Pull Apart Coconut Buns

Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food
Coconut Buns (Cocktail Buns) - Eat Cho Food

You see that first photo up there? That’s actually a selfie I took this weekend, because I’ve most literally turned into a bun and got a nice tan. Jkkkkk, I just ate a lot of buns the last few days for the sake of “research” and feel very bun-like. I definitely didn’t get a tan because I’ve been mostly indoors since… forever. This weekend has been all sorts of wonderful and all sorts of crazy. My office gave me 2 days to work from home and bake a cake! Like, what?! I’ve been slaving away on this Great British Baking Show Final Showstopper caliber cake that’s inspired by the designs our office created for a recent project. The cake will be part of one of our quarterly publications! I just finished it and I’m actually pretty happy with it! My coworker, Paulina, is an incredible graphic designer and the design of this cake was actually inspired by her work. I made her wedding cake too, which was also inspired by the graphics she created for her invites. So pretty much Paulina and I should start a graphic cake business! Ah, I wish! There was a moment during the decorating process when my buttercream was being weird and kept breaking and I though I was going to melt into one of my crying puddles, but then it somehow worked out! Hooray! If you just push through the butter and tears, things will work out.

(Maybe my tendency to cry all the time is what prevented me from making it on the Great American Baking Show?????? How would the producers know that about me though? Oh, whatever… I’m over it. Stop talking to yourself, there’s still people reading your blog.)

I can’t wait to share the final cake with you! Hopefully that will happen soon.

When I wasn’t working on this crazy cake, Reuben and I got to finally spend some quality time together. It seemed like we barely saw each other for what felt like eons because I was working overtime a bunch and Reuben was gone on his man ski trip. We took advantage of our weekend and got to relax, be lazy, make plans for Italy (we leave in a month!!!!! Holy, meatballs.), eat lots of buns, and squeeze in a little brewery pit stop. There was a cat named Matcha at the brewery we stopped at. I stalked the cat. If you watched my Instagram stories over the weekend you already know it was pretty much the highlight of my whole weekend. Gosh, I loved Matcha. I desperately need a small animal in my life I can name Black Sesame or Noodle.

Should we discuss these buns now? Last week I shared those lovely Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns and I was overwhelmed by how many people related to them and also considered them a childhood favorite! I would love it if you share with me your Chinese Bakery favorites! I’ll try to make them! This week, I’m sharing another one of my favorites (I have a lot of favorites…)! You might know them as Coconut Buns, Cocktail Buns, or Gai Mei Bao. These buns have a fluffy milk bread base and then filled with a sweet coconut and slightly milky filling. Its made all shiny with a simple syrup glaze, which gives it just a little extra kiss of sweetness. The coconut filling is the best part of the bun! I should eat that stuff straight! Don’t though because there is raw flour in it and it needs to be cooked a bit haha, but you get the point. It’s delicious. The ratio of filling to bun in this recipe is a little higher than what you would find at an actual bakery, but this is my kitchen and I can do what I want! You may notice that the milk bread base is this recipe is different than the Hot Dog Flower Buns, and that is because I’m still experimenting with all the various milk bread techniques. Don’t worry though, they all taste good! Typically you would find Coconut Buns as individual buns, but I wanted to turn them into a shareable/pull apart situation because why the hell not? There is always something about tearing your food apart with your hands that make it taste better. The pull apart nature of this recipe also makes this a great option for your weekend brunch table too! Yay for friends tearing apart buns!


Pull Apart Coconut Buns

makes 11 buns in a 8” round pan

dough materials:

1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup warm milk
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup bread flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt

coconut filling materials:

6 tbsp softened butter
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup dried milk powder
1/2 cup finely shredded coconut

1 egg + 1 tbsp water - egg wash
sesame seeds - for topping (optional)
1/4 cup water + 1/4 cup white sugar - syrup glaze (optional)

steps:

  1. Combine heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cornstarch, flours, yeast, and salt in the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix at medium speed (speed setting 4 for KitchenAid) for 15 minutes until a smooth and slightly sticky dough is formed. Stop to scrape down the sides every few minutes. If the dough sticks to the sides, sprinkle a little bit of flour after scraping to help it not stick. Once dough is formed, place in a large bowl lightly greased with oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 90 minutes. The dough will grow 1.5x from its original size.

