Coconut Buns

I do a lot of practical baking, but then I sometimes see these recipes that are purely for pleasure and they look so enticing, and I’m so curious about how they will turn out that I can’t shake it out of my head until I make it. This is one of those. I was collecting recipes for a class I was teaching when I came across it, and I had never heard or thought of this idea–a cinnamon bun with a coconut mixture. But it sounded so great, and really, after making it, it was so great. So, here’s a fun way to spend a weekend morning if you find yourself being a little homebound lately! I found the recipe in a Bake Magazine from Spring 2018.

Coconut Buns 
Makes 12
Recipe by Ben Mims

  • 1¼ c. (300 grams) warm unsweetened canned coconut milk (120°F/48°C to 130°F/54°C)
  • ⅓ c. (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 T. (28 grams) unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1 t. (3 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 large egg (50 grams), lightly beaten
  • 4 c. (500 grams) all-purpose flour (I replaced 1 1/2 c. with whole wheat)
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) package (7 grams) instant yeast (2 1/4 t.)
  • ½ c. (25 grams) unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Coconut Filling (recipe follows)
  • Coconut Icing (recipe follows)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine warm coconut milk, sugar, melted coconut oil, salt, and egg. Add flour and yeast, and beat at low speed until a dough forms. Increase mixer speed to medium, and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, about 1½ hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spread coconut flakes on a baking sheet, and bake, stirring halfway through, until lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer coconut to a bowl, and let cool completely. Lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking pan with butter.
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Roll into an 18×12-inch rectangle. Spread Coconut Filling over dough, leaving a ½-inch border on one long side. Starting with opposite long side, roll dough into a tight log. Trim ends, and cut into 12 rounds. Transfer rounds, cut side up, to prepared pan, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight (or let rolls rise at room temperature for 1½ hours).
  4. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  5. Uncover rolls, and bake until puffed and golden brown throughout, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Drizzle with Coconut Icing while still warm, and sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes before serving.

Coconut Filling

  • 1 c. (84 grams) finely shredded dried (desiccated) coconut
  • 1 c. (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ c. (110 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 c. (360 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 t. (4 grams) coconut extract
  • 1 t. (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • ½ t. (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spread coconut on a baking sheet, and bake, stirring halfway through, until lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and let cool completely.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, extracts, and salt; beat until smooth. Reserve ½ cup filling for Coconut Icing. Stir toasted coconut into remaining filling. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Coconut Icing

  • ½ cup Coconut Filling (recipe precedes)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) unsweetened canned coconut milk
  1. In a small bowl, stir together Coconut Filling and coconut milk. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.