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SPICED SWEET POTATO BUNS

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SPICED SWEET POTATO BUNS

danielle copperman

My thing during sixth form was cinnamon swirls. Not my thing as in the one thing i excelled in baking and therefore made it all the time. But my thing as in, whenever i passed a bakery, i would leave with one. I loved the comforting cinnamon flavour and the sweetness of the filling, hidden and tucked tantalisingly between layers of flakey, buttery pastry. These pastries also remind me of my mum. If we had to go food shopping on the way home from school or after work, we'd often pass the bakery aisle first to keep us going throughout the tiring ordeal that is grocery shopping and aisle lapping.

The recipe below is something slightly different to the flakey croissants mentioned above. These are more similar in consistency to cinnamon buns, iced buns and sweet buns in general. You like the sound of that don't you, I can tell. You can all ready smell the cinnamon filling your kitchen and suspiciously steaming up your windows. 

The sweet potato in this dough really adds something to the texture, once baked. I never thought i'd have so much to say about a ball of dough, but it also adds a caramely flavour, and a whole lot of extra goodness. They are high in magnesium, iron, carotenoids, vitamin D and plenty of other vitamins and minerals. What's more, using them in this recipe means less packaged sugar/syrup is required, keeping it even closer to nature, and even gentler on your blood sugar levels. For the fillings, you can play around with whatever takes your fancy, making these healthier or more indulgent by adding/taking what you wish. My favourite combinations are cinnamon and coconut palm sugar, cardamom, ground almonds, vanilla and coconut palm sugar and homemade date caramel and raw chocolate.

BUN INGREDIENTS

2 Tablespoons Dry Yeast
1/2 Roasted Sweet Potato
3/4 Cup Solid Coconut Milk
2 Tablespoons Coconut Palm Sugar
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, divided
2 Cups Buckwheat Flour or Spelt Flour
Generous Pinch Himalayan Pink Salt

FILLING INGREDIENTS
1/2 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar/Raw Honey/Coconut Blossom Nectar
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon or Ground Cardamom (or a combination of your favourite spices
1-2 Tablespoons Ground Almonds, optional
1/3 Cup Chopped Raw Chocolate, optional
2 Tablespoons Homemade Blueberry Chia Jam, optional

MACADAMIA GLAZE

1 Cup Cashew or Macadamia nuts (or 1/2 cup of each, combined) (soaked)
1/4 Cup Almond milk or Coconut Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1-2 Teaspoons Agave/Coconut Blossom Nectar/Raw Honey
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Nutritional Yeast (gives a cream cheese kind of flavour)

METHOD

Start by greasing a round cake tin with coconut oil or lining it with baking paper. You can also make these into individual muffin sized buns, by lightly greasing large muffin cases, placing them on a baking tray though, rather than in a muffin tray which will restrict their expansion.

Measure out the yeast into a small bowl and set aside. Take a saucepan and combine the coconut milk, coconut oil, sugar and salt, mixing continuously on a medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Turn the heat down to the lowest it will go, and continue to stir. The mixture should be warm but not hot or boiling. When it is cool enough, pour the milk mixture into the bowl with the yeast. Stir to combine and break down any clumps that may form. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.

Measure out the flour in a large bowl and then add the milky yeast mixture. Stir, using a wooden spoon, until the dough comes together and becomes too elasticated to work with a spoon. At this point, flour a clean surface and knead the dough until it becomes smooth and is no longer sticky. You may need to keep adding flour, so do whatever feels right. Place the dough back into your bowl (clean and dry it first) then cover it with cling film. Leave it in a warm, dark place for 40 minute to 1 hour, to let it grow.

Re-dust your surface with more flour and roll the dough out into a rounded rectangle. Spread the coconut oil over the middle of the surface, leaving a slight gap around the edges. Sprinkle on your spices of choice along with the coconut palm sugar or natural syrup of choice. Add your chopped chocolate or berries and any other fillings (see suggestions below).

Roll the dough, starting with the short edge nearest to you. Roll the dough completely up all over the filling until it comes to a close and meets the other end. Once sealed, slice the roll into pieces about 2 inches thick. Take each individual bun and place them side by side, touching, in the prepared cake tin. If using individual muffin cases, place them into each one and arrange them on a baking tray. If you haven't time to spare, place them into the oven now (see below). Ideally, you should cover the dish in cling film once more and return it to your warm place of choice for another 20-40 minutes, so it will rise even more, which will result in more doughy, wholesome buns.

Preheat your oven to 185c and place the buns inside for 18-25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown and crisp slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before covering with macadam glaze (or choose an alternative from the suggestions below). For the glaze, simply combine all of the ingredients in a blender, blend for 2-3 minutes, until smooth, strain through a sieve and pour over the buns. Serve warm, with ice cold nut milk or fresh mint tea.

FILLING COMBINATIONS

  • Cinnamon and Coconut Palm Sugar

  • Raw Cacao Chunks or Powder and Blueberry Chia Jam 

  • Ground and Chopped Pecans and Good Quality Organic Maple Syrup

  • Cinnamon, Coconut Oil and Cacao Paste or Chopped Raw Chocolate

  • Chopped Fruit and Cinnamon with Agave or Coconut Blossom Nectar

  • Almond, Cashew or Macadamia Nut Butter and Cinnamon with Blueberries

  • Wilted Spinach or Homemade Pesto with Cashew Cheese

  • Cardamom, Vanilla and Coconut Palm Sugar

  • Homemade Date Paste/Caramel and Raw Chocolate Chunks

  • Cardamom and Grated Fresh Ginger

GLAZE SUGGESTIONS

  • Cashew Cream
  • Macadamia Single Cream
  • Coconut Cream Frosting
  • Simple Melted Creamed Coconut Bar
  • Chestnut Tahini Frosting
  • Smooth Tahini and Agave
  • Avocado White Chocolate Frosting
  • Raw Chocolate Sauce
  • Raw Chocolate & Agave Glaze with Coconut Palm Blossom and Cashew Nut Crumbs
  • Almond Single Cream
  • Coconut Whipped Cream
  • Coconut Single Cream