  2. While is resting, make the coconut filling. Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix with a spoon or rubber spatula until just combined. Set aside.

  3. Scrape out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 11 equal pieces. Roll out the dough into a roughly 3” circle. Add a tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough round. Fold the dough around the filling and pinch the dough together to close. Quickly roll again to form a smooth ball. Place dough in a greased 8” springform pan. Repeat with remaining dough and fill the springform pan. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for another 45 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the tops of the buns with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp water) and sprinkle each bun with a few sesame seeds if using. Bake for 28-30 minutes on the center rack until golden brown and cooked through.

  5. A few minutes before taking the buns out of the oven, combine 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar in a small sauce pan and cook on medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove buns from the oven and immediately brush the syrup glaze over the buns. Allow buns to cool in the springform pan for 10 minutes. Remove buns from the springform pan and cool on a wire rack until ready to eat!

notes :

  1. Buns are best fresh out of the oven. After a few hours or days the bread will feel a little hard. You can just microwave the buns for 15-25 seconds and they will be fluffy again!

  2. If you only have active yeast, you can add it to the warm milk with a pinch of sugar and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. It should be have a few bubbles on the surface.

Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns

Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns
Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns // https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/2/24/chinese-bakery-style-hot-dog-flower-buns

I have had the the whole apartment to myself aaaaaalllll weekend long! Reuben is away again for… you guessed it… a ski trip. He does love to ski, that man. He’s been in Montana with a bunch of other men, doing manly things. Man Mountain Ski Trip. It’s been nice to have the place to myself because I end up being super productive. You can get a lot of stuff done when there isn’t a person around trying to hug you all the time or get you to look at yet another adorable mini pig video. The upside of being alone is that I have a ton of great recipes to share with y’all in the next month. Downside to being left alone is that I turn into this weird workaholic and end up literally working from 7am to 11 pm, with maybe a few breaks in between to watch some Netflix while my bun dough is proofing. I also end up not eating any real meals…. I didn’t have another person around to feed nutritious meals, so I ended up just snacking on the recipes I developed or whatever I found in the kitchen. So I pretty much ate buns, more buns, a crappy frozen pizza, a few bites of tres leches cake (recipe is coming soon and it is INSANE), and a lot of popcorn. SO MUCH POPCORN. Wait. Am I turning into a college boy?!!!!! I need a vegetable. I did have an excellent matcha latte on Sunday though. That’s at least green. Oh! And there were scallions on the hot dog flower buns. That counts for something.

I wasn’t going to share these Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns (say that 3 times fast) for another few weeks, but I just loved them so much that I needed to share them with the world immediately! One thing that you may or may not know about me is that I LOVE hot dogs. And now that I’m thinking about it pretty much everyone that’s close to me also shares a love of the tubular meat. Or does everyone love hot dogs? During my sophomore year in college, I lived with 4 of my best girlfriends, and it was a great time! Just scratch out the crappy boyfriend I had at the time. All 5 of us shared a strange love of hot dogs (even Kate, who is like a health and beauty goddess!), so much so that we decided to celebrate Hot Dog Tuesday! Or was it Thursdays? I can’t really remember, but we definitely grilled hot dogs on Alex’s little George Foreman grill once a week. It was all hot dog dandy until one day we decided to also make corndogs as a sick play on dessert… because corndogs are a little sweet? IDK. That night we definitely over did it on the dogs, or maybe it was the sodium and nitrates? But after that we sort of lost the desire to eat hot dogs once a week. It was probably for the best. Huh, maybe I’ve just been eating like a college girl all weekend?? Anyways, the point is that I really enjoy hot dogs and like to figure out how to incorporate them into as many different recipes as possible. Reuben’s mom makes what I call a “lazy corn dog” and I am VERY into it.

