I've 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 flavor. 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 teaspoon of orange zest to the dough, and replace a little of the buttermilk in the glaze with orange blossom water to taste. —fiveandspice
These delicious buns are wonderful. You'd never know that the dough was originally focaccia. Work quickly when cutting the buns since the filling is quite liquidy 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