I just got back from my son's science trip with his school for 8 days last week, and I'm exhausted! Not so much physically but mentally because there's so much to think about during the trip, the safety of the kids was always the paramount. The constant vigilance of where they were and what they're doing, and the long drives wore me out. But it didn't mean I didn't have good time because I got the chance to visit my bestie and my alma mater.
The kids went to Catalina Island Marine Institute to study marine biology and we stopped along the way, first at San Fransisco and second at Knott's Berry Farm. The kids bonded and the chaperones bonded as well; the women I know were really wonderful and we got to know each other more.
With that trip behind me, I can now enjoy my spring break! So need a break from a routine even though the typical springtime weather is back, days of grey and mist. Ah, that's Oregon...
Maybe this Chelsea buns will cheer me up? These are tasty buns, chockfull of moist dried fruits which my husband and I love. My son still chose cinnamon rolls over this but he still ate a handful :)
Yields about 12 large buns or 24 small buns
For sweet bread dough:
3/4 cup (6 ounces) warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup (2 ounces) bread flour
3/4 cup (6 ounces) plain yogurt--regular or Greek, can be substituted with sour cream or buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups bread flour
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water (for egg wash)
For the filling:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit
For the icing:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons cream or 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
In a small bowl, combine the warm water and 2 teaspoons sugar. Stir to dissolve. Stir in the yeast and 1/2 cup flour. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside until bubbly and active, about 10 to 15 minutes.
In a bowl of a mixer or bucket for bread machine, combine the yogurt, butter, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and yeast mixture. Add 4 1/2 cups of flour and knead the dough--by mixer or bread machine--to make a smooth, supple, and soft dough. Add the extra flour only if needed, 1/2 cup at a time. If using a mixer, place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to grease all sides, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 60 minutes, or until doubled in bulk. If using bread machine, let it rise in the machine until the end of the Dough cycle.
Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 16" x 24" rectangle.
Spread the dough with the 1/3 cup melted butter. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle it evenly over the dough. Scatter the mixed dried fruit over the cinnamon sugar and lightly press it down onto the dough.
Starting with a long end, roll the dough into a log and cut it into 12 slices for large buns or 24 slices for small buns. Whatever the size of buns you cut, they'll turn out delicious!
Place the buns in lightly greased baking sheets. Cover the pan and let the buns rise until they're nearly doubled, about 45 minutes.
While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 375F. Brush buns with egg wash and bake until golden brown, about 30-40 minutes. While the buns are baking, make the icing by stirring together confectioners' sugar with cream or milk.
Remove the buns from the oven. Drizzle the icing on the buns while they are warm.