Orange Scented Olive Oil Sticky Buns

By • November 23, 2011 • 83 Comments

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Author Notes: I'v been monkeying for a bit trying to make some sticky buns that have all the decadent gooeyness of standard sticky buns, but a little fresher flavors. When we bit into these this morning, I knew they were it. The inspiration for them comes from a number of different places. I started by wondering if Joanne Chang's (of Flour bakery) focaccia dough would work for sweet rolls. It is, quite possibly, my very favorite bread dough, amazingly rich, tender, and pillowy, but enriched only by olive oil (quite a bit of it!). This gives it a lovely floral olive oil flavor.
This made me think of olive oil cakes, and how delicious they are, particularly olive oil cakes with a bit of orange fragrance. So, I decided to make a sticky filling with orange zest and juice, plus a little squeeze of lemon juice to add some refreshing extra acidity. This part is similar to the various recipes for lemon sticky buns that were flooding the interwebs a while back. Then, looking at Melissa Clark's recipe for olive oil and orange cake, I noticed there was buttermilk in the batter. Playing off of this flavor, I decided to make a buttermilk glaze, sweet but with the light tang of buttermilk. I decided to keep the flavors of the dough, the filling, and the glaze different from each other, because I felt each blended with and added beautifully to the others and didn't all need orange notes. However, if you'd like more orange throughout, add a tsp. of orange zest to the dough, and replace a little of the buttermilk in the glaze with orange blossom water to taste.
fiveandspice

Food52 Review: These delicious buns are wonderful. You'd never know that the dough was originally foccacia. Work quickly when cutting the buns since the filling is quite liquid and can seep out from the roll, and you probably won't need all the juice for the filling. I loved the orange and olive oil combo and the little bit of acid in the icing is perfect.Stephanie Bourgeois

Makes makes 18 smallish buns, 12 larger ones

Bun dough

  • 1 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup good, fruity, olive oil

Orange filling and buttermilk glaze

  • 1 cup sugar
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a bread hook, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar, and allow to stand for 5 minutes to let the yeast foam.
  2. Add the salt and half of the flour. Turn the mixer on low, and continue to add the flour allowing the mixer to mix it all together. When the dough has come together in a shaggy ball (this may take slight more or less flour, err on the side of a slightly sticky dough to keep it from being tought), pour in the olive oil in a drizzle as the dough hook keeps stirring.
  3. On a medium low speed, let the dough knead for 4-5 minutes. (All of this mixing and kneading can also be done by hand.) When the dough is smooth and satiny, gather it together and turn it into a deep, oiled bowl. cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp, clean kitchen towel, and put somewhere warm to rise until doubled in volume (mine took about 90 minutes, but my apartment is a bit chilly).
  4. While the dough rises, make the filling. Combine the cup of sugar with the orange zest. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes while the zest releases its oil into the sugar. Then, rub it together until well mixed and slightly moist. Next combine the orange and lemon juice and stir it in a bit at a time until you have a thick mixture about the consistency of wet sand (you may not use all of the juice). Set aside.
  5. Butter a 9X13 inch baking pan. When the dough had risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out into a large rectangle that is a bit under a half an inch thick.
  6. Spread the filling mixture onto the dough, leaving a half inch border clear along one of the long ends. Roll the dough up tightly like a jelly roll starting at the long end without the border. Slice into either 12 or 18 equal slices.
  7. Pinch one of the cut sides of each slice closed as much as possible, to help keep the filling in (it will leak out some anyway, but it will work out fine). Then fit the slices into the buttered pan, with the pinched sides down and the unpinched cut sides up. Cover and allow to rise for another 45 minutes to an hour, until puffed. You can also put the rolls in the refrigerator at this point and let them slow rise over night and bake them in the morning. If you refrigerate them, just let them stand at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes before putting them in the oven.
  8. When ready to bake, heat your oven to 350F. Bake the rolls for 35-40 minutes until the rolls are nicely browned on top and baked through. Then remove from the oven.
  9. While the buns are baking, make the glaze by whisking the buttermilk into the powdered sugar bit by bit until it is the consistency that is thick, but pourable, When the buns are finished baking, spread the glaze on the warm buns. Serve warm, preferably with some espresso or strong coffee, and moist napkins for cleaning off your deliciously sticky fingers.
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Comments (83) Questions (0)

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11 days ago Kiki

I wanted to make this but I'm not a baker. It looks complicated. I guess I'll just buy the Pills*** brand and bake them. I need easy recipes.

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11 days ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

If you're not a baker, I definitely wouldn't recommend starting with sticky buns, which require kneading and rising. Maybe something like cookies, which you can mix and bake would be a better choice. Here's a nice easy one: https://food52.com/recipes...

