This little Santa Lucia doll sits on the table by our Christmas tree every year ... she's a sweet reminder of SB's Swedish roots and a reminder to me that come Santa Lucia Day (December 13th), it's time to make a special batch of breakfast rolls, coffeecake, or cinnamon buns to have with our morning coffee or tea!
This year, I poked around for a recipe and came up with an old favorite ... Apple Sticky Buns. An hour of work and a half hour in the oven ... heaven awaits!
The dough for these buns has no yeast element. It's more like a buttermilk baking powder biscuit recipe that is flattened and rolled up with butter and sugar streusel and small chunks of apple. The rolling up part is a challenge, as the dough is sticky and tends to break apart, but a parchment paper roll-up technique works wonders!
There's nothing scientific about this process. Just have a large piece of parchment paper that's been lightly floured. Roll out the dough into a "rectangle-ish shape". Slap on the brown sugar streusel and the apples. Press into place and start rolling things up.
A little more! A little more! Shove the sugar and apple pieces back in at both ends as it begins to overflow. Keep on rolling and pressing things firmly together!
Things get pretty fat and roly-poly! Just keep on rolling and poking the ends back together ! Until ...
Voila! Use a sharp knife to cut into 9 ( for honking big buns) or 12 (for reasonably sized buns) ...
Fit them any which way into a lined 9x9 pan and bake them ... while you wait, poke around at something fun, get the coffee and tea ready and smell the spicy goodness! I poked around looking at my son Eric's (he's 31 years old now) early artwork ... he did love his nutcrackers!
He was six years old when he made these drawings ... a genius!
I even found his letter to Santa written that same year! He asked for X-men figures (some things never change); aren't X-men figures still all the rage with little boys?
Breakfast on Santa Lucia Day was sweet and bittersweet ... ah, Christmas memories!
Apple-Stuffed Biscuit Buns
an Amy Traverso recipe
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 large egg
3 c. flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
12 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small chunks
1 1/4 c. light brown sugar
5 tbsp. cold butter
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 large, firm cooking apple (Cortlands, for me!) - peeled, cored and cut into little cubes
Making the Biscuit Buns:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper so that it goes up all four sides of the pan. Set aside.
2. Place the brown sugar and filling butter measure in a bowl and use two knives to cut the butter into tiny bits. Add the cinnamon, toss everything with a fork and set it aside.
3. Measure the buttermilk out and add the egg to the measuring cup. Whisk it with a fork and set it aside.
4. Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda into another good-sized bowl. Add the biscuit butter measure into the flour. Rub the flour into the dry mix, using your fingers to smear the butter into the flour mix. It will begin to look scrappy as you get all the butter smushed up.
5. Add the egg and buttermilk mixture and use the fork to mix the dough just until it is incorporated. if the dough is dry, add a splash or two more buttermilk, but just enough to get all the flour mixed into a sticky dough ball.
6. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of parchment paper that has been lightly floured. Knead the dough 5-8 time to get it to hold together.
7. Press the dough out into a rough rectangle with your hands and then use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle-ish shape that measures 15 x 9 inches and of uniform thickness.
8. Clean your hands off and peel, core, and chop an apple into small cubes.
9. Sprinkle the brown sugar streusel over the rectangle of dough, leaving some space around the edges.
10. Strew the apple bits over top of the sugar and press gently to firm the layer up a bit.
11. Starting from the long side, use the parchment paper to bring the dough up and over the streusel to begin rolling the whole deal into a jelly roll of biscuit dough and filling. As you roll things up, stop frequently to press the roll together firmly. Use your fingers to stuff the sugar and apple bits that will begin to push out of the ends of the "jelly roll". Refer to the post pictures to make this process clear.
12. When the dough is all rolled up press the dough edges together and use a sharp knife to cut biscuit rounds ... you can make 9 or 12 biscuits. Gently transfer the rounds to the baking pan, fitting them snuggly into place.
13. Sprinkle any stray brown sugar streusel and apple bits over top the biscuits, place in the center of the pre-heated oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
14. Cool the biscuits for 10 minutes and then use the parchment paper to lift the rolls to a flat surface. Get a fresh sheet of parchment paper to place on top of the biscuits and use both sheets to grasp the biscuits and flip them over. Lay them down gently and carefully remove the sticky bottom sheet of paper.
15. Place a pretty platter over the bottom of the biscuits and now use the platter and the parchment paper to again grasp the biscuits and flip them to the plate. Careful! Phew!
16. Brew the coffee or steep the tea and have these biscuits while they are still warm and gooey! Merry Christmas !!!!