Welcome everyone, to A Common Kitchen! This blog has been something that I have wanted to create for a very long time and I cannot be happier that it has finally commenced. I have always had a passion for cooking, baking, and all things food. I started this blog to categorize and share my gastronomical journey with all of you.
Since this is my first post, I want to tell everyone a little bit about myself. My name is Bella, I am twenty-one, and currently live in Utah. I currently have a full-time job so my blog is a side hobby. The ultimate goal is to one day have my blog as my full-time job.
I have no formal training in the culinary arts but I have been in the kitchen since I was able to walk. My mother and grandmother always let me help around the holidays and I often offered to cook the entire family breakfast, lunch, and dinner, even though I wasn't tall enough to see the top of the counters. Once I moved out from my mothers house, cooking and baking became a hobby that I barely had time for.
There were often long periods when I was unable to cook or bake and I always felt remorse. However, I now have my own kitchen and have not stopped spending as much time as possible in it since. I don't have any specialties in the kitchen, I love equally to cook and bake. Both are challenging in their own ways and as you will learn about me, I have always loved a challenge. Thank you so much for visiting A Common Kitchen, I hope you continue to return.
Now let's talk about these Vietnamese Coffee Buns. These are inspired by, of course, classic Vietnamese coffee. Espresso, served hot or cold, with sweetened condensed milk to sweeten.
Whenever I go out and get Phở, one of my favorite Vietnamese dishes, I always get a Vietnamese Iced Coffee. The espresso is always strong and the sweetened condensed milk lightens it up perfectly. I got the idea when I was eating a cinnamon roll and drinking a cup of coffee and thought, "Why aren't these two things combined?!", and with that, the Vietnamese Coffee Bun was born.
Honestly, Jacob and I have eaten two of these a day since I made them. They are that delicious. They are the perfect balance of coffee flavor, sweetness, and fluffiness. This recipe is sublime, to say the least. Once they are in the oven, the smell of coffee and butter fills the room. I was barely able to restrain myself from eating one straight out of the oven.
For the rolls I used the dough from King Arthur Flour's Soft Cinnamon Rolls Recipe. Their recipe uses the "tangzhong method" which is a method that starts with a flour and water roux that you heat in a pan and add to yeast doughs. It makes the dough extremely tender and supposedly allows for a longer shelf life. I haven't been able to test the longer-shelf-life theory because they never last more than a couple days! The filling is simple, butter, brown sugar, espresso powder, and a pinch of salt. The coffee flavor is subtle, so feel free to add more or less espresso powder depending on your personal taste. The best part about the buns, however, is the frosting. It is extremely easy to make and only requires three ingredients. Butter, sweetened condensed milk, and salt (of course). These buns are perfect for breakfast, an afternoon treat, dessert... midnight snacks... These Vietnamese Coffee Buns will not disappoint.
Vietnamese Coffee Buns
For the Dough (from King Arthur Flour)
5 Tablespoons Water
5 Tablespoons Whole Milk
3 Tablespoons + 1 Teaspoon Flour
For the rest of the Dough:
4 Cups + 2 Tablespoons Flour (I always use King Arthur's)
⅓ Cup Non-fat Dry Milk Powder
1 ¾ Teaspoons Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Instant Yeast
¾ Cup Milk, lukewarm
2 Large Eggs
6 Tablespoons Butter, melted
For the Filling
8 Tablespoons Butter, melted
3-4 Tablespoons Espresso Powder (NOT Instant Coffee granules)
1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
For the Frosting
1 Cup (16 Tablespoons) Butter, softened
1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
A Pinch of Salt
To make the dough: combine the tangzhong ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk until fully combined. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick, about one or two minutes. In the bowl of a standmixer, add tangzhong and the rest of the dough ingredients and using the dough hook attachment mix on low speed just until the ingredients come together. Cover the bowl and let rest for 10-20 minutes. Once rested, knead the dough in the standmixer on medium-low for another 10-20 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl (I used one tablespoon of softened butter). Cover and let rise for one hour.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, melt the butter and then add the espresso powder and mix until combined. The recipe calls for 3-4 tablespoons of espresso powder, but feel free to use more or less depending on the flavor intensity you would like. Once you have finished making the mixture, taste it and adjust. The espresso powder sometimes likes hold up into dry clumps but just keep mixing and it will come together. Next add the brown sugar and salt. Mix until combined. Set aside until ready to use.
Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it from bowl. Dust your working surface with a little bit of flour and using a rolling pin, start rolling the dough into a rectangle that is roughly 20x12 inches long. The exact size of the rectangle doesn't matter, you just want the dough to be ¼-½ inch thick.
Next, spread the filling mixture evenly over the entire rectangle, leaving about a 1/2 inch border on the longest the sides (the ones that are 20 inches long). Once you have the filling spread out, with the longest part of the dough (20 inches) parallel to you, start rolling the dough into a log. Once you finish, pinch the seam together and place the dough seam-side down on the counter. Using a sharp or serrated knife, cut the log into approximately 24 disks, about 1½ inches thick.
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the buns on the baking sheet about one inch apart. Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes. Once the buns have risen slightly, bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the buns are slightly browning. Remove from the oven and let cool. *Note* Once you take the buns out of the oven you will notice that the bottom of the pan will be coated with the gooey filling. Don't panic! This happens. The buns will actually absorb most of this as they cool.
To make the frosting: in the bowl of a standmixer, using the whisk attachment, whip the butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Slowly add in half the can of sweetened condensed milk. Once youve added half the can, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn the mixer back on and whip for about a minute. Now add the rest of the sweetened condensed milk and salt and whip on high for about a minute.
Once the buns have cooled completely, spread a healthy dollop of frosting on top and enjoy! You can frost all of the buns at once or if you plan on eating them over the course of couple days, leave them unfrosted in an airtight container. Transfer the frosting to an airtight container and frost as you go. These cinnamon rolls will stay good for about three-five days if kept in the refrigerator. When you want to eat one, heat it up (unfrosted) for 10 seconds in the microwave and frost!