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7 months ago Kathi

I have found that my oven light warms the oven JUST enough to help the dough rise. I just leave it on, put the dough in and no problems.

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10 months ago Tasho

So made these again at Thanksgiving and for Christmas breakfast- every time I make them I think they will not turn out- dough so sticky and wet- every time they turn out delicious ! This time I used Trader Joe's olive oil and everybody raved

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10 months ago Carole Zent Hedstrom

Amazing! Delicious, total winner at today's Boxing Day Brunch!

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10 months ago MamaP

These were wonderful. I, too, thought the dough wasn't rising. So, I put it in the kitchen while I baked. No issue. This was also my first time making homemade, yeast-based rolls. I couldn't believe how easy it was and how well they turned out. They are now our Christmas tradition. They were truly wonderful. Thank you!

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about 1 year ago Hina Khokhar

would using cake flour make these a little less dense?

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about 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

No, it would just mean there's less gluten in the flour to give them structure and make a workable dough. To keep them from being dense you have to add as little extra flour as possible and make sure to give them adequate time to rise. Rising time can vary dramatically based on ambient temperature and on your yeast.

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over 1 year ago Tasho

Made these last night for Easter Brunch- had orange sticky buns on recent vac to Florida tht my daughter and I fell in love with- googled around for possible recipe and found this- everybody loved them! And what we did to prevent them from sticking in pan when cooled was to flip them out onto a platter (flat baking aheet work just as well) then drizzle with icing- all if the YUMMY filling was on the rolls! Definitely a keeper- thank you so much!

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about 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Awesome!

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over 1 year ago Boozy

These sticky buns were absolutely lovely! I had a little bit of trouble getting them to rise, any tips on keeping dough happy in a winter kitchen?

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over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oof, yeah, chilly winter bread rising can be a frustrating business, especially since that's the time of year when you most want fresh-baked yeasty goodies! The only advice I can really offer is either try to find the warmest least drafty place in your house (it doesn't have to be in the kitchen - I often set my breads by the radiator in the living room), or you can slightly warm the oven, turn it off, and when it's down to about 80 or 85 degrees (Farenheit), you can put the dough in there to rise, until you need to start preheating the oven that is. OR you can just allow them to take a longer time to rise. Cold slows the yeast down, but it doesn't stop it, so things may just take awhile longer (sometimes quite awhile) if it's cool.

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over 1 year ago Nikolay Dimitrov

Just finished making this amassing desert!
Thanks!

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over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Glad you gave them a try!

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almost 2 years ago Susie Hillman

Important tip! bake these on parchment paper or get them out of the pan before the sugar cools and cements them to the pan (buttered pan notwithstanding). I had to reheat mine in the oven after letting them cool in the pan, just to get them out.

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Great tip.

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almost 2 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Made these lovelies for Christmas morning, and then again on New Year's Day morning with a cinnamon/pecan/currant/choco chip filling. So easy and delicious. Thank you 5&s! Happy New Year!

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you too! Happy New Year! :)

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almost 2 years ago petalpusher

I finally have a free standing mixer with a dough hook and this recipe was my first experience...It couldn't have been a better introduction. A simple delicious recipe with mind blowing flavors and textures. Orange, lemon sugar is wicked good. These came out perfect. thank you fiveandspice.

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Woohoo! Honored that these were part of your dough hook's maiden voyage!

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almost 2 years ago DjeenDjeen

These are amazing. A great xmas morning treat. Thank you!

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Glad you guys liked them! Thanks for letting me know.

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almost 2 years ago hopecooks

I added cardamom and a little nutmeg to the filling mixture (also 1/4 turbinado sugar) and chopped walnuts sprinkled over the filling before rolling. I didn't have buttermilk, so I used heavy cream, a tiny bit of milk, orange flower water and vanilla for the glaze. Yeasty and delicious!

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Great!

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almost 2 years ago 2nd Street Sue

could I use soy milk instead as my granddaughter is allergic to dairy and egg?

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yes. Or you could use a different nondairy milk like almond.

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almost 2 years ago DeirdreMS

How would I add pecans to this recipe?

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I would add them finely chopped to the sugar and orange filling.

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10 months ago DeirdreMS

Thank you. Making them again for Christmas morning.

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almost 2 years ago TheKiku

Wow! These were really good! I was super scared mine weren't going to come out. I'm clearly not a baker - I have NO patience! I ran out of all purpose flour and had to use part cake flour, the filling was oozing out, I had holes in the dough...I was freaking out! But after all was said and done...DELICIOUS! I will definitely make these again!