Chinese bakeries are also something I’m very into! French bakeries get all the attention. They’re great, don’t get me wrong. I’d love to bite into a buttery and rich kouign amann everyday! But the first bakeries I remember going to were Chinese ones. They all had walls of plastic cases filled with fluffy buns, sponge cakes of all sorts of flavors, and tarts piled high with shiny glossy fruit. Cocktail Buns. Pineapple Buns. Taro Buns. Custard Buns. Hot Dog Buns. So many buns. I wanted to fill my plastic tray with as many buns as possible. Or as many as my mom would buy for me, I guess. The Hot Dog Bun (not like a traditional split bun for a hot dog) is so amazing because it’s a fully encased hot dog. Not like hot dogs could be even more portable and easy to eat. The salty hot dog is wrapped with a fluffy and slightly sweet milk bread and makes for the most perfect bite! The flower version taste no different than a classic fully wrapped Hot Dog Bun, but definitely makes for a more photogenic wiener. Sorry. It’s true though! Like look at these things! After the Rose Siu Mai, I think it’s my life mission to make as many foods in flower form as possible.


Chinese Bakery Style Hot Dog Flower Buns

makes 8 buns

milk bread recipe from A Common Table by Cynthia Chen McTernan from Two Red Bowls!

dough materials:
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 1/2 cups bread flour + more for dusting
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp unsalted butter - very soft

tangzhong (flour starter) materials:
6 tbsp water
2 tbsp bread flour

flower bun materials:

8 hot dogs
1 egg + 1 tbsp water - for egg wash
chopped scallion green - for topping
sesame seeds - for topping

1/4 cup water + 1/4 cup white sugar - syrup glaze (optional)

steps:

  1. Prepare the dough the night before or at least 2-3 hours before baking. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to a boil to scald the milk. About 1-2 minutes. Watch the milk carefully so it doesn’t boil over. Set milk aside to cool.

  2. To make the tangzhong, which is a flour starter that helps achieve a super fluffy dough, whisk together water and bread flour in a small saucepan over low heat. Continue to whisk until the mixture looks like a thick paste. About 2 minutes. Remove the tangzhong from the heat and scrape into a small bowl to cool to room temperature.

  3. In the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook, whisk together instant yeast, bread flour, sugar, and salt. In another bowl combine the milk, tangzhong, and egg until evenly mixed. Carefully pour the wet ingredients into the flour. Begin to knead on low and then increase to medium speed. Knead for 5 mins. Lightly dust with a bit of flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.

  4. Add one tablespoon of butter at a time to the dough while the mixer is still going. Sprinkle a bit more flour and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth .

  5. Place dough in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Let dough rest in the fridge overnight (8-24 hours) or out in a warm spot for 2 hours.

  6. After the first proof, scrap the dough out onto a clean kitchen surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel while forming. Roll out 1 piece of dough and roll it out into a roughly 3”x7” rectangle or blog. Place 1 hot dog in the center of the dough. Roll up the hot dog in the dough and pinch the seams closed. Cut the hotdog into 6 equal pieces. Arrange the 6 pieces in the shape of a flower - 1 piece in the center with 5 petals. Place the hot dog flower on a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with remaining buns. Cover hot dog flower buns with a damp kitchen towel and allow to proof one last time for 40-60 minutes.

  7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Brush the buns with egg wash and top with chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

  8. While the buns are baking, make your syrup glaze. Boil water and sugar for 1-2 minutes. Brush the sugar glaze on the baked buns as soon as they come out of the oven.

  9. Allow the buns to cool for a few minutes and then enjoy!

notes :

  1. Buns are best fresh out of the oven. After a few hours or days the bread will feel a little hard. You can just microwave the buns for 20-30 seconds and they will be fluffy again!

  2. If you only have active yeast, you can add it to the warm milk with a pinch of sugar and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. It should be have a few bubbles on the surface.

Blood Orange and Mint Lemonade

Easy and Simple Blood Orange and Mint Lemonade https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/13/blood-orange-and-mint-lemonade
Blood Orange and Mint Lemonade
Easy and Simple Blood Orange and Mint Lemonade https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/13/blood-orange-and-mint-lemonade
Easy and Simple Blood Orange and Mint Lemonade https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/13/blood-orange-and-mint-lemonade
Easy and Simple Blood Orange and Mint Lemonade https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/13/blood-orange-and-mint-lemonade
Easy and Simple Blood Orange and Mint Lemonade https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/13/blood-orange-and-mint-lemonade
Easy and Simple Blood Orange and Mint Lemonade https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/13/blood-orange-and-mint-lemonade
Easy and Simple Blood Orange and Mint Lemonade https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/13/blood-orange-and-mint-lemonade
Easy and Simple Blood Orange and Mint Lemonade https://eatchofood.com/blog/2019/1/13/blood-orange-and-mint-lemonade

