Sweet Buns – [Coconut Filled Milk Buns]

This weekend I wanted to attempt baking some buns for Easter.  Over the past couple week I’ve been craving some Chinese cocktail buns, but haven’t been able to grab any due to the quarantine.  So instead of making some savory buns for Easter, I decided to bake some milk buns filled with a sweet coconut filling.  I did a bit of researching online to understand what goes into a Chinese cocktail bun, and realized I wouldn’t be able to make a traditional version because I was missing bread flour and heavy cream.  So I’ve adjusted the recipe slightly and made the dough with all purpose flour and milk instead.  I also formed the dough into round buns in a tray versus the traditional oval shaped Chinese cocktail buns.  I only have a 8″ x 8″ square pan right now, so I had to squish 9 of them in there and the remainder of buns went into a bread tray.  If you do have a 9″ x 13″ rectangle pan definitely use that!

I’m happy with how the buns turned out and the ratio of filling to bread!  I would’ve just brushed the buns in the middle a bit more with the egg wash to get that golden brown colour.  I’ll definitely be re-making these sweet milk buns again and look to stuff them with a savoury filling… Chicken Curry or Chinese BBQ Pork? Mmhmm!

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RECIPE (12 buns for 9″ x 13 ” tray)

SWEET MILK DOUGH:
2 1/4  teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 cup milk, warm
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 – 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten

COCONUT FILLING:
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut

BUN TOPPING TO BRUSH:
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon sugar, melted with 1 tablespoon hot water

SPRINKLE: active yeast into a bowl with sugar and pour in warm milk – stir and let it sit for 5 minutes.

BLEND: in salt and only 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour until dough is incorporated.  Add in 1/4 cup of room temperate butter until blended and then add in the beaten egg and mix until the mixture forms a sticky, wet dough.  Start kneading the dough (I used a Kitchen-Aid mixer with the dough hook) for 10 minutes, gradually adding the remaining 3/4 cup of flour as needed.

OIL: the dough slightly to coat.

COVER: with a damp towel and let rise for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in bulk.

CREAM (COCONUT FILLING): together room temperate butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, and stir in flour, dry milk powder and the shredded coconut until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Wrap the bowl and set the filling aside in the refrigerator.

PUNCH: down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board and knead for 2 minutes.  Cut dough into 12 pieces total.  Roll out the dough into a circle and add a little over 1 tablespoon of the coconut filling into the center of the dough.  Fold and pinch the edges of the dough together to enclose the filling in the bun.  Repeat with all the dough pieces and place the filled buns onto parchment paper in the prepared pan.

COVER: again with a damp towel and allow to rise for another 45 min to 1 hour.

PREHEAT: oven to 375F

BEAT: the 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water, then gently brush mixture over each bun.

BAKE: at 375 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes until tops are golden brown.  While waiting for buns to bake, make the sugar syrup and brush the buns right after removing them from the oven.  Cool on wire rack until serving.

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