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That's wonderful! I'm glad they worked out for you. They're definitely messy, but I figure that's part of the whole point of sticky buns! :)

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almost 2 years ago foodtoglow

I am definitely making this dough tomorrow for baking on Christmas morning, adding in smidge of cardamom. We normally just have what I term an Orange Julius fruit salad (fruit mixed with Greek yogurt, oj, honey and vanilla), but this will be perfect with it. Thanks so much for the recipe Emily! I love your blog, btw.

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks SO much!

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almost 2 years ago emcsull

yet another comment. This would be perfect for one of my best friends, whose husband is allergic to eggs. But - BUT - she has foresworn dairy - what could she use instead of the buttermilk ?

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

You could use instead 1.5 Tbs. of coconut (or almond) milk and .5 Tbs of lemon juice. It would be an imperfect substitute, but a good one nonetheless!

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almost 2 years ago leah_shelton_pucciarelli

Cider vinegar works well with soy milk to make df "buttermilk" also

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almost 2 years ago Dina Moore-Tzouris

sitting at the breakfast table and eating one from the batch i made yesterday. first of all: YUM. the orangey inside does ooze out, but it makes the bottom of the roll taste as delicious as the top, with its crunchy, orangey syrup. i made them yesterday, kept them loosely covered with foil in my mud room, and heated them up for breakfast--perfect, since they take so long to prepare.

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Awesome!

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almost 2 years ago emcsull

so what if I have no bread hook for my mixer, can I just hand-knead ? Would it take a lot longer ?

Thanks emcsull

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

You can certainly mix and knead by hand. The only thing that will be tricky is working in the olive oil. You may want to add it before you add the flour if you are kneading by hand. And then, you'll just have to knead carefully adding as little extra flour as possible (so the dough may be a little sticky and crazy making! But, you can do it!) so that the final baked rolls are tough.

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Aren't tough, that is. Not are tough!

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almost 2 years ago Sophia R

These look amazing - I love sticky buns and have been experimenting with olive oil a bit lately (unsaturated fat and longer shelf life than butter!). Might have to give these a go on the weekend!

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I do hope you enjoy them if you give them a try! Let me know how it goes!

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almost 2 years ago Essentialchef

I love that these are butter free and egg free, for the sake of reducing saturated fat. If I were to make these ahead, at least the dough and stop them before the final rise by putting them in the fridge. That way the majority of the work is done the night before and then we can eat them warm from the oven. My eyes would be a bit bleary if I were to do this whole recipe first thing in the morning, even with coffee!

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yes! That's exactly what I do when I want to make these ahead. Nobody should have to get up three hours early to make breakfast! :)

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almost 2 years ago Dina Moore-Tzouris

i made them completely yesterday--kept them loosely covered with foil in the mudroom overnight. reheated perfectly this morning.

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almost 2 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Love these -- am going to make them over the holidays.

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks so much! I hope they're enjoyed by all!

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almost 2 years ago darksideofthespoon

Made these last night! Delicious. My only changes were I used left over vanilla bean sugar for the dough and filling, and added a handful of chopped dried cranberries. There are only 5 left!!!

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almost 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Yay! Love the cranberry addition too!

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over 2 years ago japanna

terrific except next time I would cut back on the sugar in the filling, especially if making the larger size buns. maybe for e smaller size that intensity might be what you are after. i subbed in half superfine whole wheat and used yogurt for the topping. i found the dough to be very forgiving in terms of rise time. will be making these again. thanks for a great recipe.

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over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I'm glad you liked them! And, definitely the amount of the filling used should be adjusted to personal preference.

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almost 3 years ago phzs

After the dough has risen I would cut a quarter of it and flatten to the bottom of the buttered pan and I would do the rest of the recipe with the remaining dough. In that way I could prevent the leaking of the filling.

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Great idea!

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almost 3 years ago misslofox

What a great recipe! I'm planning on making it at a Valentine's Day brunch I'm hosting in February. Do you have an olive oil you can recommend? I've never heard of one that's "fruity!" :)

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Great question! Actually most good quality olive oil has some fruitiness to it. They also tend to have a lovely greenish tinge. If you live near a Williams Sonoma - or often other cooking stores too - they usually let you taste a whole line up and you can compare. But, overall, I'd say you don't have to worry too much about finding the very finest olive oil for these buns, just don't use low quality olive oil.

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over 2 years ago misslofox

Great to know. Thank you!

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almost 3 years ago Helen Rennie

Finally -- an eggless sticky bun! Thank you so much for this recipe. my 1 year old is allergic to eggs, so I am always on the look out for eggless breakfast dishes. I also have a question about measuring flour. Would you happen to know how many ounces are in Chang's cup of flour? 5oz per cup seems to be a more common conversion, but I noticed that many bread people, like Reinhardt use a 4.5oz per cup conversion. I find that I get much more consistent results when weighing flour, so I thought I'd ask.

