I have found there to be something ritualistic and cathartic about making sticky buns on Christmas Eve.
The mix is prepared after the gifts are wrapped and everyone is in bed, and the sweet smell of dough rising and baking early in the morning somehow softens the chaos highly excited little people who have been magically visited by Santa.
These Christmas Sticky Buns have become a fond tradition in my house, and even though the kids are older now, the smell is looked forward to every year.
I hope your family loves this tradition as much as mine!
Sticky bun dough:
1 cup milk
1.5tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
65g butter, melted but not hot
3 cups high-grade flour
1/2 tsp salt
150g butter, softened but not melted
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup fruit mince
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 cup grated apple
2 tbsp mashed banana
25g soft butter
125g cream cheese
half lemon rind finely grated
Juice 1 lemon
2 cups icing sugar
Crushed freeze-dried raspberries
Prepare the fruit mince mixture - mix all ingredients and leave to soak overnight (or while dough is rising).
Place the milk in a small pot and heat gently until lukewarm (so it feels neutral to the touch when you dip your finger into it). Remove from the heat, sprinkle the yeast over the top and whisk lightly to disperse. Whisk in the sugar and allow to stand for 3 minutes. Add the slightly cooled melted butter and stir to combine.
Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the milk and butter mixture and stir until just combined. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and silky – about 60-100 kneading strokes. You can also mix the dough in a mixer with a dough hook, if you have one, for 5 minutes. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean cloth and leave to rise in a warm place until it has almost doubled in size - on Christmas Eve I leave this overnight in the airing cupboard, but if you were to do it during the day you can allow about 1 hour.
When risen, roll out to a 60 x 30cm rectangle on a lightly floured board.
To fill, brush the rolled dough liberally with the softened butter. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the butter. Carefully spread the fruit mince on the top 1/3 of the dough rectangle.
Roll the dough up tightly along the longest edge into a cylinder shape. Cut into slices about 4cm wide. You should have about 20 scrolls.
Line the base of a 28-30cm round cake tin with baking paper. Arrange the scrolls in the lined cake tin, allowing 1-2cm between them. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place (not hot or the butter will melt) for 20 minutes.
While the scrolls are rising, preheat the oven to 220˚C.
Once scrolls have risen take the second serve (25g) of soft butter and carefully spread on top of each scroll.
Bake scrolls for 12-15 minutes until golden and cooked through.
To make the Christmas frosting, beat cream cheese until soft, add soft butter, and lemon rind, and mix again, slowly add icing sugar and lemon juice and beat until soft and creamy.
Let the scrolls cool until soft and slightly warm, top with frosting, and sprinkle with crushed freeze-dried raspberries.