have been chopping jalapenos or something and ended up with Frankenbuns, Bride of Frankenmeatloaf.

The dough was BEAUTIFUL to work with.  I kneaded it for a few minutes, and even with a very scant amount of flour it hardly stuck at all.  I rolled it out into a rectangle...



...topped with my spiced filling, sprinkled half with shredded coconut and pecans (some of those with whom I live are not enthusiastic about "different" things, like coconut and pecans...)




Rolled it into a log (again, no sticking! It was a miracle, I tell you!), pinched the seams and cut into 1" slices using a serrated bread knife.






Placed them in a buttered 9" x 13" baking dish, covered and let rise for about 40 minutes.


Before rising....
Then I baked for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven until golden and bubbly.  Meanwhile, I combined softened butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla and some fat free half and half (you know, just to balance things out...).  Actually, I like using half and half in frostings like this for added richness.  The "fat free" part was strictly coincidence.




I let the buns cool just a bit, then topped each one with a dollop of icing and spread with the back of the spoon (then licked the spoon).  I topped the coconut filled ones with a bit of toasted coconut....


O...
 M...
 G!

The result?  Decadent. Delicious. Definitely a success.  The original "Soft, Moist and Gooey Cinnamon Buns" recipe posted on Allrecipes is a keeper, so if YOU have instant vanilla pudding mix in your cupboards, I highly recommend this recipe!  Here's my version, based upon what I had on hand....

Coconut Spice Buns

1 cup buttermilk (milk w/ 1 tbsp vinegar works fine)
1 egg, beaten
4 Tbsp butter, melted
4 Tbsp. water
1/2 3.5 oz. coconut cream pudding mix
4 cups bread flour *
1 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 to 2 tsp milk
1/4 cup toasted coconut

Follow your bread machine instruction recommendations (usually liquids first, dry ingredients, yeast last) and place buttermilk, egg, melted butter, water, pudding mix, flour. sugar, salt and yeast in bread machine. Select Dough cycle.

Remove dough and knead for 3 to 5 minutes.  Roll into a large rectangle, approximately 18" to 20" long.  In small bowl, combine 1/2 cup softened butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.  Spread over dough.  Sprinkle with shredded coconut and pecans.  Starting at wide end, roll dough into log; pinch to seal seams.  With serrated knife, cut into  1" slices and place in buttered 9" x 13" baking pan.  Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.  Meanwhile, combine 4 Tbsp softened butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla and just enough milk to make a thick, spreadable frosting.  Let buns cool for a few minutes, then top with frosting and sprinkle with toasted coconut.  Makes 18 cinnamon buns.

*Note about bread flour:  I never, ever think to buy bread flour, which is basically flour with a higher amount of gluten.  There are two ways to sub regular all-purpose flour for bread flour:  for every 1 cup of flour, add 1 tsp. vital wheat gluten OR for every 1 cup of flour, add an additional 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour.  Either way will get you where you want to be! :)






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