We often talk about how our lives, as kids, were so uncomplicated...so simple and carefree...But then again, as I watch my toddler grow and develop his own opinions, feelings and fears, I realize a child's mind is SO much more complex!
How else does one explain his strategies for managing his fear of the Fat King Chair? - a name he coined - having associated the chair with one of our bedtime reads - Fat King, Thin Dog. It is a simple illustrated book in which a Fat King becomes thin after running after his Thin Dog "for many days".
Now the Fat King Chair refers to two fairly large wooden chairs which are placed near our dining table at home. There is absolutely no resemblance to anything in the book, yet my son has managed to create some form of an association. Nothing intimidating about the chair - yet he has managed to develop a fear of it.
So much, that he would much rather take the longer route around the dining table than walk past these chairs. If he has no choice but to go near the Fat King Chair, he makes sure I am seated on it.
And this happens every single day, much to our amusement. The most endearing part, though, is that he has not one, but two strategies to deal with the chair!
As I write this, I realize, we grown ups, too have our Fat King Chair moments - moments when for no apparent reason, we tend get intimidated by situations and our surroundings.
This was my case with these amazing Coffee Buns, popularized by Papparoti across the world. I was so fascinated the first time I tried these buns, that I got my hands on the recipe almost immediately....and carried it around for almost a year because I was too nervous to even try!
For those of you haven't tried Papparoti as yet. it's an amazing mastery of bread and butter - served with a crisp exterior while soft and warm with a melting blob of butter on the inside!
This recipe is quite long and time consuming. So attempt this recipe on a day you have time for yourself. The original recipe says it yields 22, but I got 20 decently sized buns. You don't need to bake all of them at once. Once the buns are shaped and ready for the final rise, keep aside the buns you want to bake and freeze the rest.
The final result was a proud moment of success! The buns were not as sweet as the original, yet they tasted great and had the perfect texture.
So make, eat and enjoy - don't complain about the calories of this one - take a lesson from the Fat King...and RUN!
For the Pre-dough
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup bread flour
For the sponge dough
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons caster sugar
3/4-1 cup warm water
For the final dough
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter ( room temp)
1/2 teaspoon vital wheat gluten – I omitted this
1 1/2 eggs
2 crushed ice cubes
1 3/4 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon liquid honey
4 tablespoons powdered milk or 4 tablespoons dry buttermilk
For the filling
170 g salted butter, cut into 22 pieces
Place the cut pieces in freezer until needed
For the topping
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temp)
1 cup minus 2 tbs icing sugar
4 teaspoons instant coffee
1 tablespoon hot water
1 1/2 eggs
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons powdered milk
- Heat Water on stove over high heat until hot (does not have to be boiling, just close to it).
- Turn heat down to low and add flour and stir till well combined.
- Place in bowl, covered with plastic wrap and leave in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- Add all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and knead for 6 minutes. The dough should be a very soft dough--it is ok if it is sticky.
- Shape into a ball, and cover bowl with plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel and leave to rest in a warm place for 90 minutes to rise
- Add the caster sugar, salt, milk powder, and vital wheat gluten and knead another 30 seconds.
- Add the eggs, honey, and crushed ice and knead for a minute.
- Add the bread flour and knead for a minute.
- Add the butter and knead for about 10 minutes until elastic--you may need to add bread flour if it is too sticky. If you are kneading using your standing mixer, then use your hands to do the final kneading. Alternate between kneading and throwing the dough down on to the work surface to get an elastic and less sticky dough.
- Shape into a ball, place back into the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Grease your hands with some butter or oil, and divide the dough into 20 -22 pieces. Tip: Weigh each portion to ensure you get similar sized buns approx. 55 g each
- Shape a piece into a ball, flatten a bit, and add a piece of butter.
- Pinch the dough over the butter and roll back into a ball.
- Flatten to 1/2 inch and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper (place the side that you pinch up over the butter facing down). Tip: At this point, you can freeze the buns to be baked later. You will need to thaw the frozen buns completely at room temperature and let them rise – this may take around 2-3 hours.
- Cover with damp kitchen towel and leave to rest/rise for 45-50 minutes.
- About 15 minutes before it is done resting/rising, pre-heat your oven to 180 C.
- Dissolve the instant coffee with the hot water.
- With an electric mixer on low, beat the butter, icing sugar and coffee for 30 seconds to a minute till mixed and smooth.
- Add the eggs and beat for another 30 seconds.
- Add the flour and milk powder slowly and beat on low for 30 seconds and then on high for another minute or so until mixed well.
- Take a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle and fill with the topping mixture.
- Pipe the filling on top of each bun in a twirly circular pattern starting from the outer edge of the bun so that it coats the bun completely upon baking. Ideally only the golden topping should be seen - my frosting was not perfect which is why you can see some white spots - lesson learned for next time!. Tip: Do not go overboard with the topping – else the outside will not become crisp after baking.
- Bake for around 18 min, or until lightly golden brown.
- Take out and place on cooling rack -- but you only need to let them rest there for a minute or two -- the topping will still be slightly soft, but will get more crisp as it sits outside the oven.