Fact: One of the best parts about cooking is the fun in feeding others.
Fact: Being able to excite people using only your culinary creativity is immensely rewarding.
Fiction: You have to be a pro in order to impress others with foodz.
Have you ever stared into a pastry case, wiped the drool from your chin, and assumed, “Wow…I could never make something like that.”
If so, you be wrong.
Since sharing food is such a fulfilling and integral part of cooking (and also baking) I’m happily giving you my step-by-step recipe for Lemon Lavender Poppyseed Morning Buns, complete with photos! This way, you, yes you, can create something truly spectacular without having to spend a pretty penny (or like ten trillion) on culinary school.
It’s like Christmas in April. These fluffy, flaky morning buns contain the perfect amount of sweetness inside. And screw just munching on them for breakfast; consider them your new go-to afternoon, evening, and late night buns. Because we all love a little late night bun-action. Amiright?
Buttery, flaky dough gets rolled out and folded to create a beautiful laminated pastry that gets stuffed with a citrusy, floral crunchy sugar filling. Each lovely little bun gets topped with a sweet, tart lemon slice sprinkled with sugar and lavender. It’s like the cherry on top- except uh, it’s a lemon. Different fruit altogether.
This is your Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Baking Galaxy. Use it, abuse it, or just drool over it.
Lemon Lavender Poppyseed Morning Buns
Makes 6 large buns or 12 small buns
For the dough:
- 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups butter, cold (straight from the fridge)
- 4 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
- 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast, divided
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water (*water must be between 105-115 degrees, so if it’s room temp water, try heating in microwave for about 20 seconds)
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup warm whole milk (*must be between 105-115 degrees)
For the filling:
- 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- zest of two lemons
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- pinch of dried lavender (if you’re lacking this, don’t cry and go on a wild flower picking bonanza– just omit)
For the sugared lemon slices topping:
- 2 cups white sugar, plus more for dusting
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 small lemons, sliced very thinly
- Combine 6 tablespoons all purpose flour with 1 1/4 cups cold butter in an electric mixer with the pedal-attachment. Start out at low speed and increase gradually to medium, whipping the butter and flour together until they become creamy (no lumps, mkay?) Once it’s done (about the consistency of cold frosting), turn out onto a floured piece of parchment paper and set on the counter. You want it become room temperature. Scrape the butter-flour mixture as best you can from the mixing bowl but no need to wash it. Set the “dirty” mixing bowl aside and forget about this butter mixture until you’re ready to roll the dough out (see step 5). This is what the mixture should look like:
2. While the butter is doing its thang, grab a different, clean bowl and mix together 2 cups of bread flour, 1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast, and the 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of warm water with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. Cover with a towel and let rest for 20 minutes.
3. Once done resting, place this “shaggy” dough inside the “dirty” mixing bowl that had the butter-flour mixture in it before. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups of the bread flour, remaining 2 teaspoons of dry active yeast, 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 3/4 cup warm milk. Switch to the dough hook attachment and begin mixing at low speed, scraping the bottom to incorporate the rest of the flour if necessary. Once a dough starts to form, increase speed to medium and let it knead for about 5 minutes. Dough should be sticky but still pull away from the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
4. On a heavily floured large working surface (I covered my dining room table with long pieces of parchment paper for this), turn out dough ball and sprinkle with more flour.
Don’t worry if it ain’t perfect (mine sure as hell wasn’t). Next, use a rolling pin and start from the middle to gentle roll dough out so it’s about 10″ wide. Roll (again, starting from the middle and fanning out as well as keeping the top and bottom dusted generously with flour) up and down until your dough is about 32″ long. When done, you should be looking at a large long sheet of dough 10″ wide and 32″ long. I cut a bit of the edges off the top and bottom with a super sharp knife so it would be more even.
6. Next, take your fingers to smooth it all over (sort of like slathering sunscreen on someone’s back…yum right?) and even all the way out to the edges. The sheet should be covered with the butter-flour mixture:
7. Next, use a spatula to gently lift the bottom of the dough and working up towards to the top, fold over 5 times. You will end up with a 10″ wide and about 5-6″ long dough log. Use your hands to turn the dough log 90 degrees so now the dough is about 10″ LONG and 5-6″ WIDE. Take a sharp knife and poke a few holes all over to prevent air bubbles from poppin’ up.
8. Flour the dough yet again and roll out again (starting from the middle and fanning out) until it’s again 32″ in length. Keep the 6″ width, though- I cut a bit of the edges off the top and bottom with a super sharp knife so it would be more even.
9. Meanwhile, you can make the sugared lemon slices for the topping! Combine 2 cups of the white sugar with 1 1/2 cups of water in a wide pot and bring to a simmer. Add lemon slices in a single layer and let simmer gently for 12-15 minutes, until lemon peels look a bit translucent. When done, remove lemon slices (making sure to drain off excess dripping sugar-water) and place on a piece of parchment paper. Let dry on the counter, uncovered, for 24 hours. When done, dip in more sugar for a pretty sparkly dust. You can keep the lemony sugar-water and use it as syrup for pancakes, yogurt, or anything else your heart desires.
10. Back to the dough!!! When the dough is done chilling, take it out of the fridge. Then quickly mix up the filling by combining 1/4 cup poppy seeds, 1/2 cup brown sugar, zest of two lemons, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and a pinch of dried lavender. Again, if you don’t have any dried lavender, don’t freak out– just omit and carry on.
11. Transfer dough onto a floured surface and roll out again (I know, I know, you want to kill me) to be 18″ long and 10″ wide (but you should know the drill by now ;). Sprinkle the filling mixture over the large sheet of rolled out dough.
Then use your hands to roll the sheet lengthwise into a long log (so it’s still 18″ but it’s now rounded). Use a sharp serrated knife to cut down evenly into 6 or 12 pieces (depending on the size and amount of buns you want). Grease the muffin tin generously and then place 1 bun inside each muffin cup. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 1/2 hours. They will puff up and just about double themselves.
12. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F!
13. Bake buns for 30 minutes (if they’re browning too quickly, slap a sheet of tin foil over them or simply lower the temp slightly for the last 10-15 mins). Remove and top each bun with a candied lemon slice and serve.