I’ve been feeling a bit restless lately. I don’t know if its because we have been so busy every weekend for the last month or because I’ve been searching for a venue to host a dumpling making workshop but every place is so gosh darn expensive. Maybe it’s because the oolong cake that I’ve been recipe testing for the last month is not going great. I hate when a cake is not good and goes to waste! I don’t know… sometimes the whole internet and blogging thing gets a bit weird and I wonder if anyone is out there. Are you reading this? Do you care about lemonade? Do you wish I only made dumplings? I sort of wish I only made dumplings… I catch myself hitting a stride sometimes on Eat Cho Food, where the recipe developments are flowing smoothly. The blog posts seem to be writing themselves and sound less word vomit-y. The light in the apartment is shining just right. Then all of a sudden, things feel a bit sticky. Ok, now that I’m thinking about it, I think it’s the cake. That’s what’s putting me in this funk.

Sunny Cho: Snap out of it, CHO!

Angsty Cho: Ughhh, just let me wallow here and binge watch The Good Place for hours!

Sunny Cho: You’re going to get this cake right! Or maybe test hand pulled noodles next weekend. You love noodles!

Angsty Cho: Ooooh, I do love noodles…

Sorry, this got weird. Reuben has been gone literally all day skiing and I’ve been home alone with no one to talk to and just left to my thoughts.

I just need the Sun back! I’m a sun person (hi, Leos!), and feel so much more energized when the sun is shining and the air is warm. I don’t know how you’re feeling about this whole winter thing, but I certainly am feeling super antsy for the season to change. I had my one encounter with snow for the year a few weekends ago and I think that was enough. 7 feet of snow is enough. Did I also mention that it’s been raining like crazy? California has been in a drought for 3 years, but it’s definitely not a problem anymore! Ugh, there’s nothing I hate more than commuting to work in the rain. A wet steamy bus crammed full of people is like my own worst personal nightmare. The farmer’s market has been a little sad lately with all the rain too. Some of the stalls aren’t open and the produce has been pretty average. Correction, the product still looks great, but there just isn’t anything new or exciting to distract me from buying the cheese danish at the bread stall. Typically, I’m looking for lemon cucumbers, purple long beans, rainbow radishes, or some other goofy vegetable variety. Discovering all the new and unique produce out there is the funnest part of the Clement Street Farmer’s Market! To make up for the lack of excitement, I’ve just been buying blood oranges by the wheelbarrow-ful… I don’t actually have a wheelbarrow… yet. I’m thankful that during these colder and darker months we get the juiciest and brightest citrus fruit to cheer us up!

Lemonade might not seem like the most February appropriate recipe, but it’s almost March, which means it’s almost springtime! I’m going to blast our heat, not wear a sweater for once, and sip on this refreshing blood orange mint lemonade all while dreaming of sunnier days and bountiful produce! That will definitely get me out of this funk! Speaking of warmer days and bountiful markets, Reuben and I are going to Italy in less than 2 months! Wowza! Yet again, I have not planned anything and have left it up to Reuben to plan for the most part. BUT if you have any recommendations in Florence, Rome, or Bologna please let me know! What’s the best pizza? What’s the best gnocchi?! What’s the best to go pasta shop?! I hear to go pasta is thing and I CAN NOT WAIT. I love walking and eating so much.


Blood Orange Mint Lemonade

materials:

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup blood orange juice

1/2 cup chopped mint

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup water - for simple syrup

4 cups water - for diluting

citrus slices - for garnish

additional mint - for garnish

steps:

  1. In a small sauce pan, bring mint, white sugar, and 1/3 cup water to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove simple syrup from heat and allow mint to steep for 30 minutes. Strain mint leaves from simple syrup and set aside.

  2. Cut lemons and blood oranges in half. Juice until you have 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of blood orange juice. Set juice aside.

  3. Combine citrus juice, mint simple syrup, and 4 cups of water in a pitcher. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Pour over ice, garnish with a citrus slice and a sprig of mint and enjoy!