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Hi Helen, if you make them I hope you like them! I think you won't find you miss the egg at all! With regards to flour weights, I don't know what weight the cups should be (as I said in response to another comment, I haven't switched over yet - I'm a slow adopter, even though I know I ought!). But, the thing with bread baking is, a lot of it is by feel, and flour quantity can be affected a lot even by the moisture in the air. So, I would start with the 4.5 oz per cup, and if the dough seems way too sticky, keep adding more flour until it comes together into a silky dough as it's kneaded. But, it should still be very slightly tacky - one of the biggest mistakes people make in bread baking (at least according to my friend Bea Ojakangas who is an amazing baker) is making their dough too dry.

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almost 3 years ago mksgurl1

Oh My these look amazing ....definitly making for christmas morning

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Sorry I missed your comment! We've been traveling. I hope you enjoyed them!

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almost 3 years ago ChefSteadfastMT

WOW! A-Amazing! Just had them today:)! Was home all day today and saw this recipe a bit ago and been thinking about making them. So today I took the plunge and they were amazing!!! Very sweet and the flavors blended so well together!! The method is a bit similar to Swedish Kanelbulle (Cinnamon Buns) so be on the lookout because I will upload that recipe up soon and those are delish too!

I really loved the way the filling sort of caramelized! Oh and for those who don't have access to buttermilk like those of us in Sweden please use natural yoghurt or sour cream for the topping! It worked out perfectly for me! Goodness I wish we had a thing to upload pics of the recipes we tried and how they turned out (Food for thought Food52;)!

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

That's fabulous! So glad you enjoyed them. They are a bit similar to Kanelbulle, certainly, and just as nice for coffee time! Sour cream definitely is a great substitute for buttermilk in the topping. You could also use kefir (do you call it that in Swedish? In Norway we call it either kefir or kulturmelk) which is similar to buttermilk, but I kind of bet sour cream would be even better.

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almost 3 years ago MariceAE

Would Greek yoghurt be interchangeable with the sour cream?

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I would think so. I often use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream (though not the non-fat kind, which has a bit too sharp an aftertaste for me).

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almost 3 years ago momcooks

Can I make these ahead and freeze them? Just trying to plan ahead for the Xmas morning crowds!

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

You definitely ought to be able to! You just freeze the rolled buns after their second rise, but before you bake them. Put them into the refrigerator the afternoon of the day before (covered loosely with plastic) and let them thaw in there overnight (they'll rise a bit too). Then, in the morning, bring them closer to room temp while the oven preheats, then bake adding about 5 or so extra minutes to the baking time.

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almost 3 years ago DanP

5nSpice .. we've gone a bit scale crazy lately and are always doing the conversion of cups to grams because we just don't get the eyeballing right doing cups alone. You always have such wonderful recipes, would you add the grams conversion to your recipes?

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Hi Dan! I suppose this will expose me as the baking dilletante I actually am, but I still don't generally bake with a scale. I only just got one very recently and am growing accustomed to it. But, I still tend to think and experiment in cup quantities, if you know what I mean, even though the scale is sooo much more accurate. However, as I get used to it, I will try to include gram conversions, and go back and add gram conversions to my already existing recipes as much as is feasible with the time I have. Thanks for the great suggestion.

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almost 3 years ago Midge

Just seeing these. They look amazing! On my list to try.

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you Midge! I hope you enjoy them if you give them a try!

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almost 3 years ago Panfusine

Sounds Divine... My kids would LOVE this!

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks Panfusine! I hope you make them for them! :)

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almost 3 years ago Panfusine

My treat for them this weekend..

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almost 3 years ago gingerroot

Wow! These sound amazing, fiveandspice. I love the flavors you have here, and the journey of how you decided to use them.

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks gingerroot! They came out really nicely! Especially after such a wending mental journey to get there - you definitely know how that goes! :)

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almost 3 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I love your play on brighter flavors than the traditional ooey gooey (not that there's anything totally wrong with ooey gooey) ones.

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks Boulangere! I agree, nothing wrong with ooey gooey, but quite fun to switch up the flavors of your ooey gooey! :) And I have a pretty photo too, but now I can't figure out how to add it, since the recipe is already published. Aiaiai. Technology.

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almost 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Another beautiful FiveNSpice recipe! Looks like 'tis the season to master the sticky bun ...

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

'Tis indeed! Thanks aargersi!

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almost 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I love the addition of the buttermilk in the filling! I considered adding some milk to mine, but decided not to in the end. But buttermilk sounds perfect! And I really like the oil in it too. I made some apple cakes recently for a bake sale that had quite a bit of oil in them, and really liked the flavor and texture. I'm glad you posted this! Happy Thanksgiving!

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almost 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thank you CS! I agree, olive oil gives really lovely flavor and texture to sweet baked goods.